Hosting a child’s birthday party typically is overwhelming and stressful. With so much to do where do you start? Easy, get started with my simple guide below.
1) The Thinking Cap: The first step to hosting a fabulous kiddies party is setting your objective. Put on your thinking cap and decide what you want to achieve with this party. Is this party just for the kids? Is this party for kids and adults? What’s my primary focus? Are we just marking the occasion? Or is this the perfect opportunity for friends and family to come together? What does my child want? What can we afford? The process is very important and serves as a foundation to all other party decisions.
2. Set Your objective: Once you set your objective you can start planning. Note that your objective should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound). Start with the invite list. Your guest list will dictate, how large a venue you need, what kind of theme or activities you pick, etc. Brainstorming the party before the guest list is like putting the cart before the horse. A sample objective : Lola is turning 5 She wants to have 15 friends from her class for a Playdate on saturday 8th of October 2014. No other friends and family will be there. She wants a spa theme party. Budget allocation: N150,000.00.
3. Plan: Get a pen and your notebook and start planning. Get creative. Regardless of your theme, there are lots of places to go for inspiration including my favorite Pinterest. If your child is above three, they will also have a lot of input. If you still feel overwhelmed, this is the time to consult with the experts. Ask Lula (instagram: @playbarn) for free advice even if the Playbarn is not planning your party, we always happy to offer tips for DIY parties or offer our "happy people" team who set up parties using your own DIY supplies. About four weeks before the big day, start making plans. Write everything down and keep a checklist so that you can keep track of your plans. If your objective and budget allow for a planner, start searching for one who can help you achieve your objectives. If you decide not to go with a planner, writing down your plans will help you see at a glance what needs to be done. Penning down your plan doesn’t need to be complicated. Simply break the event down into the major components – invites and guest list, food, games, decorations, loot bags etc and then make a list of things to do for each component. Breaking it down this way makes the event a lot easier to manage.
4. Date and Time: The objective usually decides the date but I prefer to have parties at the weekends anytime from 12pm. Parties on public holidays and during festive periods are also great but the most important tip is to stick to your objective. If you are having a big 10th year birthday with family and friends and a few people who will have to travel down you want to pick a date with less traffic such as public holidays and weekends. There’s no right or wrong time, but the point is to find what will make it as relaxing and easy as possible for you. When selecting a date, it is a good idea to check with some of the guests to see if they are free on the date you’ve chosen before you actually hand out any invites. That way you avoid any disappointment if your child’s best friend or favourite cousin can’t make it.
5. Venue: Home parties are generally less expensive than hired venues and you are free to hold the party at whatever time suits your family and guests. Venues, on the other hand, can be exciting and make your job a lot easier. In Nigeria the party venue is a great consideration but it all goes back to the objective. Be careful to pick venues that will fit what you are trying to achieve, other factors to consider when picking the venue is your budget and the time of the year (weather).
6. Party team: Enlist the help of family, friends and even the birthday child if they are old enough. Jobs like picking colours, themes, sending out invites, filling loot bags, blowing up balloons, or even baking the cake can all be delegated to family members or willing friends. It makes for a really fun event when everyone has been involved. To make sure it stays organised, write down everyone’s responsibility and where you have a planner get her to remind everyone of their roles.
7. Games and #ntertainment: How to entertain all those kids? It doesn’t have to be complicated. Younger children require very little in the way of structured games and entertainment, especially preschoolers when they are in a group with other kids. Don't overdo it. A common party mistake is trying to pack too much in, which can lead to over-stimulated kids and cranky guests, especially the preschool set. Too many activities at the same time will leave the kids divided and unsure of what to do. Keep it simple with one activity or, if you must have more than one, schedule them at different times. Kids typically are happy to run around and create their own fun. Provide play equipment and ‘playscapes’ for really young kids. For the older kids, entertainment needn’t be complicated. Something that lets them get creative or active would do the trick. A good party entertainer with loads of games and activities that fit your objective works fine, alternatively, simple home activities like, playing video games, watching videos, painting, beading etc also work. Sample activities by age include:
- Pin the tail on the donkey and musical chairs for four-year olds they are typically discovering these games for the first time.
- Treasure hunt or pinata are perfect for six year olds.
- Simple crafts like making ribbon wands or party poppers are great for older kids.
8. Food and drinks. Be mindful of the amount of food you order for kids as they tend not to consume much. Lula always says if the party is great they forget to eat. Have treat tables and lots of ‘happy’ food. If you are going to have a significant amount of adults then be sure to get professional. Ask for recommendations or give your professional planners that responsibility.
9. Chill out its a party: There are plenty of things you can do ahead of time so that you can relax and enjoy the party instead of running around last minute. “Some parents feel like their child's party needs to be the BEST,” so they are so tense and competitive. “If you celebrate your child in a fun environment, it will be using some of our tips!” Also keep in mind, the focus of the day is your child not what your friends think. Don’t spend all your energy on impressing the guests let your focus be fun, play and beautiful memories. Written by Lula of Playbarn Nigeria Playbarn Nigeria provides Child Perception Marketing, Playbarn Playcentres, Parties, Events & Entertainment. Call us on 07010203030 08165758159 or follow us on instagram @playbarn for more. Photocredit (Instagram: @playbarn)