8 kids’ birthday party dilemmas you’ll face at least once in your life is a great guest post for us by Laura Clark. All parents have certainly experienced at least one of these! Laura tells us how to deal with them.
Planning and then executing your child’s birthday party can be a stress inducing affair at the best of times but, when a common birthday party dilemma is thrown into the mix it can take it to a whole new level!
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From who to invite to entertainers not showing up, you can navigate these tricky situations and still throw an incredible birthday party (without your blood pressure rising too much!).
1. I have to invite the WHOLE class?!
You love that your child has plenty of friends but when it comes to creating a list of party guests you can end up wishing they had a few less! When they’re toddlers you can happily invite a few other mums around for cake and games but when your little one starts school they suddenly have a more active social life than you and this can create a problem.
It’s even worse if other children have had recent parties inviting the whole class of 30 children – and some schools even have a policy where all children in the class must be invited!
You don’t want to upset anyone by leaving them out – and wouldn’t want it to happen to your child either – but the thought of such a large party is enough to send you into a panic.
You have a few options here – other than giving in and inviting 30 energetic little monsters to the party. Either invite only one gender – perfect if you’re having a stereotypical girl or boy theme – have a family only party or set a limit but promise a more special party to your child and discreetly hand out the invites! If you get any complaints from other mothers you can simply say you have limited space.
2. Can Oliver come along too?
So you’ve whittled down the list of friends and sent out the invites, only for parents to start asking if their child can come along too or if they could also bring along a sibling of someone who is invited. This puts you in a tough situation while you don’t want to be mean you’ve made plans, from the food to the entertainment, for a set number of children. So what do you do?
If another mother is asking why their child has been left out it’s best to just gently explain that you could only invite so many and there were other children your son or daughter played with more. If someone says they can’t make it you could always invite them after.
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A sibling situation is tricky! If you have young children and parents will be staying for the party then a parent bringing along their other children may be the only way they can come. You don’t want your child to miss out on having one of their friends there so, if you can, it may be best to accommodate this request.
3. Magician, bouncy castle, six-tier cake…
Many parents are guilty of trying to keep up with the Joneses, or even trying to outdo other parents, from time to time. This can reach new levels when it feels like you’re attending birthday parties every other week.
So, you’ve been attending other birthday parties and it seems like they all have a lot going on from renting out incredible venues and hiring entertainers to creative food and bake-off worthy cakes. It can end up feeling like you need to compete, even if it isn’t what you or the birthday child wants or if it’s way out of your budget.
The great news is that you can put a group of kids together in your own home, play some traditional birthday party games (musical statues or pass the parcel anyone?) and offer round some cake and they’re sure to have a good time.
Simply don’t cave into the pressure – throw a party that suits you!
4. Who do I feed?
Ah, the great party food dilemma! As if catering for a group of hungry and messy children isn’t stressful enough, you’re faced with the question of whether or not you should feed their hungry parents too.
If your child and guests are pretty young then it’s likely that the majority of parents will be staying for the party, so do you have some food just for the adults or not?
Experience suggests that most parents are happy with being offered a cuppa and a couple of biscuits while their little ones enjoy themselves. Once the kids have finished eating their way through the selection you’ve put on you could always let the adults devour what is left!
If you really want to offer the adults some food, simple is definitely better – guests certainly won’t be expecting canapés and champagne! Crisps, crudités and dips will be more than satisfactory.
[bctt tweet=”Simply don’t cave into the pressure – throw a party that suits you! #momlife #birthdayparty”]
5. What do you mean Coco the Clown isn’t coming?
You spent ages asking for recommendations and scouring the internet to find the perfect entertainer for your guests, with the hope you’d get a break too. But then just before the party kicks off they call to inform you they’re not going to make it, after all, cue panic!
There’s not really a lot you can do here other than get creative and provide your own entertainment. Rope in family members and friends ASAP, got an enthusiastic dad? Put him in charge of leading the games. Have a friend who was hoping to simply enjoy the party? Persuading her being the party DJ is a far better option.
Traditional party games are definitely your friend here as most of the kids are likely to already know the rules and if you don’t have prizes, dig around for some sweet treats they are sure to love! If you run out of ideas put on some music and having a dance competition is a great option and give out random prizes – most energetic, most creative, most in time, you get the idea!
6. When the excitement gets too much
With a bunch of kids and the excitement of a birthday party, there are always going to be a few tantrums, mishaps or arguments. But sometimes a child or two can really act up leaving you to try and calm the situation while not derailing everyone else’s fun. If their parent has stayed for the party you’re in luck! Let them deal with the child acting up calmly and if needed point them in the direction of a quiet space or room where they can have a chat and help calm them down and get them back into the party spirit. If the parents have left it’s a bit trickier! Reward positive behaviour by giving out prizes to the well behaved children and if needed take the unruly child to one side and see what is the matter. If it’s something as simple as wanting a piece of cake or they’re upset at not winning a game a quick explanation and then distracting them with the next game should do the trick and get them to behave. Keeping all the kids constantly moving and engaged with age-appropriate games sure helps lessen distractions!
7. What do you fill these bags with?
Goody bags are deemed a must have by almost half of parents with the average spending £40 on treats to fill them with. But what do you put in them? This dilemma certainly has a ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ feel to it at times. Some party bags are filled to the brim with sweets, chocolates, and expensive toys and at times, it can feel like the traditional goody bag items, like a balloon, a piece of cake, some mini Haribo bags and small plastic toy just doesn’t cut it anymore.
Even when you’ve set yourself a budget picking out party bag items can be a nightmare. After a cake-fueled few hours do the guests really need more sweet treats? Will the plastic toys actually get played with? Should you include those colourful and fun (but annoying!) whistles?
If you are looking for alternatives there are so many options, if you’ve got an artsy bunch you could give out play-doh, a group that loves to bake would be delighted with cookie cutters, or take little readers on an adventure and give them each a book instead!
8. Do we need another five dolls?
You’ve organised an incredible party and all of the birthday boy or girl’s nearest and dearest are going to be attending. And no doubt they’ll all come bearing a gift that you’ll duly have to find space for. If the guests know your child well then you could end up with much-loved gifts but if they don’t, you are often left with unused toys taking up much-needed space before you eventually, get around to dropping them off at the charity shop. If your child wants certain items you could always go for the tried and tested but controversial gift list option, although tact is definitely needed when giving one out! If you simply don’t want any more clutter you could ask on the invitations that guests do not bring gifts, although most parents admit they would ignore this note and bring something anyway!
Laura Clark is a Posh Tigress who loves nothing more than writing about kids parties at Posh Tiger, whilst always encouraging positive parenting.