Children Love Parties and It’s Party Time!
You will be surprised, nothing excites a child more than a party, especially one of their very own! Whether it is a birthday party, slumber party or classroom party, kids really enjoy entertaining their friends. If you ask me how old must a child be before she can have her own party, my answer will be, when they seriously look you in the eyes, and with a sweet voice, say, “Mommy, can I have a party and invite my classmates to come?”
Take this opportunity to be your child’s hero. Say yes to them. Tell them Mommy will help, and involve your child in the planning. Surely at the end of the day, when it is time to go to bed, she will say to you, “Mommy, I am very happy and I love you.”
I personally have made it a commitment to host parties for my beloved daughter, Joice, any time or any special occasion that is important to her. I want to be the best dad she can ever have. That’s because life is short on earth, and I want to treasure every moment of my life with my family. Help your children throw great parties and they will love you for the rest of their life. You can actually plan a perfect party with minimal fuss and I’m here to help you. Here are some suggestions for a birthday party, slumber party and classroom party.
“Last week a candle factory burned down. All the passersby on the street just stood around and sang, ‘Happy Birthday!’”
Birthday Parties at Home. One of today’s popular trends for birthday parties is to hold them at a kid-themed restaurant, fast food restaurant or activity centre, but that can be expensive. You can actually plan and hold a birthday party at home. Not only is it less expensive, on top of it you have the freedom to tailor the party to your liking in the comfort of your home.
When to have the party? Hosting your child’s birthday party on the actual day is not necessary because this may put pressure on you. Choose a Saturday or Sunday nearest to the birthday for a party with friends. Then on the birthday itself, celebrate with immediate family members only, a special dinner featuring your child’s favourite food, a cake and a gift. Imagine this – your child is going to have two birthday parties with two opportunities to receive presents. I know they will definitely love it and will vote you “Mother or Father of the Year.”
Once you have chosen the day, figure out the time. Normally, a birthday party works well in the early or mid-afternoon. Younger kids aged four to six tend to get tired and cranky by the end of the day, while older kids aged seven to 10 tend to be hungry as the afternoon rolls on. In the latter case, that won’t be a problem if you serve a meal along with cake and ice cream. But if your guest list is full of kids with different allergies, then it is better not to serve a meal during the party.
Timing and Duration for the Party. For kids aged between three and seven, 90 minutes is enough time to feed and entertain a group of young party-goers. But if the kids are eight years and above and you have interesting activities planned, a two- to three-hour event may be worth considering.
Prepare the Invitation Card. Prepare invitation cards that clearly state the event’s start and end times as well as the menu or food you will be serving so that your guests and their parents know in advance what to expect. Mail or hand-deliver invitations two to three weeks in advance. Request an RSVP rather than regrets only. Otherwise, you won’t be sure the invitees have actually received their invitation.
Common Rule of Thumb for the Guest List. How many guests should I invite? Well, it is very easy. The rule of thumb is, add one person to your kid’s age. For example, five guests for a four-year-old, six guests for a five-year-old, 10 guests for a nine-year-old, etc. Of course, to avoid hurt feelings, many parents choose to invite the entire class. So if you do choose to invite the entire class, then make sure every child in the class receives an invitation. Sometime parents choose to invite at least the kids of the child’s gender. Have at least one person to help you for small parties and several helpers to help supervise a large group of children.
“A key to throwing a great party is understanding the age of those on the guest list. It is funny, what you’ve thrown actually ends up in your house.”
Lucky for you, you have a child as a live-in example, so you’d know that your guests would have the same interests as your child. Knowing that will make the planning job that much easier. If you do not have a child and you want to plan a birthday party for kids, you will find the following information helpful.
Four-year-olds: Most kids at this age are at ease with social situations and are eager to participate in activities such as singing, colouring and simple games, thanks to daycare centers and preschool for exposing children to socializing at an early age. Some kids at this age still need some coaxing, so make sure that you invite their parents to stay for the party. Have some adult finger food for the parents. For example, vegetable dip, deep fried spring roll and chips.
Five-year-olds: They are most adorable at this age. Five-year-olds are fairly independent, and take seriously whatever is going on around them. They respond well to organized activities and love to participate in games.
Six-year-olds: At this age, they are more competitive and rowdy. Prevent hurt feelings by giving prizes to both the winner and the participants. You’d need to spend a little bit more money as they tend not to want to share their things at this age. Make sure you have enough help to supervise these active kids and remember to write their name on their goody bags to help them trace their belongings.
Seven- and eight-year-olds: At this age, you can start thinking about “girls only” or “boys only” parties. It’s not that they don’t want to blend; it’s just that they might prefer their birthday party to be a just boys or just girls affair. So let them decide on the guest list. At the age of seven to eight, they like to crack jokes, laugh at anything and get silly. Challenge them with some word games or high-energy games such as relay races and tag.
Nine- and 10-year-olds: Kids at this age consider and believe themselves as mature. They want you to treat them like an adult. They hate nagging from their parents and can be very particular, so let your birthday child take charge in planning the party. Let her decide on the decoration, games, prizes and menu, and chances are, they will like things which are “in.” Sleepovers are great for this age.
“Do you know why birthdays are special? There are 364 days when you might not get birthday presents… and only one for birthday presents.”
Safety Precaution: It is important to keep parties safe, simple and special. To keep kids safe, clear the party area of any breakables or dangerous items. If the party guests are preschoolers, make sure that bathroom locks are taped to prevent small children from being accidentally locked in. Shut the door to rooms to prevent kids from wandering into out-of-bound areas. Be prepared to answer parents’ questions or their concerns about adequate supervision, acceptability of movies or games, or even pool safety.
To keep the party simple, designate one room for games and presents and another room for food, drinks and craft unless the group is small. Try holding the party outdoors, as kids love the festive feel of a picnic, but as weather is usually unpredictable, have a back-up plan ready in case of rain.
Once you have the safety issue in the bag, it is time to make this birthday bash really special. Start by decorating the entrance with balloons or lights all the way to the party area as it will help everyone to feel the excitement of the party. Plan a low key activity that will help the kids to sort of “warm up” one by one, as soon as they arrive, to help them feel comfortable immediately. Take lots and lots of photos of your child with her friends. Keep fidgeting to a minimal during serving time by placing crayons and papers on the table, some small toys and paper cups filled with treats. Your “job” is to delight your child’s guests and make wonderful memories for your son or daughter.
“A teacher once told me a horrible dream he had. In the school he went to, he asked the kids to prove the law of gravity and they threw him out of the window.”
Slumber Parties and Sleepovers
Most Kids Love to Have Their Friends Sleep Over. If one day, your child wants to have a sleepover, do not panic as I have a few ideas for you. A good number for sleepover participants will be around four children. Allow yourself enough time to plan as a slumber party does take time to organize. You can stage the sleepover party as a follow-up to an activity such as a concert, bowling or even a sports game. You’d need at least one month for planning, and keep in mind that parents often have safety concerns about sending their child to spend a night at someone else’s home, but with careful planning you should be able to provide answers that will reassure most parents.
Guest List and Invitation. The general rule for the number of guests for an overnight party is to take your child’s age and divide it by two. Example, three guests if your child is six years old, and five or six guests for a 11-year-old child. Prepare the invitations and send them out two to three weeks before the party. Requesting RSVPs is a must. Be specific about the activities you have planned. Parents of guests will want to know when they should arrive, where will the children be going. Will it be to a bowling match or a concert? Are they going to camp out in the backyard, and if so, how sure are you about ensuring the children’s safety. If you plan to show a movie or two, include the title on the invitation. Besides listing the start time, be sure to list the pick up time the next day as well.
Activities. If your child is a preteen, she would just want to spend the evening gossiping with her guests, but it would be good to plan some back-up activities. Having a movie or two on hand is always a good plan.
Boys’ Sleepover Activities. Try to choose some of these activities which I am going to list out now.
1. Camp out in a tent in the backyard
2. Play basketball or football
3. Have a pool party, but always have adult supervision
4. Learn magic tricks; parents should learn a few magic tricks to teach your young guests
5. Show a documentary on dinosaurs or animals
6. Play board games
7. Race battery-operated cars
8. Make your own pizza and do some cooking
Girls Slumber Party Activities
1. Create small scrapbooks
2. Decorate picture frames
3. Capture memories with digital cameras
4. Do manicures, pedicures and makeup; hey moms, you can join too
5. Plan a pool party, with adult supervision of course
6. Play board games
7. Listen to music
8. Watch a comedy
Safety. Parents will normally have concerns about allowing their children to attend an overnight party, so be prepared to answer questions about party details. Common concerns are, would there be adequate supervision at your home or outside of your home, acceptability of movies and activities, suitable food for children with allergies or diabetes. If you are a single parent, you may be asked even more questions. Make sure you have all the parents’ telephone numbers in case of any emergency. Some young guest might be uncomfortable or frightened, so tell them that you are there to help them and they can always sleep with you or choose to have their parents take them home.
Bring Their Own Sleeping Bag. In this way you will not have the problem of sufficient beds in your home. Arrange your guests in the living room. Have some books for them to read, or if they want to watch a movie, ask them to climb into their sleeping bag to watch the movie. With luck you will soon have all them drift off to sleep. Light the way to the bathroom for your guest who would like to get up to” wee wee” in the middle of the night. Remember to prepare their breakfast early in the morning, something healthy and simple such as toast with jam, cereal, fruits, yogurt, a lot of milk and fruit juice. You can ask the early bird guest to help you in the kitchen and get to know them better.
“The best way to keep teenages at home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant, nice and cosy, and most importantly, don’t forget to let the air out of the tyres.”
Class Room Parties
You will find that you need to cook something for your kids to bring to school during this special day, be it Teacher’s Day, Children’s Day, Farewell to the Principal Day, PTA meetings, etc. Whether you volunteered to bring food or not, your kids need you to come up with something, such as a dish that they can bring to school and be proud of you.
Don’t worry, here are some tips. Bring ice cream, ice lemon tea, chips, cupcakes, muffins, cookies, puddings or even fresh fruit such as bananas and guavas. Prepare more than what the kids need to allow extra for staff and parents, the principal or even the cleaners. Prepare colourful serviettes, trendy plates, forks and spoons. You can put most of the food in a brown paper bag for easy distribution to all the children.
Hope you like today’s sharing. See you soon
Chef Peter Pang