Did you know that something as simple as giving chocolates to your sweetie’s friend is a no-no? SmartParents speaks to Aarathi Arumugam, owner of The Party Elves, for the lowdown on organizing good kids’ parties, and, well, not.
• Send reminders a week before the party even if you’ve already issued party invites. You won’t just re-confirm the head count, it’ll save you any disappointment when an invited guest is a no-show.
• Cater for kids, as parents worry over whether their kids will be fed, Aarathi notes. Offer at least two vegetarian dishes, she adds.
• Check with your confirmed guests as to whether they have food allergies or restrictions.
• Plan age-appropriate games for the kids, and ensure that you line up prizes for each game. Involve parents in the first few rounds as this will reassure a child, especially if they are shy. It also acts as an ice-breaker among the parents, so that they can mingle easily later.
• Put away any items/valuables you don’t want the mini-guests playing with or damaging, if you’re planning a party at home. This will save everyone a lot of unnecessary aggro.
“Plan age- appropriate games for the kids, and ensure that you line up prizes for each game.”
• Get stuck in the kitchen preparing the eats. Instead, mingle with your guests and try to enjoy yourself. If you’re hosting the party at a venue, don’t spend too much time looking into every minute detail; Arumugam says that although things might not work as planned, don’t get angry as screw-ups are bound to happen — and most people won’t even notice.
• Get offended or complain to a parent if kids aren’t chowing down. They simply might be too excited to eat, and it’s not the host’s place to decide what and when they should be eating.
• Reprimand someone else’s child if they damage one of your showpieces or hurt one of the other kids. Speak to their parents and explain what happened — and let them discipline their child in their own way.
• Place any alcohol and the kids’ drinks on the same table. Even if alcohol is acceptable at a kids’ party, these must be kept separate. A glass of wine or a beer per adult is sufficient, Arumugam says.
• Forget to thank your party guests for their presence after a fun do. A simple thank you as they leave, or an SMS or e-mail to follow-up, is a nice gesture and goes a long way to leaving a good impression.
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Other top tips:
• Cater sufficient food for your guests You’d rather have leftovers than give guests the impression that you’re a tightwad.
• Don’t host a kid’s party at night The little ones are already tired and get so wound-up after the party, they won’t have a good night’s rest. Parents who have strict bedtimes for their kids will also ﬁnd it hard to attend.
• Ensure that your venue is child safe Make sure there aren’t any extension cords to trip over, fragile decorations to destroy and sharp edges to run into!
Readers tales: The good, the bad and the funny of kids’ parties
“We went to a kid’s party at a condo and for some reason, a lot of guests decided it was okay to use its facilities to enjoy a swim during the party. When it was time to cut the cake, the poor hosts had to run around looking for the guests! I thought it was quite disrespectful.”
— Shufen, 30, media executive, mum to three boys.
“I once attended a kid’s party that lacked the most basic amenities! There weren’t enough seats for the guests, the food wasn’t topped up and by the end of party, we realised there weren’t any goodie bags for the kids!”
— Syasya, 29, senior executive, mum to two girls.
“We were at a 1-year-old’s birthday party at a big outdoor venue with plenty of space. Since my son was fussy, I left my stroller at my table to walk him when I saw this guy pushing my stroller away. When I confronted him, he said he wanted to make way for his stroller and was going to leave mine in a corner! Shocked, I told him off, especially since there was enough space for two strollers.”
— Jassmin, 34, freelance writer, mum to a boy.
“At a party last Christmas Eve, when my son saw another child get a toy he wanted while everyone was opening presents, he proceeded to take it from him and refused to give it back! Both kids started screaming and crying over the toy — it took us 45 minutes to calm them down. After reassuring him, he eventually gave the toy back.”
— Katherine, 37, founder of Bubbamama.com and marketing communications manager at CNP cosmetics, mum to a boy.
“I was hosting a party and the guests couldn’t get enough of the games and demanded more. Since we had run out of prizes, we handed out small trinkets that were lying around the house. I thought that was hilarious!”
— Alyya, 25, writer, mum to a girl.