October 04, 2017
Surviving your child’s birthday party can be both a strategic coup and an act of epic bravery. The permutations of stuff that could go wrong are mind boggling - chocolate crackle ingrained into the new white carpet, toddlers clawing at each other’s eyeballs in the name of the last party favour bag, not to mention that one time that you accidentally invited Jaxon with an x instead of Jackson with a k.
Kids’ parties are meant to be about fun, not increasing your Valium dosage. Sometimes, its worth keeping in mind the oft overlooked perks of holding to a kids’ party - its the perfect excuse to eat kids’ party food you’re meant to be too grown up for. Cheezls, cupcakes, lollies. Chocolate Crackles people! All of these work perfectly with champagne.
Fear not. Weeks of planning, a few dress rehearsals and detailed run sheets can ward off potential nightmares - or, you could just follow our Kids’ Party Survival Guide, crack open the bubbly and revel in the joy that can be your child’s birthday. And eat a chocolate crackle or two.
This seems obvious but sometimes it can be overlooked in the mire of party planning madness. (Or optimistically ignored). You could spend every night trawling through long range weather forecasts for a month before the big day, analysing chance of rain percentages and wild weather warnings across your city. But honestly, the weather man hardly ever gets it right that far out from the main event and its not worth living the party lead up on the edge of your seat ranting at the heavens with every passing cloud. Plan ahead. If you are holding a party at an outdoor venue, have a back up. If you are having the celebration at home, make sure you have one or two rooms or an undercover area that will fit all your guests.
Oh, and if you are having a bouncy castle invest in an extra set of tent pegs. You do not want to see that thing flying away in gale force winds like Mary Poppins and her turbo boosted umbrella. Trust me on that. Aside from the unfortunate case of flyaway children, many weather situations will require a fairly fatalistic attitude. Unlike the occasional cake catastrophes, fairy fails and dress up debacles, the weather is one facet of the party day that you can do very little about.
Whether you buy, bake or spruce up a store bought cake, its always a focus of the party. (Truth be told, mostly for the grown ups). For tips for seamlessly pulling off each cake presentation option, check out our simple birthday cake guide here.
Most parents teeter the tightrope between avoiding Pinterest ‘Nailed It!’ lookalikes and offering up the much lower risk jam sponge from Woollies without looking like you’re offering up a jam sponge from Woollies. (Spoiler alert, they’re delicious even if they’re not fancy). In reality, your child (you know, the one the party is actually for) is going to have forgotten about your triumph/disaster by the time you unwrap the presents. Which means the stress you associate with cake time is mostly unnecessary. Don’t attempt intricate fondant figurines if you’re not confident, or if you do, get the tricky stuff done the day before. In fact, most cake stuff can be done in the day or so prior to the party before the full weight of insanity begins. The calm before the storm, if you will.
Here’s the thing that all parents know deep down but diligently forget on every birthday party day. Kids are sometimes a nightmare. They can be grubby and dirty. They can be shy when you want them to mingle and obnoxious when you want to brag about how polite they are. They will repeat accidentally-not-quite-under-the-breath swears at the most inopportune times. Often in context. They will gleefully, and good-naturedly, torture pets, nonchalantly destroy pale furniture and vomit randomly. When any of the preceding list happens at a birthday party you host, you need to remember two things: there is wine, and birthday parties only go for a few hours.
If you are precious about furniture or fixtures in particular rooms, hold your party elsewhere within your house, or outdoors. Have no go zones if you need to. Put the pets in a separate room to the party guests too. Mostly for their protection. Offer a simpler spread and spend money on an entertainer, leaving you free to enjoy the party. Use a Bento Box to simplify your party spread and ward off judgemental glares from the ‘my Asparella doesn’t believe sugar is good for her’ camp. For younger party guests, make sure you don’t hold the event during typical nap times to ward off tantrums and meltdowns.
And - this cannot be stressed enough - don’t sweat the small stuff. Shy kids usually find their feet when they are ready and ‘warmed up’. Obnoxious kids can be diverted, distracted and (if appropriate) directed towards party entertainers/helpers/unsuspecting grandparents.
Most importantly, remember Bee Box’s golden rule - parties are meant to be about fun, for everyone. Even the host!
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