You’d think that when planning a child’s party the main concern would be that the kids all have a great time and enjoy the food and entertainment, but more often than not the stress for the party organiser comes from the parents, not the kids. It can be a real minefield, but there are a few strategies to get you through the experience relatively unscathed.
Nothing makes a parent angrier than thinking their little angel is being deliberately excluded from a party, and for this reason it is better to go for an all or nothing view to hosting a party. If your child is at school, explain to them that they either have the whole class, all of the girls or all of the boys, or alternatively choose three or four best friends for their party. Don’t get into the situation of having a larger party where most people are invited but a couple are left out as this will just get parents’ backs up.
The Helicopter Parents
Most parents love having a couple of hours free when their child is invited to a party, and relish the opportunity to have a browse round the shops or have a coffee with their friends without the kids. Others find it much harder to let go and will hover around their children constantly, making sure that they are never left alone for a second. There isn’t much you can do if you have some of these parents around, apart from making it clear to them that you will call them if there is a problem. Party organisers should never feel that they have to lay on food or drink for parents who wish to stay, and if the parents are prepared to muck in and help supervise the games, you may even be glad of their help.
Fussy Food Parents
It’s generally accepted by most parents that if your child goes to a party, they are going to be eating all the sorts of things they don’t often get at home. Pigging out on fizzy juice, crisps and chocolate is part of the fun of the party, but if there are parents who are not comfortable with the food on offer, let them know you wouldn’t object to them supplying their own food, but also make it clear that you expect them to be on hand to deal with the tantrums when their child is told that they cannot have the same as everyone else. When planning a party it is also wise to confirm any health issues or allergies, as nothing brings a party to a halt quicker than a vomiting child who has eaten something they’re not supposed to.
Keep party bags to a sensible level and don’t get involved in a Who can put together the most expensive party bag competition with other Mums. Children don’t care how much you have spent on a party bag, as long as they have a small toy, balloon, cake and some chocolate they’re happy. Don’t believe the newspaper tales of children going home with bags worth upwards of £50 either.