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By Caroline Johnstone who worked for corporates for 20 years. One day she told her boss, ‘maybe I will host fairy parties.’  So began her dream of running Fairy Time, her own party planning company.

I believe it can be rather stressful planning a party and it really shouldn’t be anything but joyous and fun.  Here are some tips:

Planning:

Always take your child’s personality/character into consideration when planning.

  • If you usually host large parties, your child may not be overwhelmed by the amount of people.  Otherwise you may need to consider a smaller party.
  • Prepare your child to manage welcoming and thanking all their guests as they arrive.  Find a suitable place to keep the gifts.
  • Do you have enough help? Guests may arrive at different times & you would need to welcome them.
  • Venues: When selecting a venue, think about all the requirements:
    • swimming pool: is it fenced in?
    • parking- is there sufficient parking for all?
    • space: do you have sufficient space?
    • rain: is there a covered area in case of rain?
    • nursery school: some nursery schools are grateful for extra money & hire out venue over weekend for a party booking.  If your child attends that nursery school, it will be familiar surroundings too.
  • Directions: if your home/party venue is tricky to find or is a boomed-in area, it is helpful to include a map on invitation.  It is also helpful to guests to place a few balloons at your entrance.
  • Try not to hype your child up too much before the event:
    • afternoon party: small kids are tired as they have woken up early due to too much excitement.
    • Unforeseen circumstances occur too, so rather do not detail all you have planned to avoid disappointment… Rather let it be a surprise!
  • Small children – aged 3 years or less: host a morning party as they are too tired later in the day.  For 3 year olds, it is too much to process when you host at a venue they are not familiar with, provide a jumping castle & entertainers.
  • Dress-up party: rather do not set out your own kid’s costumes.  Smaller kids seem to get upset if friends are wearing their wings & won’t take them off!  I have seen kids pull on dresses from either side as there are not enough for all.

Hiring:

  • Entertainment: if you have external party planners offering a program of events – less is better.  Jumping castle, magician & fairy entertainers would be too much for a 5 year old’s party.  When there are too many activities, it divides the party.
  • Entertainers: provide as much information as possible to entertainers so they can provide the best experience & meet expectations. e.g. shy or dramatic child

Invitation:

  • Etiquette: When attending other kid’s parties & there is entertainment planned, try not to arrive late. Children take a little while to slot into the activities & they may not be able to adjust quickly enough to enjoy the experience & may miss out on gifts.
  • RSVP’s: Bear in mind that some people may RSVP & then not arrive.  Sometimes it is unforeseen such as illness etc.  Kids that you have invited may very well bring siblings too.
  • If you book an external venue such as a tea party: stipulate on invitation that unfortunately you are not able to include siblings (if siblings are not invited) as the venue only accommodates x amount of guests.

Food:

  • Be aware of children attending the party that may be allergic/not able to certain foods. Do your best to cater for those children’s’ requirements – think kosher, Halaal, gluten-free.
  • Eats: do not provide too many sugary foods/drinks for kids.  You would want to avoid a sugar high & kids are more difficult to manage.  Rather provide healthier foods like small bottles of water, pieces of fresh fruit & cake at the end.
  • Birthday cake: only bring out later when you are about to sing happy birthday as kids tend to touch the characters on the cake.  Don’t forget candles & matches!

Games:

  • Same prizes for boys & girls works best if children are similar ages.
  • Ensure that each child gets a prize.

Keep checking yourself as you plan to see whether what you’re planning is for your child or for yourself so that you don’t overdo anything or leave anything out.

Click here to find party services for anything you need for your party in Gauteng and here in KZN

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