It is getting to that time of year that I reflect on where I was this time last year, this time two years ago, this time in 2013…
I was waddling. Like big time. I wasn’t quite at D-Day but I had been told A LOT that the baby would be early, and the signs were great for going into labour naturally. Well my body had the last laugh on that front and cooked Wriggler for an extra 14 days…to the point of getting an eviction notice via an induction. I still say that was the best crash diet I went on…lost a stone in day.
Oh, you mean I actually gained something that day?! Silly me! Yes, I gained Wriggler, the delightful, sunny, kind sensitive, thoughtful boy I now have. And boy, do I adore him?!
So, to pay homage to his obsession with dinosaurs we have sourced dino invites, party bags, party plates and party favours to go in the party village hall when he has his dino bouncy castle…yup they exist in the real world and not just in Peppa Pig (god – I hate that pig!).
And now, as I check of the guest list and think about food to feed the darlings, I thought I’d share my tips for a delightful birthday party for a 4 year old:
- Don’t host at home if you have to…parents are still in attendance at this age…10 extra kids in your home means 10 extra adults…or more if there are baby siblings too as tag-a-longs…there is never enough room in a sitting room for that many people…
- If you do host at home, don’t tell people you plan to have it outside…it will rain and all 30 of you will be stuck inside the previously mentioned small sitting room
- Check out village halls that do good hourly rates and no damage deposit to make it affordable if you venture away from home
- Prepare lunch boxes to feed the monsters, rather than platters or plates of food. Easier to portion control, pre-plan and pack and tidy up at the end of the party (or the kids take them home to eat cos they were too busy having fun!)
- Sometimes hiring entertainment is good – magicians and discos are good fun, but remember the kids are little and wont care how much you spent on something…it is crazy that it can cost £100 for Paw Patrol’s Chase to appear for 30 minutes at a party!
- Otherwise do creation stations (painting and playdoh), toys and a couple of party games
- Have a food station out, with small snacks and drinks, plus stuff for the adults (nibbles and maybe beers or prosecco if in the afternoon)
- Plan the party games in advance – this year I think I will do pass the parcel for the first time, but am going to layer each wrapper with a prize and maybe divide the guests into two groups so it is over quicker
- Label the party bags and try and tailor boy/girl appropriate (or at least if you vaguely know the child and know that the girls don’t mind dinos in their bags) otherwise you risk a meltdown from a guest as they leave that they got a ‘boy/girls toy
- Keep things to about 2 hours, any less and it is over too quickly for the shy children to warm up and any more and the children are high on sugar and insane
- Don’t feel that you have to keep up with the Jones’ and put on lavish parties. Some like to hire the trampoline park or soft play (we did do trampolining last year for 10 kids and it was good fun, but we kept numbers low to manage the cost), others have entertainers and bouncy castles and the works as if it were a mini festival – it is cool and a lot of fun, but hard work and can be expensive. So do what suits your style, budget and (most importantly) your child
- If you have a quieter child, or have just joined the school or social setting in your area, then keep things small an intimate so that you child can actually have fun without feeling overwhelmed and you get to have a little adult conversation. Going to the local park and having a picnic with birthday cake and a couple of buddies is still just as fun to a little one easily overwhelmed
- And don’f feel the pressure on present giving. Give big if you have the budget and if not then don’t. Your child wont know how much you spent, just if they got something that they would like. Whilst they might be vaguely aware of brands you don’t have to get a branded scooter if you find one identical, non-branded, and a quarter of the price
- Finally, have fun on the day and try not to stress. The kids will get too loud, run around like crazy, eat too much sugar, probably not eat the provided meal and someone will most likely be sick
- And at the end of the day, put your feet up, chill with a beverage of your choice and raise a cheers to surviving another year of parenting