Taking the stress out of your child's annual celebrations!

I often get asked what makes a good party. My answer often surprises: less is more; especially when it comes to parties for small children.

The tendency of most people ,when stressed about a party, is to throw everything at it and hope for the best. The thinking is that if I spend enough on it, it must work.

I’ve found the opposite to be true. Most often the best parties are the simplest where the focus is clear.

The hardest parties that I’ve ever had to attend in my capacity as an entertainer were those where the client had hired the world and his mate for the party, with all the best intentions, of course.

A typical party would consist of  a large ( and very noisy) bouncy castle, a ball pool, numerous helium balloons making a balloon forest, a wealth of sit and ride toys, slides, swings, tunnels and an abundance of soft play equipment and a disco.  All very well and good if this were the only form of entertainment, but add to this physical mix three or four children’s entertainers : a balloon modeller, a magician, a face painter or two and then me, a puppet lady. We were all expected to work together in a small space of time without any form of prior planning. All of this for a two year old’s birthday, the same two year old that was looking bewildered, clinging to mummy ( or nanny) on the verge of tears.

The sum total of all this spending resulted in chaos. Noise chaos, visual chaos and lack of focus for the birthday child. The individual entertainers found it hard to find a time or the audience to do their thing ( with all the competition around for time and attention). Everyone was compromised. All in the name of doing the right thing.

For a successful party, let your mantra be LESS IS MORE.

Decide on your focus , you know your child best and  what makes them happy. Sometimes the same thing again as the last thing they enjoyed works brilliantly. I call this the Teletubby ‘again again’ principle. Adults find this hard to understand; we get bored. Children revisit their memory of previous fun times and it fills them with a sense of confidence .

If your child is physical and out-going, hire a bouncy castle and play equipment and just let them play. Or a football/ dancing party.

If they are shy but physical, hire an entertainer who does physically interactive parties and let the focus on the  entertainer bring out the confidence of your child . A good entertainer will not focus on a shy child, but allow them to be themselves and take the lead from the child. Sensitivity is key. My Bobby Bunny puppet show is perfect for shy active children of all ages as it is a gentle but cheeky show with integrated hopping participation.

A puppet show  is perfect for outgoing, creative children who like to be in the limelight and who enjoy the flight of imagination and creativity a puppet show brings.

Face painting is wonderful for shy children as it often gives them a mask to hide behind, allowing them to be the ‘fierce tiger’ on the outside that they imagine they could be on the inside. You’d be surprised how many actors are painfully shy in the real world. It’s the same principle.

Let this recession be a force for simplifying. Choose one thing and give your child the opportunity to be able to focus fully and have a stress free party.

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