Can you do something different?
I hear this request often from clients. I understand this request very well with my adult brain. If I were going to a party as an adult and the same entertainer was there , be it a stand up comic or a magician and they did the same routine , I’d probably be a little bored. So from my adult clients ( mummies and daddies) perspective, I totally get where they’re coming from.
Indeed, when I started out in this business of being a children’s birthday party entertainer and I thought about my routines, I thought with my adult brain and I tried to make sure that I varied my routines as much as possible. I wondered why my little clients ( boys and girls) kept asking me when I was going to do the monkey puppet? When was I going to do the fairy puppet?
when was I going to do Old Macdonald? ie the old routines.
They looked disappointed.
What was going wrong here?
There exists a discrepancy between my two clients and their expectations. Two clients? What do I mean?
In this job as a kids entertainer, I have two client bases: one the adult clients ( the ones who book and pay me, ergo the very important ones) and two the children who receive my services directly ( the ones who can make or break my reputation if they don’t like what I do; ergo the even more important ones. Also the ones who exert massive pester power )
Both clients need to be satisfied.
I decided to make an executive decision: I was going to stick to the routine and give my little clients what they wanted. After all, as adults we all get told how much young children need routine? Or was I pushing it?
So to this day, I’m still making sure that the old favourites are still firmly in place. If children are still laughing and joining in even after seeing me at countless parties, I’m not going to spoil their fun by changing it. If it aint broke don’t fix it they say.
I’ve been thinking about why children seem to enjoy repeating the same things and still get so much joy each time. I came up with a simple comparison : music.
When children watch me perform with my puppets at birthday parties or other celebratory events, they clearly give me an emotional response; the sort of response that is felt when listening to music. The joy on their faces is evident when watching the puppets antics.
We do not question that someone would listen to a piece of music that gives them joy over and over again, do we? In fact that is something that we take for granted. We don’t get bored of a piece of music that gives us pleasure, in fact repeating the experience often brings back emotions and memories all over again. This analogy seems to fit what I am witnessing with my small clients as they watch the same puppet routine over and over again.
Add to this the fact that there is security in knowing what comes next, there is power involved in being able to participate in a familiar experience. For little children who are generally not able to exert any sort of power in a very adult world, this must feel very thrilling.
So parents, I am going to respectfully overlook your request to change things up and go with the needs and wants of your children.
( I shall add a few subtle changes along the way and introduce new characters gently but shhhh! don’t tell the kids. It shall remain our little adult secret.)