Organizing a children’s party can be a complex experience for parents. As the big day approaches, it’s important to make sure you’re well-prepared to avoid unpleasant surprises, schedule slippages or anything else you may not have thought of.

It’s a good idea to remember a few simple truths that we tend to forget.

THE ULTIMATE GOAL

The ultimate goal of a celebration is to provide the birthday boy or girl with excellent long-term memories. Everything else is secondary. The objective is, for a short time, to put a young person on a pedestal, to give them a sense of importance that will boost their confidence and self-esteem.

DURATION

The duration of the party is less important than the intensity of the pleasure. Too often, celebrations drag on. What’s important is the “punch” – what everyone remembers! So it’s not a good idea to cut corners.

MEMORABLE SOUVENIRS

What stands out in a young person’s mind is that which is out of the ordinary. Even if they enjoy a particular activity, because they excel at it or play it all the time, it’s probably not the best choice. What memories would the youngster take away?

To help you organize a successful children’s party, here are 10 tips to think about before the big day!

1. WHAT TYPE OF CELEBRATION?

A young child aged 5 and under won’t remember much about his or her birthday. Often, the party is celebrated at daycare with friends, or at home at a family gathering. However, when the child reaches school age, it becomes customary to celebrate his or her birthday with friends.

AT HOME

For a successful party, you’ll need to take care of all the elements involved in the two major stages of a celebration: preparation (i.e., planning invitations, choosing food, entertainment, activities, schedule, etc.) and execution on the big day (managing the reception, parent-accompaniers and activities, preparing food, opening gifts and departures). As you can see, it’s a considerable investment of time, but you could save a lot of money.

Be creative to find activities that will limit the intensive clean-up and pick-up session after the event!

Also, make sure you have help on the day of the party. Ideally, you’ll need someone to devote their time to the group, as well as another person to provide support (crying children, serving food, tidying up as you go, greeting latecomers and early departures).

IN A SPECIALIZED LOCATION

It’s important to choose a company that specializes in children’s party celebrations. Otherwise, you run the risk of having to do the same work during the execution phase as if you’d chosen to do the activity at home, but at a higher cost. It’s important to remember the original objective: to buy souvenirs for the birthday boy or girl!

Since the “making of” aspect of the day is taken care of in a specialized location, it’s easy to add a family activity in parallel to the party. By choosing the right location, you can organize a get-together with friends or family for the adults, while the kids have fun.

You can kill two birds with one stone by choosing an entertainment complex that takes care of the kids during the party and allows parents to relax, over a drink for example, before the presents are handed out.

2. WHO TO INVITE? WHEN? WHEN?

The vast majority of children’s birthdays are celebrated with six to twelve guests. Usually, if you choose a specialized venue, you’ll need to confirm two weeks in advance in order to reserve the right time. Ideally, invitations should arrive two to three weeks before the party, so that you have an estimate of the number of participants at the time of booking.

The younger the guests, the more important it is to ensure that parents have received the information, as invitations lost in school bags are a common occurrence. Include your e-mail address in the invitation to ensure prompt responses and limit the number of reminders. Include a RSVP deadline on the invitation, as well as an arrival time (ideally 15 minutes before the actual time) and departure time.

As a general rule, about 25% of your guests will decline your invitation. This is quite normal, since children are not really masters of their own schedule. It’s important to temper your expectations: these refusals are not indicative of your child’s rejection… that’s life!

If you have a maximum capacity of guests, make two waves of invitations a few days apart: first, the must-haves, and then, depending on the number of places left, the good friends. This way, you’ll avoid ending up with a very different number of guests than you wanted.

3. FOOD

gâteau fête enfant

Allergies, limited tastes, religions, nationalities, personal choices… Choosing food is a delicate task when you know little about your guests’ customs. On the invitation card, be sure to ask if there are any dietary restrictions. This will make it easier to plan food for the day of the party.

From experience, you’ll know that there are some passpartout dishes that are popular with youngsters and not at all complicated to prepare, such as macaroni and cheese or tomato and cheese pizza with French fries. Kids love it, and it’s so simple!

For dessert, anything… chocolate! If you choose cupcakes, you can decorate them with candy and cream. It’s another fun activity for the kids!

4. ANIMATION

It’s important to provide some entertainment at the party to keep the kids busy and supervised. Otherwise, they’re likely to play hide-and-seek or tag and probably redo your decorations along the way!

You can also opt for a more educational activity, such as an animal presentation, cooking class or table games. In all cases, the host will need to captivate the youngsters and keep them interested.

If you prefer a fast-paced activity that uses the children’s excess energy, then you’ll want a dynamic person who can explain the rules of the game. The important thing is not to leave the group to their own devices.

If you use the services of an entertainment center specializing in children’s parties, experienced and competent entertainers will be ready to entertain and supervise the youngsters.

5. THE ACTIVITY

Remember that the chosen activity must appeal to the child being celebrated. Since there are so many possibilities, you may need to guide them in their choice, or even choose for them. Your child’s age, gender and interests have an impact on the activities he or she enjoys.

While a six-year-old may be looking for a low-complexity activity to have fun with, as he gets older, he’ll be looking for activities that help him develop dexterity or use strategy in a competitive team environment.

6. WELCOMING

Be aware that some of your guests may arrive late. To avoid this, ask guests to arrive 15 minutes before the actual start of the celebration. It’s also a good idea to start the party with an activity that allows you to add new people as guests arrive.

As far as possible, it’s important to stay on schedule to avoid logistical problems. There’s nothing more unpleasant than when children have to leave before the gifts are opened because one of the guests arrived late.

7. WHAT TO DO WITH PARENTS

Experience has taught us that parents don’t always enhance the birthday boy’s experience. Sometimes, it’s just the opposite! Parents often take up too much space for the children’s liking.

It’s important to have one or two parents accompany the children, but ideally no more. These parents also need to understand that they’re there simply to make sure everything runs smoothly, and that they need to stay back to allow the children to really enjoy themselves.

If your guests’ parents absolutely must stay on site, choose to have the party at a venue where they won’t disrupt the birthday party and activities. Ideally, the child’s party should be professionally supervised on one side, and on the other, the parents can chat together, have a drink or even do an activity, why not!

8. DAILY SCHEDULE

Children must be taken care of as soon as they arrive. Once all participants are present, the most physical activity begins, with the aim of burning off any excess energy. Then it’s off to the food court. Finally, there’s the traditional cake and presents.

As a general rule, we aim for one to two hours for the activities and one hour for the food and gifts. If the children find the party too short, it’s a success. Think of it as a compliment!

9. GIFTS FOR GUESTS

cadeaux fête enfant

Giving your guests a gift is not obligatory, but you can prepare one if you wish (the kids will be very happy, that’s for sure!).

Here are two suggestions. The first is the traditional candy bag, which is always popular with young people. The second is to offer a souvenir photo to each guest. You can take the photo on the day of the party, then print it out and give it to guests later. The photos will become an opportunity for young people to recall fond memories.

10. THE DEPARTURE

Most parents will be on time to pick up their children after the party, but some may arrive late. While you’re waiting for them, you can plan a card or board game with short rounds to keep the kids busy until the very end.

If the birthday party was held away from home, you can also drive the children home if they live near you.

THE EXPERTS

At Le Boulzeye, we organize over 400 parties for children of all ages every year. In fact, many of our customers come back every year!

Our strength lies in preparation: each of our hosts is trained to the highest standards and is assigned to a single group for the duration of the activity. He or she is supported by an assistant who ensures that everything is prepared and ready at the right time.

Our teams know how to react quickly to unforeseen situations. What’s more, our activities appeal to all age groups. Laser tag, bowling, escape games, arcades-there’s something for everyone! With our on-site kitchen, function rooms and more, you’re sure to have a great time.

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