Parents and Birthday parties
Let me start this post by saying I don’t have children so as much as I can comment on this subject from an entertainers view it will not be applicable to everyones dynamics and parenting style. Parents at Birthday parties can be a very grey subject area. Children all mature differently and some will be ready to go it alone sooner than others but it there really a rule for when you should first leave your child at a party?
Likewise hosting a birthday party for a parent can be busy, stressful and overwhelming and what can add to this is thirty plus parents standing around or crowding up a space. So how can this be combatted from both the hosts and the parents side. I have put together my top five questions and answers below which I hope will help!
What age should I first leave my child at a party?
This is a difficult question to answer especially, as I mentioned above – I don’t have children. However I can give you my view from experience. Many children by the age of 4 and 5 have already been to dance classes, after-school clubs and activities without parents so logically this would be a good time to allow them to party solo. However I would strongly say this is number dependant (for everyones piece of mind). If you have a party parent with 30 children and only them to supervise with regards to health and safety it would be a nightmare however if you have entertainers, party parents and grand-parents then that is much less of an issue. Six years onwards is usually fine however I would ensure you leave an emergency number with the party parent before you leave – maybe party parents have a sign in and contact form at the party. I would say from 5 years up children are usually pretty good if they are left but again there is no right or wrong answer to this question (although I mean please don’t abandon me with 30 two year olds!!). Never feel bad if your child is 7 or older and wants you to stay. That is perfectly fine! Likewise never feel bad if you leave your five year old who you know is perfectly happy to stay!
If parents are staying where do I put them?
Check with your entertainment for the preferred area they would like parents to sit in. If possible set a far side of the room for parents (this ensures children are not distracted by them) and have chairs and tables there. Make sure they are able to chat but are far enough away so’s not to disrupt the party. (Which leads perfectly onto…)
Parental Chatterboxes (This is sure to be me one day!!)
Something that is very difficult when you are hosting a party whether as a parent or an entertainer is trying to keep the children engaged and whilst at the same time trying to cut through the parental chatter. It is a case of everyone making a little sound makes one very big sound but it is always something to be aware of for parents. Please keep this in mind when you are at a party. We as entertainers can only be so loud.
Do I feed them?
Do you or should you feed parents? This is completely up to you. Personally what I would do is in your “Parents Corner” set biscuits and nibbles up and then offer teas and coffees for people as they arrive. I think if parents are staying it is nice to have a little something for them however this is far from paramount at a party.
Finally should parents join in?
I love parties where parents are willing to join in with the games and activities (I have noted everyone is always very keen to join in with the crafts haha!) but this depends on your child and how comfortable the are with you joining in and also if you want to. If you have a child that isn’t keen on partaking you joining in can be of huge benefit! I think if you have a smaller party number and parents are willing to be involved that is also brilliant! I mean I thought everyone loved to play pass the parcel on a Saturday?