When children’s parties get out of control
Terri Lailvaux suggests five golden rules for parties.
It was my son’s 7th birthday party on Saturday and I have to say that I found the whole thing very stressful. Trying to decide on a venue was hard because the weather is so unpredictable. I have a big house but a tiny garden. My parents have a huge garden with a small house. The water slides might be too cold, Spur is too dark and the rest of the places we investigated are WAY too expensive. My son has 25 kids in his class, as well as another 25 at his aftercare and then we have lots of friends with kids that age and obviously there is the family too!

I decided to have it at my parents’ house and only to invite his actual friends. I asked both teachers for a list of who he plays with in his classes and managed to narrow the numbers down from 50 to 20!  I then selected some family friends and some relatives and reached a number of 26 kids, and included one parent for each child so I had a list of 52 people. I sent the hand-written invitations out and prayed for at least some people to be unavailable. After 1 week, I had 9 replies. I then followed up with emails and got another 8 replies. A few people  also asked if they could bring siblings along. By the time the party day arrived, there were five people who had not bothered to reply at all. Needless to say, having chosen the small house with the big garden, the weather was cold, windy and threatening rain!

People started to arrive and all was going well, despite the weather. A few of the non-responders pitched up too and two families arrived with extra people who were left over from sleepovers the night before! So, I ended up with about 30 kids and a similar amount of adults.

When it was time to leave, all the parents thanked me but only about four children thanked me. I have always made sure that my son finds the hosts before we leave anywhere and thanks them personally.  How will our children learn proper manners and etiquette if we do their thanking for them?  Surely, seven-year-olds are able to walk over and say a simple “thanks for the nice party” and “bye bye”?

As I was pondering this, a child came over to me and said “Hi, is there a party pack?” This child was followed by another and then by a 3rd. I took the bull by the horns and I went to the remaining group of moms and announced that there are no party packs because I do not believe in them. There was a stunned silence and then a great gaggle of excitement by the entire group who announced that they don’t either but they just do it anyway because they feel the pressure of conforming. They felt now that I had started not giving party packs, they would follow suit.

Maybe if I had loads of money, I would do party packs but even so, I do feel that they are unnecessary. It is my son’s birthday – a day all about him. I hosted 30 kids & 30 adults. I paid for the food, the drink, the balloons etc. and at the end everyone left fed and happy. Why would I want to buy another 30 sets of sweets, toys and funky bags for the guests to take away? If I had I wouldn’t have had enough anyway as more people arrived than had RSVP’d.

My personal wish list for kids parties:

1)    RSVP timeously

2)    Arrive and leave roughly on time

3)    Bring the correct amount of people

4)    Get your child to say thanks to the host

5)    Don’t  expect a party pack

My son had a wonderful day and we have made the thank-you cards and sent them off.  It was all a great success but I am still left wondering……are we just giving our kids too much?

Take a look below at a few party galleries to get some great ideas for your child's party:

Party like a Dinosaur

Themed birthday parties

Train birthday party

Have you thrown an over the top birthday party for your child?

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