When you have children, one of your responsibilities will be to have all their friends over to wreck your house, scream for three hours and leave half-eaten food everywhere. It is called having a party and is an inescapable duty for all parents. To preserve your sanity and keep your blood pressure under control, it’s worth looking at ways to reduce the stress involved and give your child a party they will love without adding to your grey hairs.
When they are in kindergarten or just starting school, children usually want to invite their whole class over, and that can be a lot of little people running around your house. As they get older, they will probably be happy to have fewer guests and stick to their close friends, so it does get easier! If you are faced with a long list of potential guests, you might want to consider hiring a suitable venue for the party instead of having it at home. If the party is in the warmer months of the year, putting up a gazebo or large tent outside and letting the kids play in the backyard is a good way of keeping the worst of the chaos out of the house.
Parents often feel obliged to make mountains of sandwiches and finger food for the party guests and spend hours preparing a lavish feast. The trouble is, kids are usually too excited about playing, presents and cake to eat much, so your efforts will go to waste. Keep the catering simple and don’t go overboard, you don’t need to, and none of the kids will notice. A pizza party is nice and simple, just cook up a batch of different pizzas, slice them up and let the kids help themselves. If you need more, it won’t take long to cook a few extra, and if they don’t eat it all at once, they can come back later for a cold snack. Pocket Change Gourmet has a quick and simple recipe for a delicious vegetable dip, which with a selection of vegetable sticks, pretzels or cheese straws, will add a touch of variety and impress the other parents. For dessert, you could follow the theme and have fruit pizzas.
If you can afford a children’s entertainer, it’s a great way to keep the kids happy and occupied and stop them bugging you. If that’s not an option, try and get them outside for as long as possible, where they can run around and let off steam without causing too much trouble. Outdoor games, balls, a paddling pool, anything that they can all have a go at and doesn’t exclude anyone is ideal.
If you are having a bunch of kids round to your house, it is never going to be calm and ordered, and there is bound to be some wailing, some crying and the odd upset. Aim to keep all your preparations as simple as possible and allow friends and other parents to lend a hand. Having those extra hands and help means less stress for you! Most importantly, don’t put yourself under pressure to throw the best party ever, because kids mostly just want to play and won’t appreciate the effort you put into making lily flowers out of kiwi fruits!