Wow, what a busy couple of months we have had. As nature would have it 🙂 our kids are born in November, January and 2 in March. Sometimes it feels like I’m planning parties non-stop for 6 months of the year!
I think kids’ parties have taken on a whole new level of craziness. They should really host a reality TV show about it! Imagine watching how those mama’s give each other the evil eye. “You did WHAT?”, “That’s MY party theme”, “I booked this date first”, “I have so-and-so hosting the party”, “We got all our decor through_____”… WARNING: Wear protective gear!
Forget the Joneses, and their party you went to last week, with the magician, the circus and the 5 tiered sparkling cake! This is YOUR kid’s party, it’s a time to enjoy special relationships and celebrate YOUR child.
In today’s day and age everything we do for our children runs the risk of becoming a competition. Apparently the bigger the fan fare, the better the parent… Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a well put together party. But is it really necessary to go over the top? I know we want to give our kids the best we can, I do. But sometimes we should take a step back and re-evaluate why we’re going the “extra mile”. Is it really for our kids, or is it to look like the better parent!
Now here’s my thing! I LOVE baking cakes… Especially my kids’ birthday cakes. I stress about it and, yes, I think I even go over the top a little. BUT I love it! I would bake all day, every day, if I could. I enjoy looking up cute ideas and putting them together to make a nice party. I get excited about it. But I always try to remind myself that in 10 minutes (at least) all that hard work will be devoured, manhandled and, probably, some of it will end up in the bin!
So how can we make our kids’ parties a little more stress-free? Here are my thoughts on the matter:
1.Make the food interesting, yet simple.
I have made the mistake of doing TOO much sugar, and have learnt that wholesome food can be enjoyed too! You can make anything out of fruit and veggies. Cheese and pretzels are a good option (kids LOVE cheese, most kids anyway). Chicken drumsticks are also a tasty and healthy treat. Create a platter that fits the theme of the party. Jelly is great too! Yes, you want it to look gorgeous, but it doesn’t have to take you weeks to prep a dish that will be gone in a few seconds!
2.Make your own cake!
I think this part is so daunting for moms. We often think we’re not capable of producing beautiful cakes! Let me tell you my secret! I have NEVER made my own cake mix, nope, I use the good old faithful box from a shop! Add the eggs and oil… There you have it! I’ve bought a few kids cake books and follow the easy step by step instructions. These books can be great for finding out ideas that you can use in the food department as well! I’m making a pretty bold statement right now, I know, but I’ll say it anyway; ANY mom can bake a cake! We just have to get our creative juices flowing. If you’re a mom who prefers to buy the cake, that is less stressful as well! Whatever works for you!
3. Plan many fun games!
I find that using games at a party keeps the kids engaged and busy! We have SO many “old fashioned” games that we used to play as kids, why not brighten them up and use them now. I went to a party this year where they had a Treasure Hunt. It was great! The kids were under the age of 6 and it worked so well! Even us parents got involved. It’s great to do these games after the kids have eaten, just to let them use some of that energy! Here are a few examples.
- Pass The Parcel
- Dive for the Apple
- Hidden Jelly Babies in Flour
- Do creative activities that fit your theme (Paint, Icing Sugar, Macaroni Art)
- Action activities that involve lots of movement (Musical chairs, Obstacle Course, Simon Says)
- A Jumping castle always works well
4. Get the team to help clean up!
This can be the most daunting time for a parent. We are SO exhausted and we see this mountain of cleaning ahead of us. I was so thankful for a bunch of moms at one of my kids’ parties, they just began picking up strewn papers, leftovers and generally being lifesavers! So if you’re in a group where you feel the freedom to ask… Get the kids to help pick up. It’s a good life lesson as well 😉 … Or (this was my most recent cheat) you could have the party at another venue that offers cleaning!
5. Invite fewer kids
We feel so pressured to invite every child in the class, every family member, etc! OK, so maybe we can’t ditch the family, but maybe we can shorten the friends list. Maybe suggest a max number and keep it reasonable! We need to stop feeling pressured that our children might not be “popular” if they exclude some kids that they don’t play with as often as they do others!
6 Pinterest is a Mom’s Best Friend
A little while ago it was suggested that I had become a Pinterest Mom!? To be honest, I was quite offended by it, but that was just my own insecurity around how people might perceive me as someone who has buckets of time to sit on Pinterest… But, you know what, I actually LOVE this app! It gives me so many creative ideas that I would NEVER have thought of before. It is a moms best friend when organizing parties. People will think you spent hours working on something, when it literally took you minutes! We all need a little creative help and Pinterest sure does that!
In my honest opinion… the minute I stopped worrying about what other parents thought about the way I hosted my children’s parties I was able to enjoy getting involved in the process of making it the best I could! We also don’t need to spend an exorbitant amount of money in order for it to be enjoyable!
Any more ideas on how to make a children’s party less stressful? Please comment below and we can add them to the list! The more ideas the easier it becomes!
One Messy Mama