Childhood is ‘the best years’ of our lives, and yet it passes so fleetingly. Before we know it, the kids are all grown up and childhood is but a distant memory.
One way to fill your kids with fond remembrances is through memorable events. An awesome, fun-filled seventh (or fifth or twelfth or any!) birthday party may just be the perfect childhood moment your kid takes with them in their adulthood.
So how can you ensure your kid has a party to remember? Here are some tips:
- Listen to your child. There was an American show called Outrageous Kid Parties, which, aside from the ostentation and massive expense on display, frequently thrived on conflict. One episode even had a pushy grandma insisting on adding a disco element to her grandson’s pirate theme! Don’t be that grandma. Before organizing a party, ask yourself: is this for me, or for my kid? If your aim is to impress your adult guests, you’ll probably succeed – but leave your kid puzzled. Take your cue from what your kid wants, from the theme to the menu and even the guest list. Nothing makes a kid feel more special than being ‘boss’ for a day.
- Get creative. A party need not be extravagant to be memorable, but it should be distinguished from an ordinary day. A little effort from your part, such as handcrafting spaceship party favors, turning the living room into an ultra-cool alien cave, or transforming popcorn into ‘moon rocks’, will delight your child and your guests. The goal is to make the day as special as possible. Not the creative type? Scour Pinterest for inspiration, or assign imaginative older siblings or cousins to add a touch of whimsy.
- Think of age-appropriate activities. If you have a mixed guest list, try different ‘stations’ where kids can do a variety of activities at their own leisure. Ideas can include cookie decorating, a mini-obstacle course, a scavenger hunt area (for active older kids), or even a drawing and coloring table. Face-painting and temporary tattoo stations seem to be a big hit, too. Remember to include unstructured free time for kids to play on their own and let their imaginations run free.
- Plan appropriately. Obviously a swimming party in the middle of monsoon season is bound to fail, and overextending the guest list when your venue is your backyard is unwise. As much as you want to pack everything into one event, you need to take a step back and manage expectations – your own as well as your child’s.
- Get organized. Failing to plan is planning to fail, and anyone who’s ever done an event can tell you that in parties, Murphy’ Law is king. So get your checklist ready, make sure you have a Plan B and a Plan C, get your back-ups in line. Assign family members to monitor their share of work (ex. Hubby picks up the cake, ate is in charge of following up with the photo booth operators, kuya is the DJ) and hope for the best.
But when all else fails… take a deep breath and smile. Disasters happen and sometimes things are beyond our control. If you find yourself in this situation, make the best out of it and reassure your child. Here’s where your imagination and quick thinking come into play. Sometimes it’s the spontaneous things that kids love and remember the most.