It was my youngest granddaughters second birthday party recently and it was a lovely occasion – for family and friends, and especially our little Kylie.
It was a little party with simple decorations, practical eats and a few friends and family. Nothing over-the-top like, for example, Khloé Kardashian’s daughter True’s first birthday party when R119,000 was spent on pastel balloons alone! There were also neon lights, sculptured foliage and ‘unicorn’ ponies amongst other extravagances.
I’ve been invited to many First birthday parties where there has been too much fuss. By the time the last guest leaves, the family is exhausted, there’s a huge mess to clean up and the birthday girl or boy is miserable.
Keep it simple. If you have the money to ‘splash out’, wait until your child is at least five before hiring a party-planner, venue and entertainer.
Here are some do's in the meantime:
Do take photographs and have the best ones printed or copied for safe-keeping – pictures on your cell phone will be deleted by time your child is older.
Try and keep junk-food to a minimum: be creative with savoury sandwiches, vegetable sticks, cheese, cocktail sausages and fruit kebabs.
Children’s birthday parties are not about the adults and grandparents – they’re mostly about the children. Plan games and activities with prizes. Remember it’s not what you say and do for the children that’s important, it’s how you make them feel that they will remember. Some children are shy when they’re left with strangers. They may not want to join in the games or they may feel alienated because they’re not part of the ‘in’ crowd. Do little things for these children to help them ‘fit in’ and have fun with the rest of the gang.
Gather the children round not only for lighting the birthday-cake candles and singing, but also for opening the presents. I’ve been to parties where the presents are put away to be opened afterwards. Children feel special when ‘their’ present is opened and admired by all.
Birthday parties are not only about the food: they’re also about learning social skills and helping your child, who is the ‘star’ of the day to be a gracious host and celebrity. Plan well. Prepare early. Enjoy the day with your child. After all, that’s what Birthday parties are about.