Having 2 children of my own and providing Baby Beats party entertainment most weekends means I've seen a lot of children's parties. I also know the stress it can cause parents to make sure your little one has the perfect day. Here's 10 tips I've learned along the way to help your special day go as smoothly as possible.
1. Book early to get the day and time of your choice. Co-ordinating the venue and entertainment might be harder than you think and then you may have to factor in nap times too (both my children slept through half of their first birthday parties)! It's never too early to book - I have taken Baby Beats bookings 8 months in advance, and your deposit is transferable or refundable up to 2 weeks before the party in case you need to change your plans. I have also taken very last minute bookings too, so if you have been let down or need a little something extra, it's worth giving me a call!
2. Think about the number of children you are inviting and plan your activities accordingly. It can be tempting to invite the whole class but that's a lot of noise, a lot of mouths to feed and a lot of children to entertain! Organised activities can become difficult with large numbers and some entertainers charge based on the number of children. Luckily, Baby Beats pricing is just a flat fee per hour. However, we do know that kids can lose interest when party games take too long due to large numbers so in this case we find it works well to split children into teams for games, play musical games without winners and losers, and for older children discos work really well when the numbers are high. If you want to do structured activities with younger children like crafts or music, ask parents to stay with their child to help and encourage them and a smaller group does tend to work better if you don't want it to descend into chaos!
3. Plan your time. 2 hours is usually ideal for a kids party but if you want to fit 2 full hours of activities in you could start the party 15 minute earlier as in my experience guests arrive up to 15 minutes late and this may eat into your party entertainment. Baby Beats perfect party plan is 45 minutes musical activities when attention is best, food at the half way point, cake and sing Happy Birthday (played on guitar), and games and disco for the last 30 minutes when the children are most hyper!
4. Balloons are best hung up! Kids love to play with them, chase them, pop them and then there's tears! It can be noisy and a distraction from the main entertainment that you have planned and paid for. Secure balloons as decorations rather than leaving them temptingly on the floor, or give helium filled balloons as party favours when they leave so they don't feel like they are missing out.
5. Don't go overboard on the entertainment! Sometimes simple is best. I have provided entertainment at parties where there has just been too much else going on and the kids can't choose what to do and you don't get a full group activity. This can work well with a lot of children and you don't want them all at one activity at a time (e.g. if there's face painting, bouncy castle, pony rides etc) but not great if you have booked something like Baby Beats as well as it's hard for the main entertainment to compete over the noise of the rest, and you won't get your money's worth (yes I have done a party with all the above activities too!).
6. Minimise distractions. Like the balloons, it doesn't take much to distract a 3 year old, so the best party rooms are pretty bare and empty. Parties can work great in your own home if you are keeping it small and I have done quite a few of these which is a great way to save money on room hire. But do clear the space if you don't want items to get broken or special toys to get played with or lost.
7. Check you have given the correct information out! Firstly check you have given your party entertainer all the information they need - number of children, name and age of child, a contact number in case anything happens on the day and the full address of the party venue. Then check you have put the correct details on the invitations! This sounds really basic but it has happened at parties I have provided entertainment at - the wrong postcode sent everyone to the wrong venue and all the guests were half an hour late.
8. Party Bags! I'm not a massive fan of party bags but I know every child expects them. But the life of most items in a party bag is often less than 10 minutes and the contents inevitably ends up in the bin which is a waste of your money and not great for the environment. A great idea is one larger item which will have a bit more longevity, and Baby Beats can provide instruments which would go brilliantly at a musical themed party. We also give a free Baby Beats class to every party guest and the host which is a nice extra gift to give out.
9. More planning! Make sure everything runs smoothly with minimum interruptions so if your entertainer is just coming for 1 hour they can pack up and leave quietly while the children are having food, or set up during food if they are coming for the second hour. From experience it's really hard manoeuvring through a group of children carrying boxes of equipment! Baby Beats always factor in 20 minutes set up time and 20 minute packing away time at no additional cost to you so you always get the full party time you have paid for.
10. It doesn't just have to be a birthday party! Keep kids entertained Christenings, Weddings, anniversary parties, or any other gatherings with Baby Beats. By keeping the children busy, you get to have a sit down meal in peace, talk to your party guests and hold a party to remember! You can read our reviews on our parties page.