Have you had a similar experience?
Aright Stormi Webster you win when it comes to most over the top first birthday party ever. Yep…it’s time to talk about the party you had FOMO for this weekend after seeing every KarJenners instagram story and snapchat…Stormi World. PLUS…I have a Blac Chyna update for you all. Not only is she responding to her mother's claims that Rob Kardashian SHOULD get full custody of Dream…but she also got involved in a heated Instagram exchange with her ex Kid Buu. FINALLY…we have insight as to how Sofia Richie feels about being constantly TROLLED for dating 35 year old Scott Disick. We’re talking all about Stormi World…Blac Chyna and her drama AND the latest with Scott and Sofia right now so stay here for all the KarJenner news you need to know.
For the best of a year, my daughter had been planning her seventh birthday – the cake, the food, the decorations, all of it. In the end, I’d managed to convince her that less was more.
We were lucky enough to have a pool. The kids were old enough to swim unaided. Why not use it? A pool party. Easy. Not unlike the parties I used to have as a kid.
Come the designated Friday afternoon, eight extremely excited girls rocked up on our doorstep, swimmers at the ready. Then, the heavens opened.
"No, girls, sorry, no swimming. Not yet."
I barricaded the gate, not because I was worried about them getting wet (they were about to jump in a pool) but because the concept of them haring around on slippery tiles next to the pool filled me with dread and visions of arms in plaster casts.
"Let’s have a squealing competition!"
Disappointed, the girls trudged back inside, until one of them had a brain-wave.
"Let’s have a squealing competition!" The cacophony began. It was ear-splitting and headache inducing.
"Alright, alright, you can swim. But NO RUNNING around the pool."
Warn children about the importance of privacy and the dangers of predators and sexting. Teens need to know that once content is shared with others, they will not be able to delete or remove it completely, and includes texting of inappropriate pictures. They may also not know about or choose not to use privacy settings, and they need to be warned that sex offenders often use social networking, chat rooms, e-mail, and online gaming to contact and exploit children.
I opened the doors, prayed for no broken bones and promised never to host a child’s birthday party ever again.
When it comes to kids’ birthday parties, hindsight can be a wonderful thing. Sometimes it’s the obvious that trips you up. Sometimes it’s the least expected thing. But this is why, before each and every one of kids’ parties, I get butterflies.
Despite the best planning, you don’t really know what’s going to happen when you combine a bunch of kids, an even greater number of lollies, and throw in some competitive games for good measure.
My debut novel, After the Party , begins with a fifth birthday party that is utterly disastrous.
For a start, the mum Lisa Wheeldon, has invited the entire class of 32 kindy kids. Mistake number one: She accidentally sleeps in. Mistake number two: She drops the cake. Mistake number three...
By the end of the party, the error count spans two hands, but the problems are only just beginning, because one of the mums doesn’t turn up to collect her child and, as the hours pass, it becomes clear she’s not coming at all.
Now, this scale of disaster hasn’t actually happened to me, but in the interests of authenticity, I drafted a survey to ask real parents about their birthday party nightmares. Two hundred responses later, a number of common themes emerged which I have decided to share in the interests of helping others to avoid the same mistakes.
Choose your activities wisely
This is far and away the area that gets most people into trouble. You need activities. Good ones. Several respondents spoke of kids who decided to trash the home/movie theatre/restaurant because they were bored. So what constitutes a suitable activity? Well, it needs to be fun and exciting, but with minimal injury potential. Sadly, these requirements seem mutually exclusive.
Anything ‘exciting’ always involves an element of danger. However, as a general guide – pinatas are renowned for black eyes and groin injuries. BMX parties dice with death (mostly because dads try to join in), and trampolining centres are a leading cause of broken bones. Consider yourself warned.
Check the forecast
The at-home party is becoming a relic of the past. These days, 58 percent of parties are held in a venue other than a house, and more often than not, it’s the local park or playground. Now, I completely understand why – it’s free (usually), gives the kids plenty of space, and saves your house from getting trashed.
The down-side of this is that you’re completely at the mercy of the elements. Many a party host has been left literally holding a tonne of cake and food thanks to a rain storm. And don’t discount the heat. An outdoor party at the height of summer can be just as problematic.
Turn taking. Help all members of the family take turns talking and listening. Children find it much easier to talk when there are fewer interruptions.
Watch your pets
Well, I didn’t see this one coming. You’d be surprised at the number of dogs and cats that cause an issue – either through biting a child, killing prey (kids don’t love seeing live mice in a cat’s mouth), or getting into the food. Don’t underestimate your dog’s penchant for cake. One survey respondent revealed that her two dachshunds managed to climb up onto a piano stool to get to the cake that she’d carefully placed on top of the piano. She hacked off the eaten parts and served it anyway. Crisis averted. Kind of.
Double-check your entertainers
A great entertainer can make a party, a bad one can break it, and one that doesn’t turn up can cause you to go into cardiac arrest. Yes, these guys charge like professionals (and mostly they’re worth every cent) but they’re usually students for whom entertaining is a side-gig.
Chat with them beforehand. Make sure they understand your expectations, or you may get a hungover superhero or a fairy that turns up in black and not pink, thus devastating the birthday girl (yes, these have both happened).
Curate the kids, including your own
Inviting the whole class is a lovely idea, but extremely unwise. So, how do you pick and choose? Firstly, set a number. Around 80 percent of survey respondents suggest somewhere between 5-15 invitees.
Next, suggest names to your child, starting of course with their closest friends. You might also want to consider what other parties they’ve attended (returning the favour is nice) and think about the party dynamics. As parent and host, it is my belief that you retain the right of veto over guests who you think will cause a negative dynamic at the party. Sometimes, the source of that negative dynamic might in fact be your own child!
Before every party, I have a chat with my girls and explain that as host, their job is to make sure everyone else has a good time. They will not win every game or prize. In fact, they’ll probably win none of them. The prerogative of the guest is to win a prize, the prerogative of the birthday child is to get presents. The prerogative of the parent is to have a good stiff drink and a lie down when the party is over and all children returned safely into the arms of their own parents, with no bones broken.
Teach your child about evaluating information and being critically aware of information found online. Most children use the internet to improve and develop their knowledge in relation to schoolwork and personal interests. Children should be aware that not all information
Cassie Hamer is a Sydney-based author and mum of three children. Her debut novel, ‘After the Party’ is out now.