Top tips for first, second and third birthday parties

Toddlers – beautiful, wild, loving, infuriating little devil-cherubs. We know; we have one and she is at peak toddler-hood. So we would like to help you throw an amazing party which will amaze your friends, entertain the kids and show your little one just how much you love them. But most importantly we want you to do this with MINIMAL STRESS. Because parent-hood has enough challenges without a day that’s meant to be about celebrations and smiles being one of them.

Some of this advice is from personal experience from our one and only toddler party we have thrown for our daughter, and some is professional advice from the many parties we have organised for others. Of course, if you live in the North West of England we highly recommend you get us to do your party, but if for some reason you decide against this these tips should see you right:

  1. Book a venue early. Despite having provided entertainment and equipment for hundreds of parties, I had no idea how hard it is to find a venue that is not extortionate, has the right dimensions/facilities and is within reasonable travel distance. Find one and book it months in advance, otherwise (if you are anything like me) you will be in a flap 2 weeks before the big day and will have to have a party a month late. Yes, this happened to me – supposedly the professional. We live and learn!
  2. Do not have balloons. How are these even a thing anymore? Surely they should go the way of shoulder pads and Walkmans. Anyway, we have an electric balloon pump and they are still a nightmare. You spend forever blowing them up, get sore fingers tying them up, spend ages trying to string the things together and then at the end of the party you have to pop them all and get rid of the tonne of latex. BUNTING. Bunting is what you need. Unfurl it, string it up. At the end of the party untie it, fold it and save it for next time. Plus it looks awesome. We do bunting by the way, but we won’t be upset if you supply your own. We also do reasonably prices helium balloons, which are also nicer and easier than normal balloons. But for the love of god don’t waste your time with hundreds of balloons, your toddler won’t care and they’ll probably cry when you start bursting them.
  3. Remember that young children are wild. Let them be wild. Don’t expect them to sit nicely and play pass the parcel, it’s not fun. They don’t need structure at a party, although in all likelihood they will need close supervision (as you know)! Now I do love a bit of organised chaos so I’m sure plenty will disagree, but both in personal and professional experience, at least a bit of time running wild suits the kids because, well, they get to run wild. It also suits the parents as they can either channel their inner child and run wild with them, or sit back and watch with a brew. Our soft play package (funvalleyevents.co.uk/soft-play-hire/) is incredibly popular either alongside entertainment or inflatables (www.funvalleyevents.co.uk/inflatables/) or on its own. Parents rave about it and children cling onto it when we try to clear it away! So much of life is structured, give them time to run free, whether this is with packages like ours or just by putting out some games and creative activities and leaving them to do their thing.
  4. Personality matters. When it comes to entertainment and toddlers, it’s all that matters really. If you pay for a professional entertainer who is trained and experienced in the trials and tribulations of groups of toddlers (funvalleyevents.co.uk/little-gigglers/) make sure you go for entertainers who you have either seen in action or have rave reviews (www.facebook.com/funvalleynw/reviews/). Anyone can switch on a radio and pass out prizes but toddlers are demanding little people and will lose interest without humouring anyone. If you don’t want to shell out for a professional entertainer just go crazy with the entertainment, and believe me when I say you don’t need loads of equipment. Big enthusiasm, huge smiles and bubbles go a really long way. And races, they love races. Running with hands in the air, skipping, going backwards – it’s all great fun if you make it look fun. Oh and wiggling bottoms, that’s a winning dance move for any self-respecting toddler.
  5. KEEP IT SIMPLE. I cannot stress this enough. You are a parent, you have a million things to do. And if you are a stay at home parent, you have a million things to do at once. Please, please don’t spend hundreds of hours hand crafting take home gifts and fairy princess trinkets. Toddlers love to party and eat cake, they don’t need this – even if Lucy and Tommy’s mums spent 8 months knitting capes with hand embellished initials for each child. Just remember that toddlers are fickle, they probably loved it for 3 seconds then stuffed it in a shoe and spent the next 3 hours playing fetch with themselves and a 10p bouncy ball. Make/buy a cake and do this https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/340584790559985160/ because it looks beautiful and is easy and has enough of a homemade feel to make you look good. Don’t do this http://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/recipes/542142/disney-princess-birthday-cake-ideas you are unlikely to nail it.
  6. Party bags. This one is just from personal experience but we didn’t bother. I do them for other children’s parties and they’re very good and reasonably priced, and I know this makes me sound like an awful person – but I’m paid to do those ones! Don’t get me wrong, we didn’t deprive the hoards of youngsters of sugar overload and plastic tat – we’re not complete monsters! We just put the sugar overload on a tray by way of chocolate bars on a silver platter (see below) and chucked some invaluable plastic tat (see below/ebay) in a box, smothered in shredded paper. Oooooh lucky dip!
  7. For everything. EVERYTHING IS A POUND! It’s totally marvellous.
  8. TAKE THE HELP. The main thing I have learned since having baby number 2 is ‘Don’t be a hero’. I said this to myself just after I turned down painkillers during early labour with said number 2 (maybe with more expletives), and have lived by it ever since. If people offer to help, take it. Let them hold the baby/bring food/come early to decorate/make cake. If they don’t want to do it, they shouldn’t offer

I hope this helps! Of course, everyone is different and every toddler has different interests and demands. Every day. But in my humble experience the above can help you to make a roaring success with minimum stress. And as ever – get in touch if you’re in need of help or advice, even if you’re not hoping to book us. I have a toddler, I understand, and hopefully I can help.

Good luck friends!