When I think about a children’s birthday, the beads of sweat immediately rise to my forehead. Overall, in recent years, it has become a burdening “parents competition” for the coolest, styled themed event even for the youngest. Isn’t there an easier, better, more meaningful way? I asked an expert for her insider tips. She tells us the best tips and frameworks for children’s birthday parties and what cardinal mistakes parents often commit:
Tanja Grallert is the owner of the event agency Cleverly Family Events and Workshops. She reveals in an interview the most important basic conditions for a successful children’s birthday. Her insider tips, shows how parents can waltz every theme party with ease – the home stays intact and the kids fall asleep with tired eyes in the evening:
The ideal framework for the children’s birthday
For which age are children’s birthday parties suitable at all?
Until the age of three, I recommend a family party with young and old. Focus on your birthday child for about 15 minutes, best around the cake dinner and the party is perfect. From the age of four, it starts with your own party only with the children.
Should the children all be of similar age? Or does a mixed group work?
That’s up to anyone to decide. Older children can be super as little helpers, but there is the golden age rule. This is the age of the birthday child plus one as party guests: So if the Clara is four, there should be no more than five children in total. Therefore, my recommendation: mixed ages until the age of three, between four and eight years, similar age, and then whatever you feel is right.
How long should a children’s birthday party last?
How many children should I invite?
Age plus 1.
What’s the best time of the day for a children’s’ party?
In the Winter between 2:00 and 5:00 pm, in the Summer between 3:00 and 6:00 pm.
Children’s Birthday Party: The Details
Does everything really have to be styled down to the last detail according to the motto – or should it be easy?
Basically, everything is possible. If you like to style, then you will run wild, it will be easy for you to do. If you are rather minimal and great decoration is not your thing, promote the imagination of the children, for example, by painting the cake plates already. As basic decoration with balloons and Happy Birthday garlands the first step is already done.
Are bouncy castles, a professional clown and Co. a must or is it possible without it?
This question is difficult to answer, but I’ll try. Many children wish to once in a lifetime go with their parents to Disneyland and at the same time, they want to camp with friends in the garden. And how do the little ones say? “Mom, I wish that sooooo much!”. What I mean by that: if your wallet allows it and you dream of something big, book it, you’ll only turn 5 once. I personally know very few great adventures and fantasy stories, which started in a bouncy castle. But children’s eyes have beamed at me many times from these castles.
What can I organize well on my own and what should I better hire professionals for?
Classic checklists and decorating ideas can be found on the Internet (Pinterest and Co – for example here: children’s birthday party and children’s motto party ideas). Otherwise, it is a question of time. The professional will manage the organization and gladly supports you. And to be fair, one has to say that educational education makes each group easier to lead.
Too much pink wakes my boys’ defense mechanism. Is there a typical entertainment program, with which one can only score with girls or only with boys? Or is that nonsense – and everything can work for everyone?
Everything nonsense and everything can work for everyone. Mostly the guys are more active and the girls are more creative. But even that I would call prejudice. Do not forget the games you played as a kid. Dancing-around-the-chairs, knocking-the-pot, hide and seek and disguising will certainly be a perennial favorite for the next 100 years.
Eating and drinking at the Children’s Birthday Party
Snacking: How much sweets is good at such a party? Do I make myself unpopular with a fruit basket?
I have to smile at this question. Because many parents almost compulsively offer the children sweets, chips, and Co. For me, less is more. Plan the cake after about an hour and maybe make a little sugar rain just before you say goodbye. In between bananas, strawberries, grapes as snacks on the table, I think is smart and unobtrusive. The experience says: if you serve something hearty just before going home, the sugar-sweet world usually has little chance. I think it is much more important that you offer the children plenty of unsweetened drinks. Small Sidestep: the less sugar in the blood, the easier it is to lead the group.
Gifts at the Children’s Birthday Party
How about the gifts? Some parents give out real gift lists in the toy store of their choice – as one usually knows only from wedding lists. On the one hand, I can understand that, because I, too, always fear the wave of presents, because we already have enough toys at home. (And I’m firmly convinced that it secretly multiplies!) On the other hand, a gift list seems a bit outrageous – in my opinion. What’s your look on this?
GIFTS are important, the staging of them is even more important. Let me compare it to Christmas: for the children, it’s about, when does the bell ring and not what exactly is inside. Gifts live from surprise and imagination. But above all, the handover is important. That means never unwrap the gifts when the kids come, but always as a highlight at the end of the party. Imagine that you would first make the gifts and then decorate the Christmas tree. Christmas would lose its magic. That’s the same for the birthday child. I recommend the staging to our parents, it’s less about the content. Some families make the transfer only when the little guests are already back home.
On the subject of gift lists: I find it better if it is already communicated in the invitation that the children (the guests) are the gift.
Speaking of presents, how do you see that in the gifts that the guests receive? I do not know anything like that from the past, but it seems to be standard by now.
That’s a matter of taste. The memory is what matters. When they have an arts-and-crafts-station at the party, the children will bring home self-made gifts. This is more sustainable than any bag of sweets.
What do I do with parents who just push their child through the door and quickly disappear?
And vice versa: What do I do with parents who can not or do not want to let go of their child and want to stay there?
Oh, that’s a tough one, but I think that when everyone is welcome, everyone is welcome.
Tip for mom and dad: you’re the boss. And if you want the adults to stay or leave, you decide.
Workshops on the theme of children’s birthday and other events with kids
You offer workshops for parents and companies. What do you learn there?
Our workshops are practically starting after a brief theoretical introduction. You will get a toolbox with all the essential tools to make you feel safe at every event with children and families. In the workshops we answer all important questions regarding the following points:
- Budget planning,
- Duration of the event,
- Material planning,
- Motivational and reassurance techniques.
They earn and develop their knowledge under guidance. At the end, make up a tiger, lion or butterfly yourself and take a modeled balloon dog home with you.
As a mum or dad, you can organize every theme party for young and old with ease after our workshops. Your home stays intact and the kids will fall asleep, tired after a fun day.
As a company, you already get a new perspective on your employees in the workshops. We show you social and creative potential. Learning and leading playfully creates new working worlds. We make sure that our training unites elementary pedagogical knowledge with business goals. Your colleagues feel safe when dealing with families and plan events independently. We are happy to design an internal company training. The workshops take place throughout Austria.
You can also book you and your team for wedding and event support. What characterizes your approach?
We see the big picture. We focus on the family and the shared experience. No separate children’s and adult’s worlds. A lovely party for everyone.
Children’s Birthday: Parents stumble upon this cardinal mistake
What is in your eyes THE cardinal mistake parents make when organizing a children’s birthday party?
When dad eats the cake before the little guests come ;).
But now seriously: Many parents stumble over their own perfectionism. My tip: Always keep in focus what it means to be a child: to discover the world and to meet the imagination. That’s why your birthday is an annual highlight. Finally bigger and one year older.
Finally: What is one of your best insider tips, with which nothing can go wrong?
If it tweaks, tickling always helps. What I mean by that: no matter what, make sure we laugh together. Because even the children know: the most important rule is having fun!
Thank you, dear Tanja, for your valuable insights
The interview was conducted by Birgit Strohmeiser – Mama Blogger at MuttisNähkästchen