Posted on 4th January 2012
Managing Behaviour at Children's Parties - by Joanne McGowan from Act One Parties
Take a group of excited children, mix with lots of party food and what is the result? Even more excitable children! The energy that children have at parties is incredible and to be admired but it is easy for this energy, when mixed with party treats, to turn a birthday party out of control unless you are well prepared and know how to manage the energy effectively. Here are my top tips for using this energy so that everyone has a great time.
One of the main reasons that energy can turn into challenging behaviour is boredom. It is easy to assume that putting a few toys out and allowing the children just to play will be enough at a party. Although this may be fine for 15 mins or so children (particularly small children) will start to get bored and look for other things to do. Make sure you have a fair few activities planned, whether this be some craft activities and/or some kids party games
2) Taking turns – although obviously learning to take turns is all part of growing up, think about the amount of children you have at the party and how long it will take for them all to have a turn at say Pin the tail on the Donkey or at hitting a Pinata. With these activities I would say they work best up to 15 children but if you have more you could have two on the go or just have another activity planned that the children can do whilst waiting for their turn.
3) Elimination Games – Games like Musical Statues are perennial favourites but for very small children the concept of being “out” is a hard one to comprehend and you may find that elimination games can quickly descend into chaos as children reappear into the game. And let's face it being out is pretty boring anyway. You can easily adapt games like musical statues so that no-one has to be out. Maybe when they freeze you could give the children a task to complete like who can stand on one leg the longest or who can pull the funniest face, and give a little prize each round (even just a sticker) to the best one. Everyone can still join in and be having lots of fun.
4) Too many distractions – Small children find it hard to concentrate on games if there are lots of other things around so put toys and craft activities away before starting games so that you have the children's full attention.
5) Hire a professional – If the thought of managing all that energy is giving you palpatations there are plenty of party entertainers who have lots of experience in keeping little ones engaged and having a good time. They will easily spot when activities need to be changed, when more active or more quiet games are required and generally keep the party moving so that no-one gets bored. If you do hire an entertainer then do listen to their advice about potential distractions etc.
I hope the above tips are useful and help you to create a magical party for your little one.
Joanne McGowan is a party entertainer based in Surrey, Berkshire and Hampshire. She is also a dance and drama teacher with a 5 year old son of her own.
Photography by kerryjphotography.co.uk & viveashphotography.co.uk