Feeds:
Posts
Comments

When preparing for your child’s birthday party, please take time out from your busy schedule to plan all the details of your party well in advance.

To fail to prepare is to prepare to fail has never been truer when organizing a kid’s birthday party. Small things like balloons, streamers, food, and games designed to fit the theme of the party help create the right ambiance for the day. By preparing well in advance you ensure that nothing is missed out.

Prepare lists and tick the items of the items as they are bought and store them carefully all in the same place.  This helps remove any last minute panic.

Always remember whose party it is and who the star is.  Make sure that you involve the birthday boy or girl from the start of the planning process as well as through out the planning process. Young adults love being a part of their celebration.  If truth be told, they will be absolutely thrilled to help with the party theme, guest list and all the many associated party preparations.

Developing a theme is always a good place to start as everything then falls into place as you build around your theme. Items such as the plates, napkins, and decorations etc help unify your party theme.  There are loads of party themes to choose from when planning your child’s birthday party and because you know your child better than anyone else, you and they, choose what they would love best. This is the start of making your child’s party special for your child and friends. Choose your theme carefully and finding all your items can be easy.  Choose badly and you face an uphill daunting task and you could end up spending a fortune.

All too often mums make the mistake of trying to organize everything by themselves from start to finish.  Do not be afraid to ask family members and friends to help you with the arrangements. Extra hands and minds really do help a lot not especially introducing fresh ideas which you may not have thought about.  Other parents will tell you the problems they encountered in the past and what they would do differently next time around.  Learn from their experience and remember to pass on the tips you learn along the way when it is their turn to ask for help.

Birthday parties are all about building happy birthday memories, which will last a lifetime, so please take lots of photographs and even video your party so that the happy memories remain engraved forever.  Your child will thank you.

Depending upon the age of the birthday child and the number of children (and adults) coming to your party you may choose to hire a hall rather than have the party at home.  Personally, I prefer home parties and always had my girl’s party at home.  We much preferred it.  Decorate your venue or home as festive as possible. After all, it is a party.  If having the party at home please make sure that you keep any valuables and breakables in another room and don’t forget to close the door.

If you have any animals, keep them away as some of your young guests may be frightened or distracted by an over excited animal.  The last thing that you want is a young child crying because your cuddly pet jumped up and frightened them.  For the safety or your pet too keep them away as children may they may unwittingly or accidentally hurt your small pet as they wish to lift cuddle them!

You must set a time limit for the celebrations especially if your son or daughter is young. Setting a time limit ensures that the event does not drag on and on for both the kids and parents. For a child’s birthday party you must make sure that all your games and activities end within the specified time limit. A time limit of two hours is, generally speaking, more than enough for the kids to have fun.

Make a schedule for a kid’s party will keep things moving along nicely. Prepare a list of what your guests will be doing from the time they arrive until the time they leave.  Do not make it too regimented though as it is a party and an overcomplicated schedule is a recipe for disaster.

Plan the games and additional activities well in advanced so that you do not have any last minute disappointments. If you are using an entertainer make sure that they are experienced especially if there is going to be a wide age range of children.

If you are planning an outdoor party have a backup plan just in case it rains or the weather turns cold. Remember being prepared is time well spent.

Lastly enjoy your child’s celebration. Go with the flow and have fun.

 

 

Help yourself with these answers to common questions about children’s birthday party etiquette.  Questions such as how many guests should you invite, how to handle bad birthday behaviour, when to write thank you notes, what favours to give out.

Who should be invited?
Many children would love to invite their entire school class and perhaps friends from football, dancing classes, neighbours and of course don’t forget favourite cousins.  However this can be a recipe for disaster and is generally not really practical or affordable for most families.  So where do you draw the line?

Ask yourself how many children you are comfortable hosting, and at this stage do let your budget be a consideration.  A manageable party will be more enjoyable for both you and your child’s guests.

Around twenty/thirty children is a good maximum to aim for.  Less if your child is pre school age, as too many children can be over whelming for the birthday child.

Small is also beautiful and I have performed for a low as eight children.  This allows a more intimate party with all of the guests receiving special treatment and involvement which is not always possible with a lot of children present.

Consider whether you wish your party to be at home or in a hall.  Hosting your party at home has a good number of advantages, in terms of cost and practicality, both for you and your child.  To a large extent the number of guests will dictate what is best in your own particular circumstances.  I perform around 50% of my parties in people’s homes and they are often the most successful.  I have two girls of my own and we always had our parties a home and we much prefer it.

Another thing to consider is whether the party will be indoors or out.  Typically, it is easier to host a larger group of children in an outdoor setting but you need to know the many disadvantages.  For a party at home in doors, again tailor the guest list to the space you have available.

Alternatively you may decide to hold the party at another location such as a community hall, church hall, or a franchise business that offers party packages, in order to invite more children.  However be totally honest with yourself about how much time, money and energy you have for your event.

Important:  Whether you have a party at home or in a hall do invite your child’s friends, but do not feel obligated to include their friends’ siblings.   Often this will create BIG problems for you.  You have been warned.

You should not feel pressured to invite the entire class nor invite the guests siblings.

If your child is in school, you might consider inviting just the boys or just the girls for a gender-specific party, or just your child’s closest friends that he or she spends the most time with.

Invitation Etiquette?
Your invitations should be precise about the type of party being given, with the date, time, and location of the party.  Start by telling guests who the party is for at the top of the invitation. “Rebecca’s 8th Birthday Party”, for example.

Next, give the date and time of the party.  You definitely want to give both a start time and an end time to avoid confusion about when parents should return for their children.

If you don’t want other parents staying, wording such as “Drop off at 2:00 pm, and pick-up at 4:00 pm” should make that clear.

If the party must start or end precisely at a certain time, for example when hiring an entertainer suggest that the guests may wish to arrive ten minutes early before the show commences to avoid having any stragglers or indeed include the word “sharp” after the stated start time.

Be very specific about the party location.  If the party is being held at your home, give your full street address including post code.  If the location is elsewhere such as a church hall, give the name full name of the location and the full street address.  It is also useful to give your phone number for any guests who may need to call for directions.

Finally, give information on how you want guests to reply to your invitation such as your phone number or email address.  Here are some common RSVP formats used on invitations:

RSVP to Linda on [phone number] or [email].
RSVP by June 1 to Linda on [phone number].
Kindly respond to Linda on [phone number].
Please reply to Linda on [phone number].

Should you ask guests to respond by a certain date?
Absolutely, because you really do need to know how many people are coming! To do this, simply put “RSVP by [date]” on the invitations.

Best time for a children’s party, and how long should it last?
Most three and four year old parties are best in the morning when the children are at their freshest and the best time of day to have a toddler party is probably 10:00am–12:00 noon.

For older children from five to ten years old consider 2:00pm–4:00pm. This gives plenty of time for games, snacks, and cake.

Should I let parents stay?
Sometimes you may want other parents on hand to help you supervise the children during the party but generally speaking parents staying is not a good idea other than for the very young children.

How do I handle RSVPs, and importantly, those parents who don’t reply?
If you ask guests to RSVP by a specific date, many parents will reply but sadly there is a growing tendency, because everyone is so busy these days, for parents not to reply.

For those parents you will need to get on the phone to find out who is coming. Just because a parent hasn’t responded, please don’t assume that their child is not coming to your party!  After all you really do need a head count for successful planning purposes.

When making the phone call, you can say something like “Hello, this is Linda Dickson, Rebecca’s mum.  Will your son Kevin be joining us for the birthday party this weekend?”

How should I address the envelopes?
Address each invitation to the person being invited especially if you do not wish any siblings to attend.

Keep in mind that children under the age of five will arrive with their mum or dad.  Many children this age are not ready to socialize at a party without a parent nearby.  These parents will linger in the background, and will most likely be willing to help in any way.  Let them help you serve cake and clear away dishes.

How can I prevent the birthday child from behaving badly at the party?
Before the party explain to your child what is expected, things like saying hello to each guest as they arrive and being friendly to everyone.

Please be forgiving if he/she forgets their party manners at times but do remind them to thank the guests as they leave and hand each child a party bag.

Set expectations high and increase those expectations each year.  Manners are important.  Each year your child will be able to handle a little bit more responsibility during the party, building good social skills along the way.

For many children, the day of their birthday party is one of the happiest days of the year.  They have been anticipating their party for weeks, and as the excitement builds, the chance of a meltdown increases !!!  If this happens to your child during the party, be kind but very firm.  Children can be overwhelmed at birthday parties and your job is to help your child calm down and get back into the fun.

What should I do if a young guest behaves badly?
Sadly, inappropriate behaviour can occur.  Keeping an eye on a group of excited children is challenging to say the least.  I would always recommend asking another adult(s) to help you on the day of the party.  This may be a good friend, a relative or a favourite babysitter to help share the load.

Having a party entertainer should help ensure bad behaviour does not happen or at the very least is kept to a minimum.  However always remember that your entertainer is there to entertain the children not to discipline them; that remains your responsibility and that of any parents who stay.  Always try to remain calm and stay positive.

If the naughty child’s parent is there, ask that they handle the situation.  Unfortunately some parents will stand aside and do nothing when their child misbehaves.  Always remember it is your child’s party and you do not want any mischievous child ruining your child’s special day.

Some children may need simply to be taken to a quiet spot to calm down before they are ready to rejoin the party.  Don’t be afraid to step up to the occasion and take charge especially if wild behaviour is the problem.  Try redirecting the naughty child to another activity, or ask that child to help you in the party organisation.

Do I need to send thank-you notes and are they really that important?
Yes and yes again.  Thank-you notes are necessary and demonstrates good social skills to your child.

When someone has taken the time to choose a gift for your child, they deserve to be thanked.  The note doesn’t have to be long or wordy.  Simply mention the gift, say something positive about it and thank the giver for coming to the party.  Ideally, the notes should be handwritten and sent within two weeks of the party.

For children who cannot print yet, you should write the note and have your child draw a picture or sign the bottom.  As ability improves, let your child write more of the note.

Getting those thank-you notes out the door requires you having a list of the guests and who gave what.  Be sure to assign this task to an adult before your child begins opening the gifts.  To make this job simpler, create a list of the guests’ names before the party, and then jot down each gift beside the giver’s name as they are opened.

Are Party Bags Expected?
They are in the UK.  Goody bags are pretty standard at children’s birthday parties. A goody bag is basically a small thank-you gift presented to each guest for attending the party. Each “favour” bag typically contains a few small toys and some sweets, maybe a balloon, pencil etc.

You do need to prepare the favour bags before the big day, and place them near the party exit.  That way they will be right where you need them as guests begin to leave.

Make a favour bag for every child attending the party, plus one or two extra in case any unconfirmed guests are suddenly able to come at the last moment. (Yes, this happens all the time.)

If a parent arrives to pick up their child and a sibling is with them, do not feel obligated to provide that sibling with a goody bag.  However, if you are asking some parents to stay during the party, be prepared for some of them to bring along other children.  In this instance, you may want to have a few extra goody bags on hand so siblings in attendance don’t feel left out.

Armed with these few birthday party etiquette tips your party should be the one everyone remembers for the right reason.

If you have any questions or comments please contact Pirate Pete.

www.piratepete.co.uk
gordondickson@talktalk.net
0141 886 2905

Finding the right children’s entertainer can be a very daunting experience for many parents. Many mums will search the internet or go through the Yellow Pages, phoning one number after another with no idea of what they really want or what kind of performer will be best for their child’s party. Also it is understandably very difficult to imagine what the show will be like from a verbal description over the phone. Many professional entertainers will do their utmost to paint a clear picture of what they do and, if they sound cheerful and enthusiastic, it is a fair bet to assume that they will deliver their performance in a similar manner.

Today an ever increasing number of Children’s Entertainers are full-time professionals who will have entertained a wide variety of children in many different situations. They will have appeared over the years everywhere from people’s homes to theatres and village halls, hotels, back gardens and even shopping centres. Their audiences will have included children of all age ranges and they will be used to audiences ranging from one or two children to many hundreds.

With this in mind it is important to listen to the entertainer’s advice regarding the best type of show for your particular situation. A big mistake for a parent is to have a fixed idea of what they want and, despite all advice to the contrary, to stick with that idea until they find someone who will do as they wish. This invariably leads to disappointment on the big day when they realise that the show is not being received as they envisaged.

While price is a major consideration for lots of people beware of allowing this to cloud your judgement. In any given location most entertainers will charge a similar fee. Rest assured they will all be aware of the average price being charged by their colleagues and the chances are that any price differences will be insignificant. With this in mind it is simply not worth basing your choice purely on price. There are of course always exceptions and you will come across one or two who are either way above or way below the average. As a general rule you do get what you pay for and don’t be afraid to ask any entertainer why their prices are so different from the rest.

Please, please to avoid disappointment always book your entertainer first before finalising your party arrangements. It is a big mistake to send out invitations or book your hall before enquiring to see if you can get your preferred entertainer for that day. The most popular time for children’s parties is weekends and if you are booking entertainment for a Saturday or Sunday be sure to do this far in advance of your preferred date.

Always remember good entertainers are always in demand and tend to get booked well in advance. This advice is doubly relevant if you are trying to engage the services of one particular entertainer who has been recommended to you or one that your child has particularly asked for.

As a general rule try and have a couple of alternative dates to hand when you are booking and remember it is never ever too early to book.

I recently received an e-mail from a prospective bride and I thought that her questions were very good and I am sure are on many girls minds when planning their important day.

Here are her e-mails and my replies. Please let me know what you think.

Dear Giggles (?)
I am looking for a magician for a wedding in Morayshire in April. I don’t know where to start. Any thoughts?
many thanks
Charlie

Hi Charlie,
First of all congratulations on your forthcoming wedding.

Magical entertainment at weddings is becoming increasingly popular.

Here are some guidelines:
1 Decide whether you need a children’s entertainer or wish the adults to be entertained, or indeed both.
2 Decide when you want your entertainment e.g. When the photos are being taken, during the meal, during the speeches or any combination of them.
3 Ask friends who they had and what their experience was. It is always better having a rock solid performer. After all it is a very special day particularly for the bride and you don’t want to take any chances.
4 Having selected a number of potentially suitable entertainers give them a phone call and speak with them. At this stage you will probably dismiss some of them because they do not “sound right” for you.
5 Don’t necessarily go for the most expensive entertainer. Find out exactly what they will do for you but definitely do not go for the cheapest. They are cheap for a reason. Like most things in this life you do get what you pay for.
6 If possible go and see your magician perform e.g. This afternoon I am performing at a wedding being held in the Equestrian Centre, Bishopton

Another point to ponder. I am sometimes asked to show the groom how to do a trick which he includes within his speech. It is so unexpected and the guests reaction is absolutely priceless.

I hope that this helps you.

Take care.
With very kind regards
Gordon

Gordon
Thank you very much for your advice. And are there other websites we could use to find potential candidates? I suppose in the absence of seeing the magician first hand a video would help – is this standard practice? Nice to see your testimonials too!

In response to your questions:

1. childrens and adults
2. during drinks at the start of the reception and possibly for the kids during the meal ie 4-8pm or thereabouts
3. will ask around!
4 5 6 work in progress!

I like the idea of a groom’s trick very much!

best wishes
Charlie

Charlie,
The big problem with web sites is that a great web site does not guarantee a great performer.

I am always amazed at the performers who can manage along to take a stand at a wedding fair. I know that I work every weekend and cannot manage along to a wedding fair so why are they NOT WORKING ??

It is like all the other people you need to arrange, the photographer, the cars, the venue etc. See a lot and don’t be in a rush to take the first one you find. Also like the other parts of a wedding arrangement you will find a wide variance of prices. My advise always is work within your budget but not to scrimp and select second best to save a few pennies. It is always false economy. Sometimes missing something out is the better alternative. For example you may want to have an entertainer, chocolate strawberries, cameras on every table for the guests to use, a creche for the very young children, fancy over-the-top favours to name but a few. All this adds up. By missing something out means you have more cash to spend on the other more important items.

Another example, you may wish an entertainer for the adults and an entertainer (either the same or a different one) for the children but all this adds up. Deciding just to entertain the children may be your priority and by missing out the adults you can use this cash saved to get a better, albeit more expensive children’s entertainer or vice versa. The longest I have done at a wedding is from 2.30pm to 9.00pm, and they would not let me go once they discovered that I also read palms, but this is unusual. Two hours is the norm.

A video will help choose an entertainer but remember no two weddings are ever the same. Please ensure that your entertainer is flexible to your needs not what suits him. This is really no different than if you were to choose a new car or piece of furniture. Some poor sales people, especially if they are on commission sell what they want to sell regardless than what the clients needs. Also remember that it is your special day and you deserve the best. Don’t take any chances which may spoil your special day. Sorry if I sound cynical but it is difficult to know who to trust these days.

A good entertainer should be able to give you lots of ideas from his experience of performing at lots of venues.

Take care and have a great wedding. Hopefully it will be your one and only wedding !!! Only joking I am sure that it will be.

As before I would like you to have a fantastic time and if there is anything you want to bounce off me feel free to go ahead.

Kind regards
Gordon

There you have it.  Thoughts that I am sure worry many future brides.  I hope that this is of use to someone.

Gordon
aka Mr Giggles / Pirate Pete
www.MrGiggles.co.uk

Does this sound familiar?

Year after year each Birthday Party gets harder and harder to plan. The demands seem to increase and the bog standard entertainer with the same old bag of tricks is simply no longer fun.

This biggest mistake parents can make is putting this off until a few months before your child’s event.  Many mums knowing the problem often book 3-6 months in advance! (We have actually been book out as far as 18 months in advance!) Start thinking about your child’s birthday party NOW.  Here are a couple of ideas that may add some spice to little “Mary’s” next big event.

1.   Audience involvement. Think about ways you can get everyone involved, perhaps an interactive game, talent show or interactive comedy magic show.  The more involved everyone gets the more fun they will have and these are terrific ways to stimulate the interaction.

Imagine your young guests not simply watching a show…but actually being a part of the show.  This is something that will create memories that will last a lifetime.  This is why Mr Giggles / Pirate Pete does not do any magic; the children  do the magic especially the Birthday child.

2.   Give them a show that will bring the group together and make them happy they are attending your child’s party.  It is  hard to beat quality entertainment to take everyone away from the same old birthday party routine. Keep in mind that the best entertainers will get booked early! Give them the best you got and watch them laugh and rave about your party for years.

3.   Give your young guests variety.  Magic and music are always fun but for something new and exciting, you cannot beat the novelty of a
variety act.  Get creative, think out of the box and bring a show or performer that will blow their minds.  Not the same old thing, but something new and exciting. Something that will make them sit up and take notice, something that will be the talk of the playground for many months to come.  That is why Mr Giggles / Pirate Pete always give lots of variety, puppets, magic, games, competitions and dancing.

4.   Give them FUN.  Everyone likes to laugh.  Give them some quality entertainment that willhave them fall down laughing out of their chairs and you will have a happy group.

It may be summer holiday time and planning your next Holiday event is uppermost on your mind but don’t forget time has a habit of flying by so plan your child’s next party NOW will insure that your child gets the best birthday party entertainment options to satisfy their needs.

Feel free contact me for any date availability.  I look forward to working with YOU this year to help ensure that your child has the best party ever.

Gordon Dickson
www.MrGiggles.co.uk

As you may know I have been seriously looking at whether I should move more towards becoming a children’s entertainer at wedding as I perceive the money to be better or, because I have picked up a couple of really good corporate gigs recently should I be chasing corporate work, again because the money is better than the birthday party market. Or should I stick with what I do at the moment.   You might find my conclusions of use in your own business.  I wish I could claim it was my idea but It is not.  

Most of us have worked for years on eliminating bad habits, often with limited success. But have you ever thought about getting rid of the “good” things in your life?  Maybe you should. Have you ever considered that maybe “good” isn’t good enough?  That maybe “good” is the enemy of “great”? 

One of the top selling business books of the past decade was “From Good to Great.”  In it, the author outlined a few key concepts that major corporations, including Microsoft, have worked very hard to implement to their credit and success. 

The core idea of the book is to only pursue those activities at which you can do great. Not Just good, but great.  The book invites us to consider the difference between the fox and the hedgehog. 

The fox is good at a lot of things. He’s quick. He’s smart. He’s adaptable to his environment.  He’s got a good sense of smell. And he’s able to make a meal out of just about anything he can catch or find.

 The hedgehog, on the other hand, doesn’t do anthing particularly well.  He’s not very fast.  He’s not known for his IQ and he’s certainly not the most charismatic of animals.

 But the hedgehog does one thing very, very well.  In fact, at this one thing, he’s great.  He can, in an instant, curl up into a nearly impregnable ball of spines. Even if the fox finds him, the hedgehog is safe and secure from attack.  And so the quick and intelligent fox is overcome by the somewhat dull yet incredibly great hedgehog.

The lesson of the hedgehog is one we should all ponder.  What is it that YOU can become GREAT at?  

We can all do a lot of things pretty well. Unfortunately, Pretty well doesn’t raise your services above the level of a commodity.  To make the kind of impact in your market that you want, we all need to identify what It is we can honestly claim as greatness.  And once you can do that, and make that clear across all our marketing, you will never have to struggle with being labeled a commodity ever again.

By the way in case you are wondering what I am going to do?  I am just going to concentrate on the birthday party market.  Client comments cannot all be wrong http://www.mrgiggles.co.uk/Birthday-Party-Reviews-%20Comments.htm 

Anything that comes from weddings and corporate work is a bonus.

Gordon Dickson also known as Mr Giggles and Pirate Pete once again wins at the Scottish Open.  Over the years Gordon has been entertaining top golfers children and wife’s at the prestigious Scottish Open Golf Tournament at Loch Lomond and his shows always win a standing ovation 

Golf can be a very stressful game especially if one putt separates you from the top price so it is great, says Gordon, to help competitors relax by knowing that their families are enjoying themselves.  

Over the years Gordon has become a familiar face at the event which is quite surprising as he doesn’t even play golf.  Not knowing anything about golf can be an advantage says Gordon.  While it is true that I am mixing with famous celebrities from all over the world of golfing to me they are just the simply the parents of my audience.  

Each golf venue becomes a small village with the top golfers going from one tournament to the next on the circuit.  Being away from home for long periods at a time means that whole families travel with dad as he goes about his work.  

I like seeing the same children year after year and to see how they have grown but it is not all plain sailing.  With children from various countries including Spain, France, Denmark not all the children speak English so I have to adapt my show to ensure that everything is very visual as well as fun.  Understanding the Americans and Australians can be fun too says Gordon tongue firmly in his cheek. 

The organisers first hired me when they found my web site www.MrGiggles.co.uk and liked the reviews they read.  With so much security surrounding the event having the right credentials and certification disclosures are very important.  At the end of the day everyone including famous golfers wants their children to have the best childhood memories possible within a safe environment.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.