Children’s Birthday Parties – An Adults Survival Guide

You would think, wouldn’t you, that the main aim of a Children’s Birthday Party or, for that matter, any Children’s Party, was to make sure that the “little darlings” have a lovely time.

Well, I’m going to let you into a secret,

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The primary objective of a Children’s Party is to ensure that the adults present stay alive and maintain some perceptible level of sanity and that the house the party is held in remains an insurable piece of real estate.

No matter how much money you spend on entertainment for your children’s birthday party – bouncing castles, magicians, The Rolling Stones, live elephant rides – the “little darlings” are going to prefer climbing anything that projects from the outside of your house, smothering the cat with ‘silly string’, feeding the $1700 pedigree dog play-dough or hurling sticky food at passing old aged pensioners.

The older children, those over the age of eight, will be behind the garden shed smoking your lawn clippings.

If you are unfortunate enough to have a swimming pool, the water in it will be the colour of very weak tea by the end of the festivities and you’ll have to get the hazardous waste experts in to sanitize it for you and stop it being a mortal danger to indigenous wildlife.

The most popular entertainers, at children’s parties, are the clowns. I’m sure that you’ve all heard the song “The Tears of a Clown”. That song was written by an entertainer at children’s birthday parties.

You can never hire a clown for a mid-week party as they’re all in specially set up, Mental Health Department Funded, Clown Sanatoriums receiving intensive electric shock treatment to get them ready for the next Saturday afternoon’s gig.

I feel sorry for the poor mothers who have to officiate on these perilous occasions. Hours and hours spent baking delicacies only to find that the guests prefer throwing and wearing the food rather that eating it. It would make any mother wish that she’d piled the table high with half-bricks covered with icing and hundreds and thousands.

If the party started at 2pm, by 3.45 all the mothers are huddled together in the bathroom taking turns at swigging from the gallon flagon of cooking sherry. They’re safe in the bathroom, the kids won’t want the bathroom, why should they? There’s a perfectly good swimming pool outside.

The fathers are, of course, doing their best. They’ve either gone fishing or are in the pub watching the football.

I suppose that I should, at this point, start giving you some ideas on how to stop this chaotic event turning into a full scale disaster that necessitates the mobilisation of the National Guard and all other emergency services.

Let’s have a look at a few ‘damage control’ ideas.

Firstly it is a terrific help if you, or someone close to you, has a military background.

Planning is the name of the game for these fiascos. They have to be planned, well in advance, with military precision. I wouldn’t go so far as to suggest snipers on the garage roof, but just about everything short of that.

One of the major problems is to make sure that the children’s party keeps ALL CHILDREN occupied at ALL TIMES. There must

be any lull in the proceedings.

. It was un-occupied children that caused the downfall of the Roman Empire, the Black Plague, both World Wars, Country and Western Music and the invention of the musical doorbell.

Keep them occupied! The children’s birthday party must flow like high grade lubricating oil. It is essential that as one organised activity ends, another starts. Never, ever, give the “little darlings” time to think of what they’d ‘really’ like to be doing.

Allowing children to decide what ‘they’ want to do is inviting a disaster of monumental proportions unless the orange juice has been liberally laced with valium. Your children’s party will make the American Revolution look like a casual disagreement between two three-toed sloths.

Bored children at a children’s birthday party would mean the end of civilisation as we know it. Keep them busy, give them no time to think, heaven help us all if boredom sets in.

Make a timetable, have all the weaponry required for each activity prepared and in cardboard boxes, in chronological order. For example – sack race 3.10 start – 3.20 finish – egg and spoon race 3.20.03 start and so on.

Did you notice? Only 3 seconds between events, any more than this and boredom sets in. Goldfish have a three second memory span, children, at children’s parties, have a three second ‘un-occupied quiet time’ span. Any longer than three seconds and, well, you get the idea…..

You can give each of the children an empty cardboard box to take home with them. Just tell them it’s a special present. This saves a lot on cleaning up after the party.

Military planning is also required when it comes to setting up the area for this funfest.

No, not the kind of military planning that goes on in the White House, REAL military planning.

Make sure that the food area is well away from the activity area otherwise the food area WILL BECOME the activity area.

If you have neighbours, make sure that the area is well secured. It is not good for future relations, or the value of the real estate, to have hordes of un-leashed, sugar filled little children carrying out an unrestrained rampage through the neighbouring properties. The street will look like Baghdad in three minutes flat.

Electrified razor wire immediately springs to mind, or half a dozen hungry Rottweilers, but maybe your local hardware store doesn’t stock that sort of child restraint. After all, not everybody lives in Texas.

We now come to the food. I’ve always found it a good idea to make everything ‘individual and soft’. Portion control eliminates arguments and soft foods eliminate the need for sharp objects at the table. Children arguing and sharp objects are not an especially healthy combination.

More substantial food should be limited to things like French Fries, hot dogs and other finger food. I call this ‘delayed action’ food. The children love it and manage to eat five times their daily recommended calorie intake in one afternoon. It’s not until they get home, happy, but tired, do they throw up all over the Ikea.

When serving the refreshments at a children’s birthday party, it’s always a good idea to cover the surrounding area, say 500 square meters, with industrial strength plastic. Just in case of spillages. Little fingers can be clumsy fingers.

It is a golden rule at children’s parties, that one of the “little darlings” will actually be a real brat. He/she won’t join in with anything and will generally leave you at a loose end about what to do. Some people suggest keeping a few colouring books or videos handy, just for this sort of emergency.

Personally, I find handcuffing the little terror to the washing machine and then closing the sound-proofed laundry door to be the most effective method of dealing with the situation. However, each to his own.

To re-cap. Keep them occupied, soft food in individual portions, Rottweilers, colouring books (or handcuffs) and plenty of mind numbing games and activities.

Oh, one last thing. If you’re looking to be absolutely secure and trouble free, you will find the telephone number of your local chapter of the Hell’s Angels in the yellow pages.