Image by lilli2de
The birthday of your child is the anniversary of the day your life changed forever – a celebration of one of the happiest events in your life and the achievement of making it through another 12 months with your offspring’s well-being intact.
However, idyllic birthday images of laughter and smiles can easily transform into tears, tantrums and testing of patience. No one needs to be told how unpredictable children can be at a party, especially when high on E numbers. Read on to find out how to prevent your child’s birthday becoming your worst nightmare…
I’ll scream and I’ll scream. And then I’ll scream some more…
Party competitions are all fun and games until you get one child who gets overly competitive and starts screaming because, “It’s not fair that he won!” Tantrums caused by children not getting their own way are par for the course for parents, but the issue of disciplining someone else’s child can be a minefield. Explaining the rules of fair play and bargaining with a 4 year old may not get you anywhere, but making sure they know who holds the authority should keep things calm. Having small gifts for each participant should also ensure no-one feels left out.
Slightly trickier to handle is the crying child who feels they have been abandoned by Mummy in a strange house. Feeling left alone can be terrifying so approaching with caution (and maybe cake) is a must. Try to get them involved, as kids are prone to forgetting anything when they start having fun. If all else fails, ensure you have a full list of contact details so you can reunite mother and child with minimal fuss.
When Entertainment Becomes a Child’s Worst Nightmare
You think you have everything under control: the kids are running round happily having balloon fights and the entertainer is arriving any minute. Then suddenly, all hell breaks loose. One nervous guest is screaming after being frightened to death by a popping balloon, while another child runs in in floods of tears screaming there is a monster (i.e. the hired clown) in the living room.
Children’s phobias are of course no laughing matter and therefore tricky to deal with. Playing down their (often genuine) terror can make them feel misunderstood, or even that they are making a fuss out of nothing. Settling them in a quiet room with a drink is perhaps the best way to calm them down and, as before, distractions such as games (and snacks) are always worth a shot.
It’s Not Always Just the Kids that Misbehave…
Sometimes it’s not just the children – but also the parents – who create issues which leave you stressed (and sometimes seething). Ever come across that pushy Mum who likes to judge other children’s behaviour while maintaining their own offspring (who currently has another child in a headlock) is a ‘little angel’? Expressing your opinion may be very tempting, but being confrontational is never going to end well for either party. Smiling and keeping calm is in the best interests of everyone!
To ensure a smooth celebration, the golden rule is simply to make sure you have eyes in the back of your head! Try and get other parents to remain in the house to give you support and make sure you have contact details for those who are departing. Aside from having a “nothing-can-faze-me” attitude, distractions and party bags filled with treats, there is very little else you can prepare for. At the end of the day, kids will be kids – in all their unpredictable glory!
One last thing: ensure there is a bottle of wine on hand for when it’s all over! After all, you deserve a reward for making it through alive.