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birthday parties entertainer

This is a page with interesting articles, hints and tips to help make your party day special.

Do you have to invite the whole class?

There has been a debate raging over whether or not you have to invite the whole class to your child's birthday party. This isnt a problem in a private class of maybe sixteen children but a lot of state schools have double that, or in some cases joint classes bringing the numbers even higher.

I think that a lot depends on what kind of party you have, where you are holding it, and who you really want to avoid coming!

If you are looking at hosting a big party, and the fith birthday seems to be the favourite age for one, then book a children's entertainer. Hire a local hall and hold the party for two hours. Other than time for food the children's entertainer will do the rest. Most entertainers can cope with thirty children. With larger numbers the entertainer may be more limited in the activities and it might be more appropriate to have a show with a mini disco rather than a show with structured games.

A smaller party can be limited by the size of a hall, or your home or by the type of party you are holding. Craft parties and parties at venues such as Pizza Parlours may have limit on numbers.

If there are children in the class that your child doesnt play with, simply doesn't like, or knows are naughty or disruptive, then by holding a smaller party it is easy to avoid inviting them as only about half the class will be going. The problem comes when you know you have room for all thirty children but only want to invite twenty-eight. This is where tact and diplomacy come in. Not inviting these two children may not only upset them but their parents as well. No parent wants their child to be a social outcast. My suggestion is that if the child is simply unpopular, then invite them and encourage them to play with the others. If the child is known to have poor concentration or be badly behaved, then ask the parent to stay and help.

Halloween or Lights

It's that time of year when most children put on their witches and wizards outfit and trail round the streets looking for fun. Is it harmless fun, or should we look a little deeper into it and find something else for our children to do?

Where I live it seems traditional to hold a small tea party with a few games such as apple bobbing or treasure hunts. Then it's time to dress up and patrol the streets looking for pumpkins. The general advice is this. If you want to encourage callers, put a pumpkin in the window or out in your porch, then parents know where to direct the children. No pumpkin, no knock at the door.

Another nice touch is this. If a child is allowed to open the door to visitors, then its rather nice if the callers have a gift to give as well. It also cuts down on the huge amount of sweets you will be left with. It is far nicer to offer an exchange than to be part of the 'give me' culture.

An alternative to all of this is a structured party. Many churches have issues with the whole fancy dress/witches and devils thing. This year I performed at a 'Lights' party, in Croxley Gree, near Watford. It was run on similar lines to a birthday party with games dancing and magic, just no ghostly music or costumes. This way the children could play in a safe environment, stay warm and dry and still come out with a bag of sweets and in this case, a Christian message.

Making the Birthday child feel special

One of the questions I am regularly asked is, 'Will you make the birthday child feel really special?'

Of course I will. The whole point of a party is to make the birthday child feel the centre of attention. Sometimes though, the birthday child isn't so sure.

When a parent tells me that their child loves to be the centre of attention and will happily come and help me with my tricks I am always a little cautious. Often a child who is normally relaxed and happy can feel under pressure when it is their party. Having, maybe craved attention at other children's parties, once it is their own, they cave in to an expected burst of shyness. Equally I have had some very worried parents on the phone who tell me how their child will never choose to come forward and I will be lucky to get them to do anything for me, only to find them, the life and soul of the party.

Sometimes children will have been building up to their party for days or even weeks. By the time their friends arrive and the party starts, they can be exhausted, and actually too tired to enjoy the party. The party parents can also be tired. Parents have been known to be preparing for the party into the small hours of the night, and they want everything to go smoothly. Sometimes a tired or over excited birthday child can tip the balance and leave the parents feeling stressed. This in turn can mean the birthday child being reprimanded and then not in the right frame of mind to enjoy the party.
So what can we do to make sure that the birthday child gets the most out of their special day?

Let's look at the parents first. Don't hype your child up too much before the party. Let them know when the party is, and how many sleeps away but don't make it into such a big deal, that they then can't sleep. Don't leave the party as a total surprise either. It spoils the whole preparation process and I've experienced parties where the birthday child never really gets the idea that the party is for them. Particularly with shy children it is a good idea to show them the entertainer's website and any video clips you can find. This really helps with the 'settling-in ' process once the entertainer arrives.

During the party I have often noticed that the birthday child receives the least help or attention from the adults that are meant to be making their party special. Often mum is greeting guests, dad is busy with the camera and nanny and granddad are making tea. I have been to many parties where the child - who is meant to be the focus of attention, is in fact abandoned. Other children are having their noses wiped, their clothes tidied up or their fromage frais pots opened. The poor birthday child has no one to look after his or her needs. Everyone is busy. The birthday child needs a nominated adult to look after them. Someone with no other responsibilities, other than to make sure that their charge is having a good time.

For an entertainer, the first few minutes at a party are very important. I approach all the birthday children the same way. I start off very gently with them when I first arrive at a venue. I have a little chat with them and can gauge how they will react later. I always invite them to join me and help out with the magic show, but if they want to stay where they are I won't push them. I can usually still use them, but can leave them sitting in the audience. I find that using their name and repeating constantly also reassures and encourages them to join in.

If you put these ideas in place then you will have a relaxed birthday child who is ready to enjoy their special day.

Dealing with the difficult guest

I have already written about 'Who to invite to the birthday party.' Now let us look at the difficult guest. I will refer to this child as a 'he' but equally I am referring to girls as well.

Sometimes you are pressured to invite the 'difficult child' to the birthday party. If you have invited the whole class it is hard to leave one child out. It is not only the child that will notice, but the parents, and this can lead to pick-up-time tension.

The first thing to look at here, are the parents. Everyone knows whether or not their child will tow the line at a party. They know if their child is going to cling to them for two hours or run riot. It is never going to come as a surprise. So, how do they deal with problems, and how do you as the host deal with them?

The shy child is the easier one to deal with. From an entertainers point of view if they want to sit quietly on a parents lap for the whole party it isn't a great problem. In some cases a child can thoroughly enjoy themselves at this distance. A problem can arise if the parent or host decide to give this child a distraction. This usually comes in the form of food or drink, or possibly a balloon or toy to play with. This includes ipads, iphones and game consols.This is not a good thing. This sounds harsh but it reenforces their non-compliant behaviour and will discourage, rather than encourage them to join in with the others.

Equally never reward bad behaviour. In extreme cases an entertainer may ask for a child to be removed. Never reward them by feeding them. It gives totally the wrong message. Do not be fooled by crocodile tears either. If a child has been repremanded - even slightly they can burst into tears. If a host hasn't been following events, it is easy for them to take the child out and reward them, just to stop them howling.

What kind of behaviour are we talking about? It is anything that doesn't conform. When guests first arrive at a party, generally there is music playing and the children are settling in, running around or dancing with friends. This is fine, unless a child gets over excited and becomes disruptive.This is when it is time for the entertainer to gather the children and start the show.

From around the age of three children are capable of sitting in a group. Some are better at this than others. Some children won't even try to sit. These are the 'difficult' ones. They want to get up, wander around, push and shove their friends, be the centre of attention and basically not comply. A good entertainer will set ground rules very early on. This isn't a case of reading out a list of rules, but by nipping any bad behaviour in the bud straight away. If a child get up, out of turn, then they are sat straight back down again. If a child start to play with a stray balloon, then the balloon is removed, before someone else gets the same idea. It is like a game of domino's. If one falls, the rest will follow.

This will work as long as the entertainer or host is supported by the parents. I am usually referring to the child's parents, but in their abscence sometimes another parent can be very helpful. Every entertainer can tell tales of a child who has destroyed a show with the parents watching on in admiration. Some parents actually enjoy watching their child 'give the entertainer a hard time.' This isn't fair on anyone especially the birthday child.

What is the best way to deal with a difficult child? As the party host, let your entertainer know if any child has special educational needs - this is a totally different issue and will be the subject of another essay. Your entertainer will soon spot anyone likely to cause a problem. Support your entertainer. Follow their guidlines regarding not feeding the children during the show, loose balloons and other distractions. Encourage the parents to watch the show and supervise their own children. Finally, if a guest is spoiling your child's party, you have a right to stop them.

Chatty Parents

This has got to be one of the most difficult things I have to deal with.
I don’t know what it is about the birthday party show that is so different to a theatre show or film at the cinema. Yet, time and time again a show is made infinitely harder by parents who ignore the show, ignore their children and chat incessantly throughout.
The birthday parents have paid a lot of money for an entertainer. They are going want that entertainer to create life long memories for their child.  How can the entertainer do that when they are up against a sea of noise?
Twenty parents arrive at the venue with twenty children are waiting to be entertained.  That is one entertainer for 40 people.  Settling the children down for the show is the easy part.  A good entertainer should have no trouble, ‘entertaining’ the audience. The tricky part is stopping the twenty adults talking.
At the start of the show I gain everyone’s attention and I let the adults know the programme of events for the party. I also ask them to keep their chatter to a minimum or to take it outside. Once this has been said, it should be plain sailing for 50 minutes, happy attentive children and quiet adults, enjoying watching their children enjoying the show.
That is the fantasy. The reality is that parents, and this applies to dads and grandparents as well as the mums, are more interested in talking to each other than watching their children. This isn’t a problem if they take their chat elsewhere but often as not they are only a few yards from the entertainer. Adults also do not like to be reprimanded and can quickly take offence.

Imagine being the speaker at a business conference. Your attendees are listening to your speech and everything is going well.  Now add just as many workers from another department. Let them sit behind your attendees and talk amongst themselves. How easy is it to concentrate on your speech now?
If you are the booking parent and you notice all your friends talking, please take it upon yourself to ask your friends to be a little quieter if you want your child to have the best birthday experience they can.

Useful links

Sometimes you may like to add a little extra to your party, so here are some links to help you. Let us start with looking for room decorators or musicans




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