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Kids party

(26 Posts)
lenaw Mon 23-Jul-07 14:39:28

I am posting it here as I don't know where else to fit it!
My 4 y.o. dd attended a birthday party last Saturday. Now she wants a perty for her birthday as well.
As I am a foreigner, I would like some help with understanding 'party code' here.
1. Is it normal to shove presents away without opening them? My dd was really looking forward to her friend opening the present as my dd chose it herself.
2. Is it normal to invite not your child's friends, but parents' friends and their kids no matter what age they are? I think there is a huge gap between 4 y.o. and 8-12 y.o.?
3. What's the best number of guests? Is 3 dozens normal?
4. Is it normal to dress 4-5 y.o. girls in boob tubes, low-rise pants and heels?
5. Can I have fancy dress party? Can I state on the invitation, for example, 'under the sea party'?
6. Can I have fruit and home made cakes?
7. What's the best time for the party? I've noticed after 2 hours smaller kids started to look exhausted - but the host had to stay on and fallen asleep. Can I put start and end time on the invitation, say 2.30 - 4.30 pm?
7. What should be acceptable average price for the party bag - the one that a guest would take home with her/him? OK, the cheapest?
8. Any general advice will be much appreciated!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Many thanks

southeastastra Mon 23-Jul-07 14:42:31

1. probably but let her open them is she wants to - it's her party so up to her!
2. again, up to you - we invite all family, friends with children.
3. three dozen is alot, some parents invite the whole class.
4. no
5. yes!
6. yes!
7. never do them myself
8. have fun and don't worry about what the other parents do.

flack Mon 23-Jul-07 14:47:14

I'm also a foreigner living in UK.

1 Normal to open presents at home, after party guests have left.
2, 3. Invite who and as many (or few) as you want -- I'd invite only my child's friends.
4 Won't comment on how other people dress their DC, but end of the day, 4yos Don't Have Boobs, so what's it matter if child chooses their own look and Bratz is it?
5., 6., 7a. Yes.
7b. Up to you -- You could even be radical and not do a party bag at all!! Hand out some cake and a lolly as they leave instead (or whatever). MN has plenty in archives on this subject.

8. It's a party for your child to enjoy, run it how you think they would enjoy it.

titchy Mon 23-Jul-07 14:51:10

1. Yes
2. Up to you - I personally only invite class mates plus 2 or 3 of dc's friends from outside school/nursery. As a family we'll do something seperate to celebrate that doesn't involve hundreds of horrible kids. We then might invite along close family friends
3. 30+ can be normal, but then again 10-20 also normal.
4. Good God no
5.Yes - but maybe something a little less specific. Lots of hassle if parents have to buy something specially so do something more general like princesses and pirates cos every kid's got something that'll do for that theme.
6. Yes fuit, sandwiches, homemade cake, crisps is pretty standrd party fare. Nothing with nuts in though...
7. I spend no more than £1.50, you can get away with £1 for young kids. Ballon, pencil, rubber, a few cheap sweets, or buy them each a small book (The Book People often do sets of 10 books for £10).
8. Get someone else to do it for you! Have it at a soft play centre, farm, pizza restaurant etc. If at home limit number of guests to 10 max unless you have a huge house and lots of nannies or au pairs.
Make sure you have bottle of wine to drink once party over. make sure when you open presents you make a list of who has bought what for thank you cards.

hockeypuck Mon 23-Jul-07 14:52:41

1. We dont open the presents during the party because things get lost, you cant remember who to thank for what and some gifts are more private (everyone pays different amounts for gifts and I'd hate anyone to feel worried about what people thought of their present)
2. I've been to a few parties like that, but dont like the older children around the little ones so much. Personally I invite friends her own age from school, church, ballet etc.
3. Depends on the age - it is quite popular in reception and year one to invite the 30 in the class, but also perfectly acceptable to have say 6-8 children at a party in the house
4. Unfortunately it happens a lot, hate it and dont dress my dd like that
5. Yes just state a theme on the invitation, DD has had a dress up disco, a hawaiian party and a Under the Sea party
6. Yes parents are happy to put a few bits of fruit/veg sticks on a plate so its not a total junk fest. I always make DC's main cakes myself but tend to buy the little cup cake things to save time.
7. 1 and a half or 2 hours is normal for ages up to about 7.
8. Asda/Tesco do great party bag stuff and you can get the bag, a balloon a couple of cheap toys and small sweets etc for about 60-70p a bag.

But dont feel pressured to do anything you dont want to do, have the party you and your DCs want, not what other people want and try to enjoy it!

TwoToTango Mon 23-Jul-07 14:54:18

1. depends. A lot of the parties my DS goes to are at the weekend so normally not the date of the actual birthday so most times pressies are put in a bag and taken home to open. If it is a party at the childs house I find a couple get opened but the child is usually so exited playing games etc.
2. Again depends - most of our friends have much older children and most 10-12 year olds don't want to go to a 5 yo's party. Again different if its at home.
3. 3 dozen is loads! At my DS party and most of his friends ones they are at leisure centres, soft play etc so usually maximum of 15. Occasional someone hires a hall and invites the whole class (IME 15 hyper 5/6 year olds is more than enough)
4. No - not if I have anything to do with it!
5. Yes fine.
6. Yes.
7. 2 hours is definately enough - yes always put an end time.
7. Tesco/Asda/Wilkinsons sell cheap party bags and stuff to go in them. Poundland for big bags of sweets/lollies
8. Enjoy yourself, remember its your DD party and what she wants is the most important and be glad its only once a year

Sorry if thats a bit long

stealthsquiggle Mon 23-Jul-07 14:55:56

1. Yes - and for good reasons IMHO as it stops presents being "compared" although I understand wht your DD was disappointed
2. Varies. For me DC's friends take priority, if you can face more on top then our friends children as well
3. 36 is a lot. As many or as few as you can face. Harder once they are in school as it can often be the done thing to invite the whole class (esp if the class is relatively small)
4. No. But each to their own
5. Yes, but probably polite to make fancy dress optional
6. Of course
7a. 2 hours is enough at that age IMO
7b. As little or as much as you want to spend. I prefer to buy one slightly bigger thing (small cuddly toys last year) if possible themed with the party, rather than lots of tat which gets thrown away.
8. Plan but don't overplan - the most important thing with 4yo's is probably space for them to riot.

Thelittlesoldiersmummy Mon 23-Jul-07 15:01:36

1. We has a table for pressies and didnt open them at the party so would say NORMAL
2. Up to you i had a mix 10 or my DS friends then family
3. i would say 36 kids is loads we had 19 at my DS and that was about right!
4. How horrid! No
5. Yes my sister did a disney ball for her DD and it was brilliant!
6. Yes so much nicer!
7. We had our DS at 12 - 2.00 as they were 3-8 and wanted them to have lunch at a normal time 3 hours is plenty!
7a. We went for a book (got a load of Mr men cheap at car boot) a ballon, some bubbles, Pack of Smarties and pack of raisins.
8. best bet is to structure the party so you keep them going ! good luck

lenaw Mon 23-Jul-07 15:01:38

Thank you very much everybody! I'm getting less stressed thinking about it now.
I wouldn't dream of having party in our house - it's totallu tiny with no outside space, so I was thinking our Sure Start where my dd's going to the nursery. I'd probably invite her buddies from the nursery only - about 15 of them, but with any luck some of them might be away on holidays.
Any tips for party games apart from 'pass the parsel' and pinata (?) thingy?

MintChocChippyMinton Mon 23-Jul-07 15:03:01

1. It's normal, but i don't like it. As we have small parties at home i make time for present opening just before home time. The children do enjoy seeing presents opened.
2. We have the birthday child's friends for a children's party. Other friends/relatives later or on actual birthday.
3. Max 14 including my DC (at home)
4. Not amongst my DC's friends.
5. Yes, but keep it simple.
6. Yes
7. I prefer a morning, say 11 - 1. Get them while they are fresh, and with an appetite for lunch.
8. Do what makes you and your DC happy. Make up your own traditions.

cece Mon 23-Jul-07 15:04:15

1. Yes most parties we've been to do this - usually not enough time to open them all...
2. Younger children parents tend to invite their friends, family and the children so lots of ages. Once in school tends to be mainly school friends.
3. Depends on venue - at home no more than 8-10, in hall, soft play etc then more.
4. No not in my social circle.
5. Yes and yes if that is what you and DD want to do.
6. Yes
7. I would say hour and half enough for 4 year olds. I try to time them so they are eating about a meal time anyway, so say 11 - 12.30
7. They are not obligatory. But a cheap one will be fine - the kids won't notice.
8. Be prepared, as quite a few parents do not reply to say whether they can come or not so be prepared to chase them up - maybe a reason parents invite their friends rather than their child's friends! LOL

MintChocChippyMinton Mon 23-Jul-07 15:05:37

sorry, forgot the party bag Q. Plain bags to be decorated by child. Fill up with little sweets and prizes from the games (cheap pencils, stickers), put in a bit of cake, hand out balloon from the decorations.

titchy Mon 23-Jul-07 15:12:19

Musical bumps, musical statues, duck duck goose, musical chairs (maybe use small mats on the floor for little ones), highest jumping competion, sleeping lions, pin the tail on the donkey all good games for young ones. Also nursery rhymes, singing etc

stealthsquiggle Mon 23-Jul-07 15:14:54

OK, in the category of "things you always wanted to ask but never dared"

How on earth do you play Duck Duck Goose? I don't remember it from my childhood, have never seen it played, and DS can't explain it to me...

TwoToTango Mon 23-Jul-07 15:18:30

I think duck duck goose is when everyone sits in a circle and one child walks round the outside of the circle taping everyones head and saying duck, duck .... and whoever they goose too has to chase them back to their space.

newgirl Mon 23-Jul-07 19:50:03

well im not a foreigner and our parties are nothing like the one you described

i think you move in very dodgy circles - we aren't all like that in the uk im afraid

in fact i have never been to a party like it!!

filchthemildmanneredjanitor Mon 23-Jul-07 19:54:05

what are the parties you go to like then?

Hulababy Mon 23-Jul-07 19:58:09

1. Is it normal to shove presents away without opening them?

Yes, pretty normal Stops things being lost if there are a lot of guests about, and means you can find out who sent what more easily for the thank you letters. Can also save embarrassment if duplicate presnts, or something your child already has/doesn't like!

2. Is it normal to invite not your child's friends, but parents' friends and their kids no matter what age they are? I think there is a huge gap between 4 y.o. and 8-12 y.o.?

Depends on type of party. DD is 5yo and at the moment she invites her friends. Some of these are school friends (there are 14 in class so whole calss invites), others are family friends. These children tend to be aged 0-6/7 years at the moment. We currently use DD's birthdays as away to get together with our family friends to an extent. Works well for us.

3. What's the best number of guests? Is 3 dozens normal?

DD has have 20-25 approximately last 3 years. See above how it adds up.

4. Is it normal to dress 4-5 y.o. girls in boob tubes, low-rise pants and heels?

Definitely not in my experience. More like princess and fairy dresses, or pretty party dresses.

5. Can I have fancy dress party? Can I state on the invitation, for example, 'under the sea party'?

Definitely. Just don't make it too specific as parents might be reluctant even if the children love it!

6. Can I have fruit and home made cakes?

Yes. I always have bags of carrot/pepper and cucumber sticks in the party food boxes, and grapes and raisins. This year DD's cake was homemade. There has always been homemade cakes for staying grown ups, courtesy of my sister.

7. What's the best time for the party? I've noticed after 2 hours smaller kids started to look exhausted - but the host had to stay on and fallen asleep. Can I put start and end time on the invitation, say 2.30 - 4.30 pm?

2 hours is the norm here for 5yo. We normally do about 3-5pm

7. What should be acceptable average price for the party bag - the one that a guest would take home with her/him? OK, the cheapest?

About £1 generally, less if I can get some bargains! The Book People are good for value priced book sets to share out.

8. Any general advice will be much appreciated!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Have fun!

pointydog Mon 23-Jul-07 20:10:16

lol @ 4 and 6.

How refreshing to see parties through a foreigners' eyes

SoccorMom Mon 23-Jul-07 20:10:21

I've never let my DS open his presents until he gets home because otherwise they would be a tremendous distraction. Imagine the scene: a table full of brand new toys that are all yours and being told by mum not to touch them until later!

Othewise, I say invire who the hell you like, have the party wherever you want to and don't bankrupt yourself.

Good luck with it.

Jay77 Thu 26-Jul-07 23:27:28

I've had enough of sorting all that out myself.. last year we had a clown which was ok but this year my daughter was intent on having face painting for her party and that did turn out to be a great move, all of the girls absolutely loved it. I hired a face painter from
www.snapdragon-facepainting.co.uk
which I have to say I was very impressed by and would recommend. But who doesn't long for those bygone days of jelly and ice cream though ...

Leati Thu 26-Jul-07 23:31:10

Who cares what is "normal," do what is right for your child.

Leati Thu 26-Jul-07 23:32:02

Oooh and have fun with it, maybe you will come up with great ideas that the other parents never considered.

paulaplumpbottom Thu 26-Jul-07 23:38:17

1. This does seem to be the case sometimes in this country, and I am not a fan.

2. I think a mixture of both is nice, the older kids are usually a big help in rounding up the little ones ,etc

3. No more than twenty no less than 10

4. No this is so tasteless, I don't know who lets their kids do this

5. Yes I think thats a great idea

6. yes

7. No more than two hours and yes you can state it in the invite, most people will adhere to this

8. I spend around £10 per bag, but some people find this excessive, but I don't put in plastic toys and the sweets are of a high quality, you could probably do them for two or three pounds a piece, you could also do a small wrapped gift such as a book or jelly mold instead

9.Make sure you do thank you notes,
I lawys take loads of pictures at my DD's parties and get double prints when developed. I then send these in the thank you cards so the kids have something to remember the day by

Jay77 Thu 26-Jul-07 23:43:19

I think it's for the london area, here's the link anyway http://www.snapdragon-facepainting.co.uk

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