This is the second part of a two-part feature. For part one, click here.
When planning a birthday party, consider what else is going on around that time; your child will be very disappointed if it clashes with other events and their friends can’t attend. Check school holidays, social events, and other parties happening on the same time.
Invitations should be sent out three to four weeks before the event and indicate whether you’d like the parents to stay and whether siblings are also invited. Ask to be informed of any dietary requirements the invitees might have.
Other information to include:
Venue name and address
How to RSVP (email, SMS, WeChat, call, carrier pigeon) and by what date
Party start and finish times
Venue address in Chinese for drivers and taxis
The decision on who to invite can be a tough one. If your kids are older, they will likely choose their guests themselves. Younger kids tend to play with all their classmates and kids in other classes. You could invite the whole class, which could quickly rack up the number of guests – especially if siblings are also invited. But fail to invite the whole class and you risk leaving out key friends. If you don’t want to end up inviting half the school, choose a venue that restricts the number of kids who can attend. If you’re holding a party for younger children, you may want the parents there too.
“When my son turned 6, we had a ninja-themed party and invited only six boys. It was a great party! A lot of my ideas for the day came from Pinterest.”
– Jacqueline Chen
Kids under 3:
Toddlers have a short attention span, so keep party activities short and sweet.
They may get nervous around costumes and strangers, so themes and entertainers may not be a good idea.
Child-proof the party area.
Try and organize the start time for after nap time.
Ask parents to bring high-chairs; having young ones seated together for tea makes things much easier.
Put the food out at the last minute and clear it away immediately when finished. Serve savory options before sweet.
They’ll enjoy classic games and activities but try not to make them too long or competitive. Explain the rules slowly and carefully.
These little ones love to dress up – especially as superheroes, fairies, and animals – and activities like face painting.
An entertainer may be a wasted expense; your guests are still prone to being restless and bored quickly.
Prepare a goodie bag for the birthday child; they may not understand the concept of who gets one and why.
Kids this age will need to be occupied. They have lots of energy and will want to let off steam. Aim for a balance of lively and calming activities and games.
Themed parties are popular at this age; children love to play the part of a character and will really get involved.
If the budget allows, you could hire entertainers such as clowns, magicians, and balloon artists.
Incorporate craft skills into an activity or activity “stations.”
This article originally appeared on p62-63 in the November 2014 issue of beijingkids. To view it online for free, click here. To find out how you can obtain your own copy, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos: courtesy of Jacqueline Chen and Sarah Struthers, ND Strupler (Flickr) , Scott Raymond (Flickr)