N doesn’t really do birthday parties. I love children’s parties because at the moment, most parents stay which gives me a great opportunity to catch up with mums I don’t get to see at school.
But N isn’t usually a fan. So he normally refuses to go to any he’s invited to. It doesn’t even matter who the child is, it’s usually a no.
The parties he has been to since starting school (other that his own) have all been outdoor ones. One at Hatton Adventure Park, one with a farming theme (the only one he’s ever dressed up for), and another a rounders and rugby party. The latter he gave up joining in. He wasn’t the only one, but I did feel that he was being a bit antisocial just playing with other equipment rather than joining in the team sports.
This school year, he’d so far refused every party invite. I try to encourage him to go, especially with invites from his year group in the class above. I’m worried that if he doesn’t join in he’ll start to get forgotten about and will miss out on a lot of fun.
But last week he did actually go to a party. And he enjoyed it and joined in with most of it, without me having to keep bugging him to do so. When the invite arrived he wasn’t keen at first. He wanted to know what the party entailed. It was just an old fashioned traditional children’s party with party games, face painting and a chocolate fountain.
N was still wavering in agreement though. When I spoke to a friend to ask her advice about parties, she’s of the view that her children go to every party they’re invited to when possible. Whether they want to go or not. The theory is that children need to understand that sometimes we have to go to things we might not want to go to and be sociable, and that usually they’ll enjoy it once they’re there. I didn’t want to force N to go though. Because he’d probably just cling to me and not join in.
But after he agreed to go to this party and after enjoying it so much, I’m debating whether I should make him go to more of them.
The latest party was in a village hall, with lots of balloons, party games and party tea. Oh, plus a lot of boys compared with the number of girls (the joy of only 2 girls vs 16 boys in their year). The girls didn’t care – they were charging around with the boys, a couple of whom were being dragged around the floor by others who were trying to ‘save’ them from the baddies (those with their face painted).
N joined in with the rough and tumble, then also had a go at musical bumps and statues. But not musical chairs because he told me ‘I never win’. I had to remind him that he’s only played it a couple of times, and the last time he was second, only down to an adult’s decision on the winner. There were tears from some of the boys when they were out, with others wanting to be out to get a sweet! N was funny, he kept coming over and saying ‘I didn’t think you’d let me have a sweet’ because usually I don’t let him have them.
It turns out he’s quite good at musical statues because he was judged the winner. I’m astounded because usually he’s a real fidget. I love to see some competitive spirit come out even if it’s not too obvious. He was so chuffed to win.
The party tea was simple. Just sandwiches, crisps, veg sticks, grapes and cocktail sausages. They’re really easy to serve up and for the children to get their own food. The last 6th birthday party we went to there was some disgusting behaviour from a couple of children, hogging plates of food and just filling their own up with food they wouldn’t be able to eat (and the mum saying nothing about it). But this one was very sedate in comparison when it came to the food. There were no food fights, and they all sat nicely to eat.
Usually N is last to leave a tea table – he’s the one not letting the food go to waste. But this time, he had a little food but was back of playing straight afterwards.
Once the chocolate fountain came out the children swooped in. Again, I’d been expecting mess and a knocked over table, but they were largely sensible. N tried some of the chocolate with strawberries and marshmallow. But then he just ate marshmallow before rushing off to grab balloons again. Oh, and run away from a younger child who spends his time chasing N. N is never impressed but won’t tell him to stop doing it.
I have to admit that the noise level at a children’s birthday party is always loud. With all the rough play I was surprised there were no injuries. It just goes to show how well children can manage their play and level of rough, while ensuring that no-one gets trampled on or hurt.
N had a brilliant time. From being able to hit balloons against a dad and uncle there, to running around like a nutter. He didn’t even moan about the children there who he’s not usually keen on at school. It seems N is a birthday party convert. He’s already accepted the next birthday party invite to turn up (which is on his own birthday).
Do your children enjoy parties? If not, how do you encourage them to go?
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