Although Toby has been going to nursery since he was 13 months old he has only ever been to one birthday party…until the last couple of weeks. Last weekend was his first soft play party, today we went to a bouncy play centre and tomorrow it’s Princesses and Superheroes in the local community centre! Toby has been having a great time with his friends but as a parent, how do I survive a preschool birthday party??
Because the boys go to private nursery there hasn’t been any dropping of or picking up a the school gates and so I haven’t really got to know any of the other parents. I did meet a few at the induction meeting for Toby’s new primary school that I went to a few weeks ago. All three of the children who are having these parties are going to the same school as Toby in September so I thought it would be good for him to go, and also an opportunity to get to know some of the school mums and dads that I’ll be sharing the school gate with for the next seven years!
Last week though was quite a struggle for me (Toby had a great time!) as all the other parents seemed to know each other and I found it difficult to try and make conversation. So in an effort to make this weekend a bit less uncomfortable I did what any mum would do in 2017 and I took to Facebook to ask some of my fellow bloggers what their top tips were for surviving a preschool birthday party, and here’s what they had to say.
There are some great suggestions to make it a bit more bearable…
Lots of coffee to nurse! (And maybe my kindle)
Stacey, Stacey in the Sticks
Chat to the other parents, you might have something in common even if it’s just hate for party bag gifts!
Jen, Just Average Jen
Use it as an excuse to chat to the other mums, it’s nice to get to know them away from the (pre)school gates! Oh and bribe your child to behave. Of course.
Fran, Whinge Whinge Wine
Ask the host if there’s anything you can do to help – dish out juice/hand out coffee/round up the kids for the cake – all good ice breakers.
Samantha, North East Family Fun
Can’t argue with you. It’s tough! Short of gluing a satanic smile on my face, I often struggle with preschool parties. Remembering that most of the other parents feel the same way provides some comfort. Good luck!
Alex, Dad F.C.
We offer to be the designated photographers usually (granted we are pros) but it usually keeps us busy and the parents all want to see the pictures afterwards. Obviously you need to check with the host that all parents are happy for their kid to be photographed but we have yet to have an issue. And it means you can get pictures of birthday kids parents with them which they might not get if they had to take photos at the party. Also if its in a play centre you’ll find me in the middle of the jungle gym or on a slide, I’m a big kid at heart!!
Chantele, Two Hearts One Roof
Wait until he starts school the parties really ramp up! It’s a great chance to see your child interacting with their friends. Plus it’s not always easy to chat to parents in the school playground. So, this is a chance to get to know them. I hate making small talk, but I really push myself and now parties are a bit easier as I can have a coffee and a chat.
Laura, Dear Bear and Beany
Fake it until you make it. Act like you are absolutely comfortable, ask the other parents questions about their kids then act like their reply (and their kid) is fascinating after a few you don’t need to act and hopefully someone will ask you something back.
Like the advice those dating gurus give but thankfully you only have to see this lot for a couple of hours every few weeks as opposed to make a life with them.
Caroline, Sprog on the Tyne
Don’t turn up late like we always do! If you’re early you can grab the best seats either in the middle of everyone so you don’t look like a lemon without a seat or if you prefer the seats on their own so you don’t have to mingle!
Heidi, Southern Mummy
A few people suggested taking something with you to do so you can look busy…
I’d just do some work on my phone if I didn’t know anyone and no one seemed interested in talking . I’ve been to a lot like this now. Now my daughter is in school there’s a party every other week!
Victoria, Lylia Rose
Take some work with you, then if it does get cliquey you can look very busy!
Victoria, Mummy Times Two
And there were quite a few people who suggested the best way to get through preschool birthday parties is just to remember they stop almost as soon as they’ve started…
Remember it doesn’t last forever! For the first couple of years at school/nursery Charlie had so many parties but they soon tail off. There is light at the end of a sweaty tunnel!
There is an age for a magic ‘drop and run’, usually at 5, when you can go home or sit in a cafe nearby. Lots of parents actually encourage it as parties with all the parents can get so stressful when they get to school and start doing bigger parties so think, ‘it’s not forever’ to help get you through.
Louise, Pink Pear Bear
Once they’re older they’re great because it’s 2 hours of free babysitting – yes I’m the mother who drops and runs! Also, if you see toys on offer stock up for presents.
Jenny, Midwife and Life
And of course there’s always the option to just not bother!
I avoid kids parties as much as humanly possible! Oh no, turns out we have plans that day…
Or if it gets really desperate…
A hip flask!
Aby, You Baby Me Mummy
Actually yesterday’s party was much better for me that last week’s – there weren’t quite as many people there so I found it a bit easier to chat to the other parents. One more to go this afternoon and then I think that might be it until the school parties start. We’re only having a party for family and close friends for Toby so at least I don’t have to endure a preschool birthday party as a host!
Do you have any other top tips for surviving a preschool birthday party? Please do leave me a comment and let me know if you have.