Do we have a party with friends or just family?
If friends then how many? Just a few friends or the whole class?
If the latter, what to do to keep 30+ kids entertained and still keep some form of control?
Should the adults be invited too?
What about catering and of course the goodie bag?
The options are overwhelming! So much organisation and thought required. Who has time to do any real work?
After bouncing around a few ideas we finally settled on the idea of hiring a cinema screen for 30 or so kids and 25 adults. This was not particularly cheap, but as our son is in a new school this year, we thought we would invest in our integration efforts. You can't put a price tag on that, can you?
Our SWOT analysis of our party strategy yielded the following:
- Joint birthday party for both of the kids- hence cost and time efficiencies
- An inclusive move to bring the whole class together rather than encouraging silos
- Something a little outside the box- demonstrating innovation
- Something the adults might enjoy too- increased goodwill with the parents
- The cinema staff would actually be doing most of the work- outsourcing
Our 4-year old got to invite just two friends as we would not have been able to cope with a cinema full of nursery-aged kids! Our risk assessment concluded that she was too young to realise/care.
- To get to know the kids and their parents better
- To demonstrate that the New Boy has friends and family who love him very much
With a bit of luck, we'd be seated for 1.5 hours in blissful silence, except for the movie of course, but this was clearly a high risk strategy. The main dilemma to mitigate against the above was the decision: What movie?! If it was too new and popular we'd run the risk that many would have already seen it. Boredom would then set in and popcorn fights would soon follow. It couldn't be too old as they might not appreciate the standard. It also had to cater for 4-year olds, 7-year olds and adults alike. After extensive trailer research, we settled on Garfield! It was made in 2004 (ie prehistoric for those born in 2009 and 2012) so it was doubtful any of the kids had seen it. It looked funny and all kids like animals and all kids like a bit of naughtiness (or is that just mine?!) so it looked perfect.
Once our strategy was sorted, the other pieces of the puzzle fell into place, including Garfield-themed goodie bags. And you know what? Our ultimate measure of success: The kids WERE quiet. Perfectly quiet for 1.5 hours. Once again, the old saying "Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance" was proven to be true. And we can now go on party vacation for another year.
N.B. This blog first appeared here: http://www.cityparents.co.uk/Blog/Cityfathers/379.htm on 20 March 2016