The numbers game
We have all been there! Ask your child who should be invited to the party and the list becomes seemingly endless and your initial parental enthusiasm vanishes quickly! Panic may set in and in the worst case you may start postponing the planning! So how to go about it? Let’s look at a couple of questions you should address before negotiations start with your child!
Where do you see yourself in the action? You need to review how much you and other family members want to get involved – that is before, during and after the party – as well as what is your budget.
Understand the dynamics. The Rabbit’s number proposal is from the perspective of a party organiser with hands-on experience. Aspects like choosing the right activity, understanding the group dynamic of the children, knowing the ratio of boys and girls are key to a fun party with fond long-lasting memories!
Let’s talk numbers: for parties at home, the magic number for school-aged children would be up to 8, as a positive manageable dynamic between the children is mostly guaranteed; 10 is pushing it; 12 is already too high. These numbers may seem very restrictive for some of you and therefore external locations might be more suitable, if you want to invite more kids. When renting external locations and in combination with professional child care the number can go up to 15 and in some cases more. Most locations may ask you to pay extra when the number goes above 12 children – not just because of costs but as a way of capping numbers!
Let the negotiation begin! So once you have defined (the approximate) number of guests you are comfortable with, you may start the number negotiation with your child – going through the names of all children diligently. If you end up with a number that is still above your comfort zone, propose the option of inviting some children for individual play dates with your child instead. Individual play dates foster children’s relationships greatly. Alternatively, you could suggest options to your child along the lines of: would you rather have a party of 15 kids at the zoo exploring your favourite animals or a treasure hunt in the garden with 8 kids?
School children are far more open to such alternatives than parents may think. You just need to give an authentic and genuine explanation, as to why it is not possible to invite the entire class, the best friends from kindergarten and the neighbours’ kids on top!
Remember this is your child’s party and it should take place in the right setting – which is not only defined by the location and activity but also by the number of guests!
Yours truly, The Rabbit