Saturday, 18 October 2014

Feeling the pressure- the cost of children's parties

When we lived in Todmorden, Seren's birthdays were celebrated with a tea party.
By the we moved to Wales and Seren started school, it became apparent classmates were all invited to celebrate the special day, and Seren had one party at a local venue and another at a softplay.
With March seemingly on the horizon, Seren has great plans for her 6th birthday, which seem to now be based on a select group of friends.

The expense of parties astounds me, and the reality is that whether it be a party for all the classmates or select few, the reality is the costs don't really change- the expectations just grow.

So, when GrowingUpMilkInfo.com shared their latest research, revealing that the average budget for a fabulous first-birthday bash is less than £114, as most UK parents choose to celebrate the milestone event with close-knit family (70%), over a bigger bash with extended family (33.44%) and friends (41%), I wasn't surprised- we tried to start small.

And as the research shows, making me one of four, four in ten mums (42%) feel there is more pressure on them than their parents' generation to throw a memorable party, and nearly half (46%) say they would be embarrassed if guests didn't have a good time.

So, my mission is to try and consider if I can become one of the thrifty parents who spend less than a tenner per head.
I like to think saving money by hosting one party for two children increases my odds!

And if you're interesting in some helpful tips, which may increase the odds of staying within a budget, I liked the ones GrowingUpMilkInfo.com provided from Celebrity Party Planner, Steven Duggen:

· There are many ways to achieve a stunning look at home for your toddler's party. It is important to decorate smart, for example, using recyclable products from your home and making interesting hanging features! When hanging, make sure your craft pieces are out of reach of little fingers

· The classic blue for a boy and pink for a girl has now developed into pale greens, yellows and other pastel tones to set a certain theme or 'look'

· Popular hired entertainment includes clay making, balloon modellers and face painting but something you can do at home is to have colouring competitions, cupcake decorating and decoration-making

· For the more lavish or elegant settings you wish to create, the use of a few fun props to hire, coloured wall up-lighting and even tall jungle trees will help to get a great atmosphere within the space. Themes are also impactful. You can choose anything from Alice in Wonderland, to Aladdin, to a Circus party and still be able to create the setting for less by being a little more creative

· The idea is to create a theme that is fun, as busy and detailed as possible, while using art supplies and items from around the house

· Soft play areas and mini ball pits are also very popular for the younger ones. Again you can have an entire floor of soft play and soft shapes to ensure they are safe.'
The Birthday Spread

First birthday menus include all time favourites, such as cocktail sausages and sausage rolls (63%), crisps (54%), sandwiches (53%) and pizza (44%), as well as healthy alternatives, like fruit (40%) and vegetable sticks (39%), and even sushi (2%).

Leading child nutritionist, Dr Carrie Ruxton comments: "The first birthday celebration is a wonderful time. It's a way to celebrate what is a milestone age and reflect on just how fast your little one is growing. Soon enough they'll be a fully-fledged toddler! They are walking, talking and growing into their very own person. As a result, they need to be fuelled with the right vitamins and minerals to encourage this healthy growth and development.

"Toddlers have specific nutrition requirements, however, that's not to say you should leave out the jelly, cake and ice cream at the first birthday party! But it is something important to think about as your child enters this new stage. Along with a healthy balanced diet, one way to help toddlers top-up with essential vitamins and nutrients such as vitamin D, omega 3, iron and fibre, is to serve two beakers of Growing Up Milk a day to support their growth and development."

Disclosure: This information is brought to you in my role as a Growing Up Milk Info Mum not least because I am planning Tom & Seb's 4th birthday party and thought it useful for keeping things in perspective.

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