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The Kid’s Party Survival Guide
Fatherhood Fatherhood
The Kid’s Party Survival Guide
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Fatherhood Fatherhood
The Kid’s Party Survival Guide
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When I was young, birthday parties consisted of jumping around my friend’s house, necking gallons of Panda Cola without a grown-up noticing and rounding it all off with a game of musical chairs… great times my late teens.

Anyway, with my daughter fast approaching her fifth birthday (hashtag: where did my baby go!!!) and having attended multiple kids’ parties in recent times, I’m aware just how different parties are now.

Nowadays, every classmate is invited to ensure no one gets upset (parents, not the kids – nothing worse than an evil at the school gates), siblings of the classmates, extended family and any other poor soul dragged along to tuck into the canapés. And that brings me on nicely to the catering. These days it’s platters of stylish finger food for the adults and healthy lunchboxes for the kids.

“What happened to a bowl of cocktail sausages and a bag of Space Raiders?”
What happened to a bowl of cocktail sausages and a bag of Space Raiders? Then there’s the entertainment; balloons and a game of pass-the-parcel won’t cut the gluten free mustard these days. Now, parties must be in a hired venue, with a bouncy castle, an array of soft play, an Anna from Frozen impersonator and even a Spotify playlist. Party bags no longer simply contain cake, some candy sticks that you’d pretend were cigarettes and a tattoo transfer, no, these days kids leave with half of Tiger spilling out of a personalised paper bag (probably emblazoned with the party’s hashtag – yes, a hashtag!)

This all needs extensive planning, huge effort and some serious cash. But why are we doing it? Is it for the kids? Yes, of course, but kids are happy with the simplest of pleasures rather than extravagance and pomp. So, are we doing it for ourselves to ensure we keep up with Instagram’s Joneses and those at the school gate? Maybe. We’re under so much pressure to broadcast our apparent brilliant lives, but perhaps a child’s birthday party is one of those events that needn’t be dictated by expectations we feel obliged by. I don’t believe a child needs a hall of fancy food and impressive inflatables. Instead, perhaps all they really want is some quality time with their closest friends, a game of musical chairs and some Panda Cola to neck – simpler parties, simpler pleasures but still happy children. Ok, scrap the Panda Cola, that’s one good thing to come from a modern-day kid’s party.

Jamie Day
@adayinthelifedad
Editor @FatherInc, Contributor @BritishGQ, Columnist @LittleLondonMagazine
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