Boyish Charm

Averting Birthday Party Disasters

By  | Last Updated:  

When planning a birthday party for your kid, you always want everything to be perfect. Of course, these are usually the times when Murphy’s Law decides to pop up unannounced. Although you can never be sure that everything will go off without a hitch, there are ways to ensure that major glitches don’t ruin the party for everybody attending. 

Averting Birthday Party Disasters


It all starts in the planning stages. First of all, you should always work with a company that is known for its reliability. If you are going to order something from someone, you have to make sure that they can deliver. MTD managing director Sean McPheat shares a particularly good example of company reliability on his blog. As Mr. McPheat tells it, he had ordered a Princess Castle cake from M&S’s personalized cake delivery service for his daughter’s birthday party. The cake, however, almost didn’t arrive on time due to a number of unforeseen incidents.

Fortunately, the high street retail giant still managed to come through – by shouldering extra costs amounting to $500 just to deliver a cake worth less than 15% of that number. As Mr. McPheat’s story shows, working with companies and individuals who value customer satisfaction during the planning stages can save you a lot of headaches in the long run.

What about problems that arise during the party itself, though? These will most likely center on the behavior of the birthday celebrant, his or her guests, or a particularly frazzling combination of both.

For the former, child and family therapist Wendy Young recommends nipping bad behavior in the bud immediately. You shouldn’t tolerate bad behavior, but you should also let your child know what they did wrong in a calm manner. If you’re faced with a celebrant who wants to skip to the end immediately, you can try talking to them about the order of the celebration. Let them know when they can play games, eat cake, or open gifts. Role playing will help your child understand the concept so you may want to practice it a few days before the event.

As for the latter, it generally depends on whether the misbehaving guest’s parents are present at the party or not. Generally, children under the age of five should have a parent with them. For older children without chaperones, ask their parents for a contact number.

If one of the children is misbehaving, allow the parent (if present) to handle the situation in private. If the misbehaving child is left under your care, Eileen Kennedy-Moore, a New Jersey based psychologist, suggests that you stay calm and follow the general tips on how to deal with your own child. More often than not, they’re just getting caught up in all the excitement.

Finally, taking care of a bunch of energetic children can take a lot out of one’s sails, so you may want to ask other adults to help you maintain order. Just prepare, be calm, and be ready for anything.

Stephanie Keeping

Stephanie is in love with a boy named Sam. He has taught her that it’s okay to jump first and look later, to wear a dirty shirt to the park and to decide that today is a good day to take a nap in your rubber boots. She hangs out here blogging at Spaceships and Laser Beams and at our printable party shop on Etsy.