Birthday parties can be so fun and delightful for children, and a wonderful way to store up good memories. You may be surprised to know that it might take a lot of preparation to get there.
What should you keep in mind while planning a birthday party at your child’s preschool?
When should you notify the childcare centre teachers?
Generally, it is wise to give them at very least a week’s notice – and at best, a couple of weeks. After all, they will have lessons planned well in advance, and may have certain special programmes or preschool classes that have a fixed timing, or even other birthday celebrations to work around.
Minimise any logistical issues for your children’s kindergarten teachers by giving them plenty of advance notice. Generally, they will need to know what time you plan to come down, and how long you think you will take. Some schools may have protocols to follow, and if it is your first time holding a birthday celebration in school, it would be best to check in with your children’s teachers to find out if there is anything you need to do beforehand.
During the celebration, be mindful to stick to the time limits you have been given, and don’t forget to thank the teachers. Make sure to clear all extra cake, utensils and decorations so that the teachers are not burdened with extra chores while having to care for the children.
Choosing a cake for your child’s preschool birthday celebration
Many parents may think that the most difficult part of the celebration is looking for the perfect birthday cake for their child. After all, many children have specific interests – a certain cartoon or movie character, for example, or a favourite colour palette, meaning that parents go to great lengths to look for a bakery that can produce their ideal cake.
However, do keep in mind that the cake will also be consumed by your child’s classmates. Just as with any other party snacks you might want to bring in, your cake would need to conform to the school’s dietary restrictions. Does the cake need to come from a halal-certified bakery? Does anyone in your child’s class have an allergy that needs to be catered for (e.g. nut allergies can be very serious)?
Once you have the basic requirements ticked off, you can then proceed to shortlist your favourite bakeries, flavours and colours!
Not all schools will have the refrigerator space to accommodate a birthday cake before the celebration, so plan your day carefully to allow for perfect timing.
What can I put into the goodie bag?
Goodie bags are a tried and tested custom in most preschools in Singapore.
It is a great way for the birthday boy or girl to demonstrate generosity and give presents to their friends instead of simply receiving gifts. Many children really love having a hand in selecting the items that go into their goodie bags as well, and this can be a lovely way for parents to build up some birthday excitement and allow the fun to stretch out over a few weeks prior to the actual celebration.
However, as always, do not forget to check in with the teachers. Some schools do not allow goodie bags as they are mindful that not everyone can afford to give out bags of treats to every classmate. There may also be limitations on the items that can go into the treat bags. There are schools which restrict giving of unhealthy snacks or snack foods with ingredients that are highly allergenic.
If you are able to pack a goodie bag, consider filling them with useful items rather than frivolous ones. Think of travel packs of crayons or colour pencils, reusable cutlery, books, or lunchboxes.
If you have a good memory, try not to repeat items that may have turned up in previous classmates’ goodie bags. An easy tip to remember is to give out items that you would be happy for your own child to receive. A second tip to remember is that these items do not have to be expensive.
Daiso is a great place to look for treat bag fillers!
How can I make sure my child enjoys the celebration?
You would think that children would be excited to celebrate their birthdays in school. In fact, most children are simply thrilled in the run-up to the event.
On the actual day, it can be very shocking for parents to see their children look downcast and upset, or even break into tears. Of course, we want our kids to enjoy themselves (and take some lovely pictures to remind themselves of the happy occasion).
Children often act up or get upset during birthday celebrations because it can be very overstimulating for them. The concentrated attention can be very overwhelming for them. Imagine a whole group of people staring at you while others are calling for you to smile and look at the camera. Even as adults, we often feel shy or awkward when everyone is singing the birthday song, with nowhere else to look at but the cake.
This is amplified for small children. If you know your child is uncomfortable with prolonged attention, remember to prepare them well beforehand by running through what will happen on the day itself. Talk through the other birthday experiences they have had and remind them about what other parties were like. You may wish to have a different setup for your sensitive child, such as everyone sitting in a circle, to minimise the pressure on your little one.
Usually, the teachers will help to mind the other children’s behaviour, such as reminding them not to blow out their friend’s candles and encouraging them to wait their turn for cake.
All in all, while it may seem like just a short birthday party, there will be some deft logistical planning going into it to make it a seamless, fun one for your child – but it will all be worth it!
Written by Danielle Hee
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