Birthday parties are slightly different from when I was a child. A party in the late 1980s to early 1990s usually involved a few friends from school coming to your house, some cakes, sandwiches and crisps, a few party games and the bumps - remember the bumps?! There may have been a bit of dancing to the locomotion and then everyone went home with a party bag.
Since having children of my own and throwing a few parties in my own home (which is very small by the way) I have realised it is pretty stressful. We've ended up with a broken bed, a smashed money box and someone getting kicked in the face (don't ask) apparently it was the BEST party ever! However, I needed a lie down afterwards and spent the entire evening clearing up the mess!
So, what have I come to learn from all of this? Sometimes when you are trying to plan amazing children's parties it is best to leave the hard work to some professional entertainers and maybe hire a local hall. This takes away a lot of the stress and also the worry of having a bunch of crazy small people in your home.
We've all done that inevitable first birthday party - feeling all excited about seeing our little one enjoying themselves with their little friends from baby groups. From experience my daughter cried throughout the party and promptly fell asleep afterwards. These parties tend to be more for us as parents to mark the occasion - whereas at the age of 3 they will probably get much more enjoyment out of having a party.
Younger children need to be kept entertained otherwise they will just spend the entire time running riot, so an entertainer who can do a few tricks and games and get the children involved is a great idea. Young children usually enjoy dressing up so Superheroes or Princesses are often good themes to run with. Don't spend a fortune on fancy decorations and balloons - I have done this before, I spent all night making Harry Potter themed broomstick party bags and "eat me" labels which all ended up getting ripped apart. Kids really aren't bothered, a few balloons for them to kick about usually does the trick and some streamers - they are more interested in the games.
Older children tend to love a bit of music so hiring a DJ for a dance party is totally worth it. We have been to some brilliant discos, with lights, smoke machines, dance offs and even foam! Lay out a table of simple food like pizza, nachos and dips and some cupcakes and you'll have a bunch of happy tweens.
My eldest is turning 12 next month - I think her ideal party would involve a disco followed by a sleepover with some of her best friends.
Do you remember your favourite party as a child?