What if Your Entertainer Can’t Make it (part 2)

Professional entertainers go to enormous lengths to attend a function as booked, however things can go wrong.

 Only recently, I came to a railway level crossing that I have used hundreds of times before with no problems, but this time was different.

 There was a long line of cars on both sides of the crossing and some drivers were already turning around and going back the way they had come.   I sat there for almost 15 minutes and nothing happened.  Fortunately I was early and so had a few spare minutes.  I rang the booker to let her know that there was a possibility that I could be late.  Eventually I turned around and retraced my steps and took a different route.  To this day I don’t know what the problem was, but the point is, I could so easily have been late for a booking through no fault of my own.

 So what to do if you get a call from your entertainer to say they cannot attend?

 First of all, don’t panic.

I know that’s easy to say, but what if  you have thirty or more children about to descend on you or worse still, they may already be there!

 If the performer is only going to be a few minutes late, it is not much of a problem.

Most people could cover for a small amount of time.  As a last resort, you could let the children eat first for example.

 If the entertainer calls to say he cannot come at all, ask him if he knows of anyone else who may be free. If it is a busy time of year, it might be a slim hope, but worth a try.

Assuming you have at least an hour or two, look in your local Yellow Pages and your local Thompson Directory. Get someone to help call round, you could tackle half and your husband could do half on his mobile, for example.

 If you still have no joy, you need to work out how you are going to fill in the time at the party. If you have a number of parents who will be staying, get them to help you out.

Let’s assume that your party is to last two hours. Incidentally two hours is more than long enough for any party, this is one time where less is more, especially for younger children. 

Think of any party games you know and make a list.  If you don’t know many games, ask your child what they like to play.  I will post some of the more popular games in part three of this post.  Have a written list of what you are going to do, don’t try and keep it in your head.  In the stress of running the game you will forget what you are doing.

When running games, it is important to be impartial, don’t give in to any pleas or cajoling from any child, remember they are experts at getting their own way!  It is your party and (nicely) make sure you let everyone know YOU are in charge. What YOU say goes.  If possible don’t use games where children are out.  It is not a good idea to have little boys sitting on the edges of a game with nothing to do.  They will make their own amusements, usually involving wrestling or running around your hall or sitting room!   

So, back to our two hour timetable.  Let’s assume your party is 12 noon to 2.00pm.   

We can break it down into the following segments:  

12 – 12.10       Children arrive, coats are taken and parents kissed and said hello to. Have some soft music playing while people are arriving.  Try not to have music that is very upbeat and loud because, believe it or not, it can affect the children’s behaviour.  

12.10   Take group photos, especially if the children are in fancy dress.  

12.15   First Game.  This should be a simple game that anyone can join in if they are late arrivals, e.g. Musical Bumps.  (Don’t use musical statues at this stage, it is a very popular game and is best saved for later, unless you intend to play it twice). Keep this game short.  If anyone does not want to join in, don’t make a big deal of it, but don’t let them do anything other than sit still on the sidelines.  They will see the other children enjoying themselves and slowly start to edge forward, they might even end up as the noisiest child at the party!  

12.20 Second Musical game.   

12.25   . Quiet sitting down game, to let the children calm down.  You could choose a guessing game for example, or a variation of Kims Game.  I will give details of this and other games in part 3.  This is a fun game which children enjoy. It can also last for quite a long time. Combine this with something like ‘I Spy’ or Chinese Whispers to extend the time even more.   

12.40 Serve the Food, it might seem obvious but try not to put the sweet items out on the table first. As a general rule of thumb, start with the savoury things and when the children have almost finished polishing them off, put the cakes out. So many times, parents (or more often parents of the guests) put the cakes out too early and as a result the sandwiches and mini-sausages get wasted. Jelly and ice cream should always be served last. Usually after Happy Birthday has been sung, the cake is cut and wrapped for children to take home. However it is up to you and if you want to extend the food time a bit you could serve it at table.

1.10 Toilet Party!

1.20  If you are having the party at home, you could put on a favourite video for the children to watch, or you or a parent could read a story. This will give chance for the food to settle before doing another more boisterous game.  

1.35  Musical Statues (try not to do the version where children are ‘out’ )  

1.40 Dancing Competition or you could ask the children what they would like to play next.  

1.50 Lazy Lions

1.55  Parents arrive to collect children, party bags given out, coats and hats collected, everyone leaves.

You breathe big sigh of relief and treat yourself to a cup of tea or something stronger!

 Bye 4 now

 Billy Banana


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