Children's Birthday Parties …. and finding THE present
Shall I let you in on a secret? I have found out that there is one thing that no one tells you what to expect from parenting.
Let's sit down, have a chat and try to decipher this world that we have been thrown into - while our children trot off and have a ton of fun and fairy bread!
You have a child (or several children) at pre-school or primary school and you are promptly thrown into a new, huge social network. You are constantly responding to requests, text messages and organising appointments… and that is just for your child!
Kindergarten is generally the most intense year for parties. It is at this time where most, if not all the children from the class are invited to all birthday parties. I do highly recommend at this age to check their bag daily. This will not only ensure that any invites that have been shoved in the bag do not go missing but day old fruit is not left to sit there and fester at the base of the bag!
What to Choose??
This is always the fun part! When you come into Casey's Toys even if you have no idea what to buy for this child, we will simply ask you a few questions and guide you to the most appropriate areas and products.
Trust us - we have frantic parents in EVERY weekend en-route to the party, with no idea what to get. We know what to ask and how to help you find the perfect gift and get you to that party PRONTO!
How old is the child turning?
We will use this answer to narrow down the most popular toys for the age group and ensure that the item is age appropriate and most importantly, safe.
Do they have brothers/sisters and how old are they?
This might seem like an odd question. You might be thinking "I am not buying a gift for their sibling" but it can give us great information to find you that perfect gift quick smart. For example: if you tell us you are looking for a gift for a 6 year old boy, we would generally think LEGO could be a great option. However, if you then tell us that they have a 6 month old sibling (who is likely to put said LEGO in their mouth for fun), this would certainly change our advice. We would then be more inclined to suggest a puzzle or a solid action figure with no small pieces.
Are you aware of any specific interests, toys or TV shows they are interested in?
Say you tell us that your child has told you that their friend loves art and craft and Disney Princesses - we would then immediately be thinking a Paint your Own Princess Mould or a Diamond Dotz Cinderella could be an option.
If you feel comfortable it is totally acceptable to ask the parents to guide you to the right direction. A quick text message when you RSVP just asking "Is there anything that he/she is really hoping for?" is fine.
How much to spend?
However much you choose to spend! There is absolutely no right or wrong here, everyone has very different ideas, budgets and thoughts.
There have been many a time where we are pushed for an answer. So here it is. We would generally say about the $20 mark. If it is your child's good friend, some people are happy to go higher and conversely if the parent has specified not to spend much we have people spending $10.
We do have a great range of specials which sit toward the front of our stores and here is the biggest tip- they are 100% where the best deals will be found. They change often and have huge savings on lots of top brands like Monopoly, NERF, Disney, Beyblades, Tech Decks, Pokemon and so much more. So, you can spend $20 on an item that was $50 and the birthday boy/girl will be thrilled!
Picked the gift. Now what?
We have a great selection of cards and gift wrap that are just $1! At some selected stores, you even have to opportunity to take your present, card & gift wrap over to the gift wrap table where we supply sticky tape and scissors and you can wrap the gift there! We make it as easy as we can for you to run in, grab the gift, wrap it up and get you to the party on time.
Do I stay or do I go??
When you are new to the school world and the invites start to come in, you are never quite sure what the party etiquette is. Do you drop the child off, bolt and enjoy a few hours to yourself? Or do you have to stay and chat to the other parents for the next few hours, all while fighting the urge to stop your child from shoving fistfuls of fairy bread and lolly snakes into their face when they think you're not looking?
Personally, I find it best to ask the parent when you RSVP to the party. Would you like me to stick around to help? Is it best I come back to collect them at 4pm? Generally, the party planners would like to have a clear idea ahead of time whether they will have parents loitering so they can cater for them if required.
If you are juggling multiple children, be assured you are not the only ones bouncing to up to 3 parties on the one weekend! So do not be afraid to ask if it is okay you leave to drop off the other children, before returning to collect your child.
Tips & Tricks
Always make sure that you have water on hand for when you collect your child. Chances are they have been having way too much fun to quench their thirst - or they have tried to do so with fizzy drinks. The sooner you can get them rehydrated (and get the sugar out of their system), the better!