Recently I bravely took on hosting my very first children’s b’day party. Up until now I have been avoiding them, as my experience of attending them thus far has been tears, tiara’s and tantrums.
The other big thing I struggled with is what to serve food wise. You wouldn’t think it would be that difficult, especially with the job I do, and yet here I was feeling stressed about it.
So my dilemma was, do you serve traditional party food, as the kids want, including lollies, chocolate and chips, or do you do provide the food you would like the kids to eat?
As it was my first party I decided that I would provide the food that I thought was appropriate. Of course, it is a party and therefore there should be treats, but I decided I would try to keep them as natural or home-made as possible. I was also determined to keep the whole thing in perspective…. my mission was to not be over the top. So my party menu went something like this:
- Fruit skewers
- Veggie sticks
- Beetroot tzatziki & hummus
- Whole grain tortillas
- Natural popcorn
- Home-made date & coconut power balls
- Home-made seed slice
- Water to drink
And naturally a cake; flourless orange and almond with icing and decorations (of course). And yes I did check that there were no nut allergies attending. I also skipped on the lolly bags and did party bags with non- food treats…..crayons, balloons & bubbles.
Now I should also mention that there were children as young as 2 and 3 attending. So my choices really took this into consideration.
So after a very stressful morning of arriving late, setting up the party in the park to then be rained on and having to duck for shelter, the party ended up being a hit. My party food ‘social experiment’ was not a complete disaster, in fact I think it actually turned out quite well. Everything got eaten, and I mean every last crumb. And even better the fruit skewers were one of the first things to be demolished.
Not a single child asked me where the lollies were, and despite one small melt down mid pass the parcel, there was not a tantrum in sight. Now I am not so deluded to think that the lack of tantrums were 100% food related, but I do think that keeping the refined sugars and additives to a more reasonable level did not hurt. The power balls were about as sweet as it got.The other bonus was that the parents were also happy to tuck into the food provided, and no need to then provide other food (which always seems crazy to me). I think the parents were also genuinely appreciative for the lack of junk that their children consumed through out the morning.
The entire process also taught me a very valuable lesson. So often we give our children treats as we believe it is what they ‘need/want’. And yet they are actually happy without it, if not offered. So is it actually our perception of needs, not theirs?
Likewise, when a child does ask for a ‘treat’ and you say no, after the initial reaction (or tantrum), they are then generally completely fine with a healthier alternative only minutes later. If only we could (and this includes me) be stronger and stand by our beliefs, rather than being caught up in what we think we should do or feel pressured to do…. life would be so much simpler.