Millions of people have had no choice but to celebrate their birthdays virtually, and while getting a group of adults together for a chat and a drink over Zoom is easy enough to make entertaining, it’s much more challenging when kids are the center of attention.
The tricky elements are twofold, as you not only need to host the party in such a way that all the young participants are engaged and enjoying themselves, but also keep a firm hand on the tiller from an organizational perspective.
With that in mind, here are some tips on how to host a virtual birthday party for youngsters that runs like clockwork and also makes you seem like a fun parent at the same time.
Choose a compelling theme
Kids’ parties often have a theme, and this can work just as well in a virtual context as it does in normal circumstances.
Make sure you choose a theme that appeals to your kid’s sensibilities and interests, whether that might be dinosaurs, pirates, astronauts, Disney characters or anything else in between. If you need alternative ideas you can check out SnackNation for more virtual birthday party theme options.
With your theme in place, encourage all attendees to dress up in a suitable costume to reflect it. Since money may be tight in many households, you might also choose to suggest that only home-made costumes are allowed, which should level the playing field and also make for some funny and inventive creations.
From cardboard cowboy hats to toilet paper roll swords, costumes made from improvised materials will be a real talking point and provide the kids with something to do to prepare with their own parents as well. And of course, if you want to get a lot of laughs yourself, it’s important to join in and dress up in your own cobbled-together costume. Commit to the bit and the kids will really appreciate it.
Add the element of surprise
If you are sneaky enough, you could make the entire virtual birthday party a surprise for your kid in its own right, although this is not necessarily something that every child will appreciate, so be sure to consider its appropriateness from the point of view of their personality.
Of course, even if they know that the party is taking place in advance, it can still be fun and funny to throw in little surprises when the event is underway.
There are lots of options here; you could secretly bake or order a custom birthday cake in the shape of their favorite fictional character and bring it out at an opportune moment. You could even get in touch with other parents and ask them to bake cakes with their kids as well so that everyone can enjoy a slice even if they are physically separated from one another.
Another fun surprise is to get friends and family members to record video messages to the birthday boy or girl to let them know they’re thinking of them on their big day. This has the added benefit of meaning that you can keep the number of participants manageable; there is nothing more stressful than having to wrangle the comings and goings of endless well-wishers trying to get in on the call.
Further to that, there are even firms providing virtual messages from actors posing as popular kids’ characters, so you could pay for a flying visit from Iron Man or get a cheeky message from Olaf the Snowman if you wish. In a world where digital services of all kinds are available, the opportunities are endless!
Prepare thoroughly to avoid stress
If your aim is to be a bright, bubbly and funny host, then the only way to exude this kind of class and confidence is to be well prepared, rather than leaving things to the last minute. If you are stressed, or your mind is occupied with trying to remember everything that needs to happen, then you will hardly be able to show off your sparkling wit and personality.
Plan out as much of the party as you can and be sure to set a schedule which you can share with the other parents so that they all know what’s expected of them. This is another important stress-easer since you do not want your kid to be anxious because one or two of their best pals are late or not up to speed with what the party involves.
While there’s a bit of a stigma around the term ‘organized fun’, it is far better to create a structure for a virtual party rather than trying to be spontaneous. With everything orchestrated precisely, when the party starts in earnest you can chill out and concentrate on catalyzing the fun.
Don’t pile on the pressure
Even if you have carefully set out every last element of the party to the most exacting detail, it’s important to avoid over-hyping the event beforehand so that your child is not overwhelmed by the prospect. This melds into the need to be a proactive host, because you don’t want your kid to feel under pressure to keep things moving when the party is in motion.
Getting help from your partner and other parents can be a real godsend in this context. You might even alleviate some of the stress by offloading certain sections to other participants so that you can kick back and have fun without always needing to be at the helm of proceedings.
Know when to take a step back
The final thing to bear in mind when hosting a virtual birthday party for your kid is that sometimes you need to let it play out organically, rather than moving things forwards without paying attention to what’s going on.
If everyone’s having a good time, there is no need to step in and mix things up. Likewise, if a particular section seems to have run its course, it is your duty to point the party down the path to fun again and keep kids occupied to banish boredom.
With all these tips in mind, hopefully, you should be able to face up to hosting duties while being funny and free from stress.