Finding a Children’s Entertainer

Sorting out the entertainment for your child’s party can be a difficult and stressful process. These tips, based on experience, should help make booking an entertainer a smooth, trouble free process. (Note, they are written from a UK perspective but are relevant in any country.)

1. Make sure the entertainer confirms everything in a letter or contract.

When you have agreed all the details for your party, make sure the entertainer sends you a confirmation letter or contract from the entertainer that clearly sets out the costs, timings and commitments from both parties. A professional entertainer should make all their terms and conditions available to you anyway.

2. Does the entertainer have insurance?

Booking a children’s entertainer without Public Liability Insurance is a bit of a risk in the current litigation-happy society. If you are hiring a venue, you should also check insurance requirements with them. Many hotels and party venues now insist that entertainers have Public Liability Insurance. Don’t be afraid to ask for evidence of insurance from entertainers who claim to have it.

3. Has the entertainer had a Criminal Records Bureau check?

Many professions, such as teachers, who have regular contact with children must have a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check. Although a self-employed children’s entertainer does not have to be CRB checked, most professional entertainers will be able to supply you with evidence that they have gone through the process. There may well be similar checks in countries outside the UK.

4. Check that the cancellation policy and payment terms are completely clear.

Ensure you know how the payment is handled and that it is clearly laid out the contract or confirmation letter. Some entertainers will take a non-refundable booking fee or some may require a deposit which is refundable. Some may require the balance paid after the performance or party or want to sort it out before they begin.

5. Make sure you understand what the quoted fee does and does not cover.

Are all the materials, such as presents and balloons, etc. included in the fee? Does it include VAT (or other taxes outside the UK) and travelling expenses? If extra children arrive at the party, will there be an additional cost? Unexpected costs can make payment time at the end of a party a little uncomfortable!

6. Are you completely comfortable with the performance content?

This may seem obvious, but little details such as the entertainer incorporating juggling in their act and you having a very low ceiling could cause problems on the day of the party. So check the obvious such as the ages the performance is suitable for, the length of the performance and details about what the performance involves.

7. Know the performer’s requirements.

Make sure you are fully prepared by understanding what the performer needs in the way of power supplies, space, furniture, etc. Check if they can perform outside and inside if it rains. It is likely that an experienced professional children’s entertainer will question you to ensure their requirements are met..

8. Do you want any optional extras?

Many performers offer optional extras as part of their show, such as give-ways and presents. Some may even include the as standard. Check if there is any additional costs involved and make sure they are suitable for all the children at the party. Examples include balloon models, photo’s, and party bags with toys and gifts.

9. Check the levels of supervision required by the performer.

Many entertainers have a specific adult to child ratio so they can ensure children are adequately supervised. It is important you can meet these requirements and you know what happens if the audience is larger than expected.

10. Book in plenty of time.

Good children’s entertainers book up quickly, especially on weekends during the summer. When organising the entertainment for your party, it can be useful to have several dates in mind, especially if you are interested in a particular entertainer.

Top 5 children’s books

Choosing the best books for your children to read can be difficult. However, there are a certain selection of books which are such classics that the children need to read them, whether they like them or not.

Harry Potter

Of course the Harry Potter series became almost a classic from when it was first written. The books start off as fun with lots of lovely magic and imagination. The series does darken as it goes on and the age that they are suitable tends to rise with each book. The later books are also very thick and so would only appeal to those children that really like reading. However, if you can master this series then you are capable of reading anything really. The books are exciting and do appeal to boys and girls and they do have a great moral line running through them as well as managing to capture the imagination. Of course, there are always the films to fall back on if the books just become too tedious.

Narnia series

The Narnia series have been popular for generations and so are likely to continue to do so. Many people have read or are familiar with ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’ but this is not the first book. The very first book focuses around a different set of children visiting Narnia and the later books have different children in as well. However, one good thing about the books is that you do not have to read them in order for them to make sense, although it does help. Which means that if you like certain stories more than others, you can just reread those.

The Hobbit

The Hobbit is the precursor to the Lord of the Rings and is far easier and shorter. It is more aimed at children with some fun songs and a happy ending. It does have a fight but it is nothing like as nasty as the one in the other series of books. It is a great book for boys and girls, especially those ith a good imagination. Continue reading

Top 5 Children’s Picture Books

Every so often a children’s book comes along the delights both children and grown ups. It has a lovely story to tell, but is also educational and fun. This is the top 5 list.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is the story of a caterpillar by Eric Carlewho starts off by being an egg which hatches in to a tiny caterpillar. He then eats lots of food on each day of the week and then grows bigger, turns in to a cocoon and eventually turns in to a butterfly. The metamorphosis teaches children about the life cycle of a caterpillar and the days of the week. The story is simple and as children grow they can read it to themselves. It is a gentle tale with a lovely ending.

Each, Peach, Pear, Plum

This book was written by Allan Ahlberg and illustrated by his late wife Janet Ahlberg and it is a lovely rhyming book. The pictures are fantastic too, with lovely details in a pastel colour. On each page you have to try to find a nursery rhyme character and the children can have great fun spotting them all in the picture. The characters eventually all get together at the end for a slice of plum pie – yum!

The Gruffalo

The team of Julia Donaldson with her lovely rhyming stories and Axel Scheffler with his beautiful illustrations is amazing. The story is about a clever mouse, who to avoid being eaten makes up a story about a scary Gruffalo who he says will be with him soon. The other animals are scared but when the mouse really does meet the Gruffalo the mouse is frightened but is clever enough to scare off the nasty monster. The book is  delightful tale of how cleverness can beat strength and despite the fact that it is a bout a monster, it makes a great bedtime story. It is also lovely to read as there are lots of opportunity for expression. Continue reading

Why it really is OK to let the Father Help with Planning the Baby Shower

There are a lot of guides out there that are focused on helping female friends of the mother-to-be plan a baby shower. A baby shower at its core should be a celebration of the coming of the newborn child, not just the presents that come with the event. If you’re trying to include everyone you can, why not start with the father of the child? Indeed, not too many guides touch on having the father help with the baby shower, simply assuming that men just aren’t interested. However, that’s not the case at all. Most men are absolutely ecstatic about the coming of the new child, especially if it’s their first child. It’s very bad to assume that all men react the same way to the idea of parenthood, and that means you should ask the father of the new child to participate in the baby shower instead of just assuming he’s uninterested in doing so.

Another benefit of asking the father to help with the baby shower is that he may have other ideas for the theme of the baby shower, as well as the baby shower favors and even the baby shower games. It’s something that you will definitely need to think about as you plan. Indeed, putting together an event like a baby shower is definitely stressful, but having the father help you will lower your stress is definitely a good thing.

Due to the stigma surrounding fathers helping with the baby shower, you might want that the father is a bit shy or reluctant to actually help with the baby shower planning. If you work at getting them to calm down and really think about the benefits of contributing to the baby shower, you should have no problem convincing them. It’s truly a natural reaction to be a little hesitant to help with something that has long been seen as the domain of women. A new father-to-be might be feeling just as anxious as the mother-to-be, but if you don’t reach out to him he’ll have no outlet for all that worry and hesitation to go to.

Overall, if you’ve decided to move forward with getting the father to be to actually join in with the baby shower preparation, you’ve definitely made the right decision. If you really take the time to make the father to feel included in the baby shower, you’ll have no problem pulling off a truly successful baby shower in virtually no time at all!

Making Sure Your Surprise Baby Shower Stays a Surprise

Surprising the mother-to-be with a great baby shower is something that can be quite a challenge these days. Indeed, in the era of email, social networking, and cell phones, it’s pretty hard to keep a secret. We live in a culture that encourages sharing as much information as possible, which means that surprises — even good ones! — just aren’t as easy to keep a secret as they used to be. Despite the shift towards sharing as much information as possible around the clock, it still is quite easy to make sure that the surprise baby shower you planned for a close friend stays a surprise. The surprise effect will make your friend feel cared for and appreciated as you and the rest of her friends get together to celebrate the coming of a newborn child as well as giving gifts to help the new mother get started raising her child.

First, you want to make sure that only a certain number of the mother’s friends know about the baby shower. The fewer people that know about something, the less risk there is of the surprise baby shower being ruined. If you have to end up not saying too much to anyone while you work through all of the planning details, then you may want to take that option. On the other hand, if you know up front that you will need help planning the event, and then you will definitely want to make sure that you get a close friend that can keep a secret. Point out to your “assistant” that you want to make the mother-to-be feel good, which means keeping the baby shower a surprise until it’s time for the event itself.

Another way to make sure that the baby shower stays a surprise is to avoid updating any sort of social networking portal. If you know that people that would easily spill the beans on the secret, the last thing you want to do is announce it to the world. The mother-to-be could end up reading it, which would definitely ruin the surprise completely!

Do you have to make a baby shower a surprise? Definitely not. However, a surprise baby shower is an exciting event that is exciting in part because it comes from nowhere. When you know that the mother-to-be is going through a lot of stress and anxiety about the upcoming child, a surprise baby shower can definitely be just what’s needed to brighten the lady’s day!

Gift Registration – Taking the Guesswork out of Buying Baby Shower Favors

Baby shower favors have been a long part of the tradition of baby showers, but that doesn’t mean that it’s always easy to pick them out. When you’re planning a baby shower, picking the right theme is pretty important. A great theme invites guests to get really into the event, which will go a long way in making the mother-to-be feel welcome and cared for.

Baby shower favors don’t have to be fancy favors at all. In fact, the more homemade things look, the more it can invite people to really get into the process of celebrating the birth of a new child.

Of course, if you find that the people that will be attending the baby shower just aren’t very crafty, you can always turn to looking at previous gift registrations to get ideas for baby shower favors. Small items, such as lotions that can be placed into purses, are very popular. There is definitely a reason for that — the smaller something is, the more portable it is, and we are definitely a society on the move — even while pregnant!

If you’re going to follow the baby shower gift registration method, the last thing you want to do is get items that are too big, or even too expensive. The key here is to pick small items that are ready-made and that will be fairly functional. If you can combine a cute design with functionality, that’s even better. However, if that’s not possible then it’s better to stick to items that are at least functionality. When you get a great piece that every guest can use, they’ll be able to look back fondly on the baby shower event. These memories can encourage the guests of the baby shower party to go back and help the new mother after the baby is born, and it goes without saying that every new mother definitely needs all the help that they can get!

Going online to pick up baby shower favors is also a great idea, since you will have the ability to get plenty of different baby shower favors to choose from. Instead of having to just settle for one theme, you can really have your pick of a massive selection of favors. For party planners that have a larger budget than others, you might want to think about getting a custom set of baby shower favors to really mark the event. These become great souvenirs and can definitely mark the occasion in style.

Overall, the tips here should give you a pretty good idea of where to get great baby shower favors — get started today to really give your baby shower guests something to remember the event by!

The importance of changing bags

Let’s face it every new mom wants to show off her amazing and beautiful baby but they also want to impress their friends and family with their changing bags and other baby accessories.

Not only are they to impress they are also essential to help keep you organised during your busy schedule and allow you to enjoy the time you spend with your baby instead of getting stressed trying to find the things that you need.

The functionality of the changing bag is important to make your life much easier. They should stand up on their own when placed on the floor to prevent them getting dirty and also allow you to remove or replace items from the bag whilst still holding the pram or other objects with your other hand. The lining and/ or outer covering should be waterproof to prevent the bag from spoiling due to spillages.

Many diaper bags also come with a changing mat, which is very handy if you find yourself caught out when there are no restrooms with baby changing facilities or even at a friend’s house.

It is important to ensure that the size of your baby bag is large enough to suit your needs and therefore you must consider where you are likely to be using the bag and what will be going inside.

As the baby bag is likely to be heavy you also need to consider the style of the bag and therefore how it will need to be carried as you may prefer to attach the bag to your stroller, carry it on your back or even on your shoulders.

Finally the cost will obviously play a huge part of your selection choice however there are many designer baby bags on the market affordable for every budget so you will be sure to find the bag perfect for you.

Baby Shower coming up? Save on gifts with vouchers

It is the biggest milestone in your life, having a child, so planning to make sure everything is all ready for when the baby is born is the most important thing you can do, all doing too much is usually not enough. The best way to celebrate the knowledge of having child is planning a baby shower so all friend and family can celebrate this joyous news with you.

This should be a time when people can welcome this news and bring people together but it needn’t be something that turns into a huge costly event. With the arrival of the baby the last thing you want to do is spend huge amounts on the baby shower, there are so many other things that need to be thought about being purchased.  It beneficial checking out vouchers sites to help cut cost of the events with preparing for the baby shower and if you have one to attend then they are a great place to find the best gift. You want to turn up to the party with the best gift not the wrong one!

What are The Best Baby Showers Gifts On The Market

Choosing the perfect gift for a baby shower can be a tricky decision there are so many thing sot take inot consideration, whether it’s a boy or a girl, if someone has already bought that gift or just getting something a little bit different. Here is a shortlist of exciting gifts to give someone for a baby shower

Customised baby clothing – Adding the personal touch to a piece of clothing can make something so special for the child, it’s such a great way for them to remember you! So get a message on the garment and make that special touch.

Baby Shower basket – Fill up a beautiful wrapped basket with cuddly toys, sweets, jewelry and anything else you think baby would love. Piggy banks are a great ay to help the child save money too! Now that’s just smart money thinking.

Set up a Fund – Think smartly and help set up a fund for the child’s future so they can save money when they are older. It can help give them something to save towards when they are older.