How to Make Clean Up Easy After a Children’s Party - dummies

How to Make Clean Up Easy After a Children’s Party

By Gill Chilton

Prepare ahead of time by cleaning and moving furniture to the sides of the room, and turning sofas around so that they can’t be sat on. Now, there’s just the floor to fret over. A party at home lets your child have the unique joy of playing mini host at the place she loves best. Choose non-mess sweets, such as hard candies – never chocolate! – for treats and you’ll be fine.

Plan to serve finger foods such as sandwiches and one-bite cakes. The ultimate in no-mess eating is to provide individual cardboard lunchboxes. Fill them in advance with sandwiches and treats. Avoid any food that may leave permanent stains. Don’t torture yourself with the prospect of blackcurrant juice on a cream carpet when children enjoy lemonade just as much.

Forget using a tablecloth for the party table. Tablecloths with cartoon characters look cute, but it only takes one child to give a tug and send the whole spread onto the floor. Go for large plastic mats instead. Don’t even go to the table with pre-schoolers. Lay down old sheets on the floor and get everyone to sit in a circle for a party picnic.

Keep plates and cups plastic to avoid breakages, and use bowls rather than plates for under-eights. Steer clear of disposable cups and bowls, which aren’t very child-friendly. The cups crack and the plates aren’t rigid enough to hold with one tiny hand. Durable plastic is tougher and is really very little hassle to wash afterwards. Look for plastic picnic sets at sale time and, over time, you’ll save money too.

Get together an accident kit, because it’s an odds-on certainty that you’ll need it. This doesn’t necessarily mean plasters (bandages), although of course you should have a first-aid set handy. Rather, an accident kit is your first defence against spills. Try keeping the following on hand:

  • A blunt knife and spoon for scraping solid residues.

  • Paper kitchen roll (paper towels).

  • A lidded plastic container to safely and very quickly contain any glass or sharp splinter breakables.

  • Spray stain-remover for carpet.

  • Thick tea towels for spills.

  • A spare T-shirt. It’s good to prepare for the children themselves and always have a spare T-shirt handy. Girls especially can fly to hysterics if they drop spills on their special party top. The final preparation is an empty washing machine so that you pop the party poppet into the spare T-shirt whilst you run dirty clothing through the quick wash cycle.

Holding the party in the garden – even if the weather is poor – may be the best way to safeguard your home from the perils of a children’s party. Clear out the playhouse or your shed, then fit up a plastic or canvas extension using garden gazebos.

Follow these tips to cut the mess during the party:

  • Ask children to take off their shoes – but not their socks – if the room is carpeted. Hard floors are too slippery for stockinged feet.

  • Keep everyone busy. Bored children are the ones who grind toffees into the carpet, so plan stacks of games or pay for a professional child entertainer if this isn’t your strength.

  • Limit food and drink to one room. This can be tricky, because children can feel thirsty almost as soon as they arrive. Get in a supply of small drink cartons or have water available in plastic cups.

  • Mop up spills promptly.