When it comes to your children's birthdays, the only thing more stressful than pre-party planning is post-party cleanup. Young and older children alike can be very messy, particularly when you have a dozen (or more!) of them in one space. No matter how much you subtly encourage the little angels to clean up after themselves when they're done eating, there'll always be some who take advantage of being outside their own home and toss litter left, right and centre. Here are 3 ways you can minimise food-related mess at your child's birthday event.
Order Takeaway Pizza
While cooking all the party food from scratch is a sweet and ambitious idea, it creates far more mess than necessary. For starters, everything you cook will require multiple pots, bowls or utensils, all of which have to be washed. You'll also need to wash up all the serving dishes you use and any plates the kids eat from. Why not turn your child's birthday into a pizza party instead by ordering in take away for the guests? Pizza is already cut into slices and kids can eat it with their hands, eliminating the need to wash up knives and forks later. The pizza box doubles up as a serving platter, and the guests will likely only eat one slice at a time, potentially allowing you to forget about plates as well. As an added bonus, take away pizza is one of the easiest ways to cater to fussy eaters and kids with dietary requirements -- pizzas can be ordered with different toppings, cheese/no cheese and even gluten-free dough from some pizzerias.
Buy Lidded Disposable Cups
Disposable cups are a must for parties. Aside from the ease of cleanup, children often forget which drink is theirs and ask for new cups. It's hard to meet these demands using your own limited supply of child-safe drinking vessels. When you do buy cups, try to opt for ones with tight-fitting lids and straws. If a child knocks their drink to the ground, chances are the lid will come off, but lids do minimise minor spills that happen when kids move their hands around excitedly while holding their drink. This reduces the need to clean up mid-party (as spilled drinks are a big slip hazard for children), and it also reduces the chances of you ending up with tough-to-remove stains on your furnishings.
If the Australian weather is in your favour, why not have the kids eat outdoors? Spilled food and drink are far less worrying outdoors, as most of it will sink into the ground or degrade quickly. A messy garden is also generally less daunting than a messy house as outdoor cleanup is generally less urgent, and the mess doesn't directly infringe on your day-to-day life.