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19 November 2007 – Three quarters of British mums find organising a child’s party stressful and 26% feel under pressure to throw bigger, better parties each year according to a recent survey undertaken by children’s party organisers Les Enfants ( The survey investigated what mums think about a range of party-related issues, from how much to spend, to food, and the thorny issue of party bags, with the intention to provide guidance to stressed out mums who are unsure where to start.

Of the respondents, full-time working mothers find party organising most stressful and feel the most pressure to throw better parties each year, in comparison to stay-at-home mums or mums who work part time. Full-time working mums are also more likely to spend more on parties and they’re least in favour of party bags.

The survey revealed that the average cost of a child’s party is in the region of £200. Given that 64% of respondents said they hold birthday parties every year and 70% had more than one child, the costs start to add up. Most parents (44.9%) spend between £100 and £200 per party while 35.8% spend less than £100. However, 11% spend up to £300, just under 5% spend up to £500 and almost 3% are willing to fork out up to £1000 per party.

Other key survey findings were:

• Party bags: Despite environmental pressure to reduce waste and the vocal debates on parenting forums on this subject, the majority of mums are still in favour of party bags (53.2%). However, 34.6% only give them out because everyone else does and 12.2% don’t give them out and believe them to be a waste of money and tend to be filled with junk.

• Party food: Move over jelly and ice cream and make way for carrot sticks. The healthy eating message is making an impact with 82.1% of mums feeling that party food should offer a good mix of healthy options alongside regular party treats. Only 15% think parties should exclusively feature traditional – and less healthy - party foods like cakes, ice cream, biscuits and sweets.

• Parental supervision: The age parents are willing to leave their child at a party without staying with them varies wildly, with ages ranging from three to eight. The majority (32.7%) feel comfortable leaving their child at a party from age five, with 26.3% happy to leave them at age four. But roughly the same number (24.4%) felt six was the right age with a surprising 7.8% and 6.3% saying age seven and eight respectively are the right ages.

• Party venues: Despite the potential for ruining carpets, holding parties at home ranks in top spot with 39.1% while village halls or community centres come in second with 23.2% closely followed by indoor softplay centres (20.3%).

• Who to invite: 61.3% feel that you should only invite your child’s close friends, but 35.8% feel it’s fairer to invite everyone in their class.

“Each of these issues is yet another decision mums need to make when planning a child’s party, so it’s hardly surprising that most mums find it stressful,” explains Katie Burnett, founder of children’s party specialists Les Enfants. “It can be difficult, especially if you work fulltime and don’t get to spend much time chatting to other mums, to know what children like and what will work. Mums feel under pressure to make sure their children have a good time, but also to be doing the right thing in the eyes of other parents. It gives a whole new meaning to party politics.”

To help parents plan their next party, Les Enfants has created a free Complete Guide to Successful Children’s Parties, which can be downloaded from or a printed version can be posted out to you. For party ideas or help in planning your next party, contact Les Enfants on 020 8502 9988 or email


Notes for editors:

Survey respondents were also asked for parties ideas that had worked best as well as their biggest party disasters. The most commonly recurring ideas are listed below and might make interesting box out copy:

Most popular party ideas

- arty/crafty parties where children get to make and keep something
- cooking parties where children get to decorate cakes or make their own party snacks
- creative parties with a strong theme e.g. fairy parties where children have to search for fairy wands in a wood or a farmyard party with hay bales
- simple and traditional with old-fashioned games, bouncy castle and lots of running around time
- a single book or toy instead of a party bag

Party disasters:

- Either too many or too few guests turning up and a general lack of RSVPs
- Parties that are over-complicated
- Children getting overwhelmed by too many guests or over-exuberant entertainers
- Too much food, particularly junk food
- Cake making disasters
- As one respondent said: “Pass the parcel for two and three years olds. It should be banned at that age!”

The survey results are based on 211 responses from mothers spanning the UK. 63% were aged between 30 – 39, 22.8% were aged between 18 – 29 and 12.3% were 40 – 49 (the remainder being over 50.)

The mothers came from the following geographic areas:

South East – 26.5%
South West – 5.8%
London – 10.6%
Eastern England – 14.9%
East Midlands – 6.8%
West Midlands – 5.3%
Wales – 2%
North West – 8.7%
Yorkshire & Humber – 7.2%
North East – 2.9%
Scotland – 5.8%
Northern Ireland - 0.5%
International – 2.9%

About Les Enfants

London-based Les Enfants was founded by working mother Katie Burnett with over 10 years experience in organising events. The company offers parents and corporate clients a premium service that takes away all the stress of organising children’s parties, with a highly personal service. Corporate clients include Total Oil, HSBC, PriceWaterhouseCoopers while private clients include several celebrities.

For more information, if you’d like to talk to Katie, obtain a copy of the Complete Guide to Parties or images, please contact:

Melissa Talago
Peekaboo Communications
Tel: 01635 248 496 or 07994 914 917

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