What should you do with naughty children at the birthday party? A short answer would be: don’t invite them! A persistently naughty child can really upset the flow of a birthday party. Over the years of performing professionally as Marko Sparko I found the naughty child problem happens less and less often. The reason for this, I believe, with more experience and confidence you can nip potential trouble in the bud. Also being a confident performer a child is less likely to play up.
However, very occasionally I will encounter a particularly troublesome child. I have found that some parents are very little help in controlling a very naughty child. This means it will normally fall on my shoulders! :-)
On arriving to a birthday party I’m normally friendly with the children but at this point I don’t want to get too chatty with them. For one reason I need to get on with setting my stuff up but also I don’t want any potential trouble makers thinking they can exploit my easy-going nature! So I try to be a little bit reserved just at the beginning. So if I child starts grabbing any of my equipment I will politely, but firmly, tell them not do so. This is often all that is needed to stop any future trouble.
If a child is still causing problems I will gradually get firmer with them. At this point I’m secretly hoping that the parent (if they are at the party) will step in. Strangely a grandparent (not necessarily the naughty child’s grandparent) is more likely to step in at this point. If this is an older child’s birthday party one of his or her friends have on occasions tried to get the naughty child to behave. If trouble is still escalating I will now try to have a few quite words with the child. I will usually say something along the lines that he/she is spoiling the birthday child’s party and try to explain to him/her that this is very disrespectful. Of course explaining that to a 5-year-old is not necessarily very easy.
If problems still persists then I will take drastic action. This is extremely rare but I will, if necessary, completely stop the party and have a very firm talk (in front of everyone) with the problematic child. Also at this point, if possible, I may decide to change the program to a quieter activity.
There you have it. This is how I handle naughty children. Your comments are welcome! I’m certainly open to advice myself and I don’t pretend to know everything!
It has to be said, that boys are much more likely to cause trouble than girls. Some people may not like me saying that, but I have found this to be the case.
Going back to the very beginning, if you know that a particularly child is a persistent trouble maker, I would seriously consider not inviting them. This can be very difficult decision to make if the birthday child wants to invite the whole class. Also, you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings (the child and their parent) and I would only suggest this if the child in question is an exceptionally and consistently badly behaved.