There should be adult supervision at all times and at least one adult should remain in the room while any entertainment is in progress. Professional birthday entertainers design their programs to include plenty of audience participation and interaction; however, they should not be placed in the position of having to step “out of character” and assume the role of disciplinarian to deal with the occasional disruptive child. It is best if a parent is on hand to handle such situations.
It is best if the opening of the presents is the last thing on the schedule. That keeps them from getting broken before the party is over and, again, minimizes distractions during the entertainment and other planned activities.
If you plan to hire professional entertainment, be sure that it is age appropriate (another good reason to invite guests in the same age range as the birthday child). A professional entertainer or agency will suggest programs that have proven effective for various age groups and will decline to provide programs they have found unsuitable for the ages attending your party. It is wise to take their advise as it has been gained the hard way – – through years of experience. You DO NOT need professional entertainment for babies and toddlers (the 1-2 year olds and most 3 year olds). Their attention span and ability to participate in a meaningful way are limited. A few very simple games, a Barney or short Disney or Winnie The Pooh video, ice cream and cake and the fun of opening the presents are really all you need.
Remember, if you decide to hire entertainment for your party, do that first! The best entertainers are booked far in advance, so if you send out the invitations and then call the entertainers, you may not be able to get them on the date and time you need. Entertainment seldom matches your party theme unless you theme the party around the entertainer or hire a costumed character. Don’t worry so much about the entertainment matching your theme, be more concerned with making sure the children are entertained. There is a variety of birthday party entertainers out there with a wide range of prices. The best way to find a quality entertainer is to ask around. Talk to friends, other parents, your child’s school or childcare center, etc. If your child comes home from a party raving about how funny the performer was, find out who it was. Ask your child if they want that performer to come to their birthday party. If you didn’t have any luck finding entertainers through referrals, look in your local family-type publication in their “party” section. There are more choices there than you could ever call. Find a few ads that catch your attention and seem to be the kind of entertainment you need. Call them starting with the one that caught your eye first and work your way down the list. You should be able to find what you are looking for in two or three calls.