Every mom has been there, “the BEST PARTY EVER with lots of HAPPY KIDS!”. You get to the party and they have music, characters and an entertainer taking pictures and playing with your children. Usually, this is the best part of the party (well, when they get home tired and ready to sleep is actually the best part but you get the point) were the kids are paying attention to someone else and you are enjoying the “adult time”. Now, it is your turn to plan the party for your child and you want the same experience. Before you jump up and hire the first company you find in your Facebook’s mommy group, it is important to have in mind:
1. ARE YOU CALLING A LEGAL/LEGIT COMPANY?
There are tons of people advertising themselves as “entertainment companies for children”, most of them are not legit companies. You will recognize them because they want you to pay in cash, they don’t have a website or their social media pages are poorly done or non existent. You can also identify the company by the costumes they use. I once met a mom who told me that she hired a super hero character (the one who climbs walls and thinks he is a spider) and she got a woman dressed in the costume. The kids were paying more attention to the obvious shape of the woman who was wearing it than the fact she was jumping pretty high. See more about the importance of being a real company in #3. Real companies have a LLC or INC. after their name.
2. WHO WORKS FOR THIS COMPANY?
You won’t invite a stranger to your home, right? How do you know there is not a pedophile or criminal working with your children? Make sure you ask: Are background checks and drug tests regularly done to
your employees? Many companies, especially the ones who are not “legal companies” pick whoever is available to work during a specific time and many times they don’t even know the performer. I once heard a mom saying that the person she hired came intoxicated and the kids could smell the alcohol.
3. IS THE COMPANY INSURED?
Did you know that even Face Painters should carry insurance? Again, if the company is not “legal”, I am 100% certain they don’t carry insurance. Why is insurance so important? Well, let’s say that the kids are having a lot of fun and while dancing someone bumps into the sound speaker and it falls and crush a child (worst case scenario) or a bouncer flies away with children inside. I am sure you don’t want to deal with a law suit, right? That’s right! The company is liable. Ask, does this company carry insurance?
4. IS THE SHOW APPROPIATE FOR YOUR CHILD’S AGE AND GUESTS?
We all have seen the Minnie and Mickey twerking on Facebook. Ask what kind of music they use during the show. You can even ask about the type of games they will be playing.
5. HAVE YOU CHECKED THE REVIEWS?
Common sense! Before hiring a company, shop around! If you see a company with over 20K likes on Facebook and tons of great reviews, Go for it! Read the reviews, privately contact the people and ask questions. Usually companies with low number of likes and no reviews are a red flag.
Yes, we hear you, parties are hard to plan but the smile of your child telling you “This was the best party ever!” is worth the effort of asking a few questions and doing your research.
Nilmari Donate, is the founder of HKC Parenting & School Consulting Services and the President of HAPPY KIDS CHICAGO, INC. The biggest entertainment company for children in Chicago. For more information please visit www.HappyKidsChicago.com