How to throw a stress-free kids party

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Whether you decide to give Martha Stewart a run for her money or you prefer to take a more laidback approach, the basic requirements will be exactly the same: food, drink, music, and lots of cake.

✦ Clear the decks. Make sure all breakables, wires and pens are well out of reach.

✦ Prepare as much of the party food as possible the night before.

✦ Arrange all the music beforehand too, and make sure it's easy to turn on and off for games.

✦ Don't plan too many activities. Dancing and a few games followed by tea should be plenty.

✦ Don't stress about sumptuous goody bags. A balloon and a slice of cake will keep most kids happy.

✦ If you do go for take-home presents, make sure you've got a few spares for surprise extra guests.

✦ If you're worried about spillages give the kids juice cartons with straws.

✦ A bubble machine is a great investment. If the atmosphere is flagging it never fails to get them leaping to their feet.

✦ Have an adult food and drink station. A few easily accessible jugs of soft drinks and some nibbles means you won't have to look after the grown-ups as well as the young party-goers.

✦ Don't forget the candles – or the matches!

 What are your tips for a stress-free kids party? Share them with mums now via Twitter below

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