5 Tips for Doing Events With Children
We're approaching the end of school season, this inevitably means a larger influx of kid's parties. I've found school events fill up a calendar during the week and are fairly consistent. Typically, you can become the preferred vendor for a school if you're easy to work with and fairly flexible.
Yes, these parties come with their own unique challenges, however that's not to say that they can't still be profitable events. Sure everyone has walked into their event, setup their booth, everything is all find and dandy, then fifteen seconds after the bell rings hundreds of screaming kids come running into your event and make a bee-line to the photo booth. Take a deep breath...you're gonna be fine :)
TIP #1 SETUP YOUR EVENT EARLY
You're not at a regular venue. You don't have staff at your beck-and-call to help you with any additional challenges you may face. Most of the time you're going to be working with parent volunteers, who I'm sure have their own set of challenges they are dealing with that day. Just be proactive and make sure that they're not worrying about you. Every now and then you're going to face a problem where finding power may be a challenge and the person that may know the answer could have already gone home for the day. Be prepared and make sure that you have extra long extension cords for those hard to reach outlets and gaff tape to make sure those cords are taped down and not a hazard.
TIP #2 LOCK YOUR GALLERY
As with all children's event, privacy is of the utmost importance. If you are digitally sending out photos, ensure that your gallery is locked. If they are sending the photos to themselves, make sure they only have access to their photo and nothing else. If you are doing a children's event, I would almost always include printing in your pricing. Depending on the age of the child, they will most likely appreciate a printed moment. Now wouldn't be the time to offer a digital only booth.
TIP #3 GET A BACKGROUND CHECK
If you are doing an event with a school district during school hours, there is a chance that you might be asked to have a member of your company go through a background check. This can include fingerprinting, driving record, etc. Occasionally there have been fee's associated with this, no more than $100. In two instances, I have asked the organization to pay for this, as it's their requirement for their school district and I haven't had any pushback.
There are other sources such as Thumbtack, that offer a background check. Once you are verified, you get a badge that you can display on your website. It's a little thing, however it can be very reassuring to parent's knowing that the staff member that is going to be at their event has gone through some sort of verified background check.
Some would say that this is an unnecessary expense, however it could be the deciding factor between you and your competition.
TIP #4 DON'T FORGET THE PARENTS
Yes, you can bring props that are kid friendly, however sometimes kids will like to take photos with their parents.Be sure to bring some parent only props that they will enjoy. Most of the time you're going to have varying heights of people, helping out and assisting with tilting a camera will go a long way. If you're a parent, you know how quickly they grow up. Helping someone take an amazing picture is the first step to a referral. If the photo is great, someone is 4x more likely to recommend you.
TIP #5 PATIENCE
There seriously is a special place in heaven for teachers. I have no clue how they do it day in and day out. Working with kids can be very stressful. If you're not good with kids, know yourself well enough to either: A) not book the business or B) send an attendant with strong children's skills. It takes a special person to work with kids, especially when they are let loose in a party atmosphere. Be careful to not discipline someone else's kid, no matter how tempting it may be. There have been instances where if a kid is being unruly, you need to tell your contact immediately. This way it's very much documented, even if it's as simple as a text message. Most of the time this isn't going to happen, however you do need to be prepared for every scenario.
Kids parties can really be a lot of fun! Make sure that your Photo Booth setup is practically indestructible and if some props get destroyed it's no big deal and they are easily replaced and included in your rate. These parent committees are creatures of habit, and if it works for them once, it'll work for them again. Be sure to ask if they have any other events coming up and get them on a calendar!