1. The single most important tip we can offer is to check that the entertainer is CRB checked, and that they can prove that it’s up to date. Although a CRB check is not currently a compulsory requirement for any self-employed entertainer, most local authorities and schools now insist that all entertainers they hire must supply the relevant documentation beforehand.
2. Do they have public liability insurance? Accidents can happen at anytime, and a room full of excited children bouncing around can be one of the biggest accidents waiting to happen. Regardless of whether you are holding a party in a hall, outdoors or in your home, you should check if the children entertainer holds public liability insurance.
3. Check if the entertainer is a member of any magic societies or Equity. (Equity is the Union of Performers and Artists) Being a member of a society does not mean that you are guaranteed a high quality performance, but it may prove their dedication to their job, and it means you can book the entertainer with peace of mind.
4. What games do you play? All children want to be involved as much as possible with the entertainment, check if the games played require children to remain out for a long time, you want to avoid bored or upset children stood watching whilst others still compete.
5. How varied is the entertainment? If you’re planning on booking someone who is predominantly a magician, then a full hour’s performance is quite hard to keep a small child’s attention. However, if the entertainer breaks it up with use of balloon modelling, some party music or some puppets then even a two-hour show will fly by for the kids.
6. Speak to the entertainer, don’t just rely on emails. If you speak to them first, you’ll be able to judge their communication skills and they should install confidence in you that their performance will be great.
If the entertainer sounds hesitant on the phone, imagine what they’ll be like in front of a room of children.
7. Find out if they have a website. If they do, then you should find plenty of photos online, hopefully with the children entertainer looking well presented and fun, and even some actual photos from some other kids parties they have performed at.
8. How much do they cost? Don’t focus on price too much, you get what you pay for in this world, and a saving of a few quid may end up to be the worst decision you make. Professional children entertainers have costs to pay, insurance and high quality equipment doesn’t come cheap, so shop around and get a good idea of what people are charging.
9. Ask for recommendations. A professional children entertainer will have acquired a thank you letter or two if they have been working for a while, testimonials can say an awful lot about the quality of performance.
10. Pay a deposit and ask for a booking confirmation, always check with the children entertainers what would happen if they are taken ill. Maybe they have a few friends in the industry who could stand in for them at short notice.