Planning a birthday party can be stressful as there are many details involved and every party planner wants their party to be perfect. Hosting a successful birthday party involves planning, coming up with and sticking to a budget, selecting food and beverages, getting invitations sent out ahead of time and deciding on games and activities. Proper planning and a detailed checklist will take the worry and stress out of planning the perfect party, as will the suggestions below.
Have a Plan
Starting with a plan will help ensure that you are able to host your child’s birthday party successfully while keeping the stress to a minimum. First, pick a location for the party then decide whether or not it will have a theme and whether it will be indoors or outdoors. Finally, decide what day the party will be held so you can get the invitations out. After you have answered these preliminary questions, make your to-do list so that you know what needs to be done ahead of time for the party and what you need to buy. Do not leave the shopping until the last minute as this will only add to your stress level and make it hard for you to enjoy the party.
Create a Budget
Set a budget and stick to it. A child’s birthday party can get expensive quickly, especially as you explore the different options for entertainment, prizes, favors, games, venues and decorations, so sometimes having a spending limit makes decisions for you. When creating your budget, keep in mind that most young children have only three priorities. In no particular order, they are: 1) having their friends over, 2) opening presents and 3) eating cake. The pony rides and clowns performing at the party are extraneous details most kids could care less about; they will not miss them if you can’t afford them.
Set Realistic Expectations
You need to set realistic expectations for your child’s party. Many times parents lose focus and forget that the party idea behind the party is their child celebrating their birthday with their friends; it is not about the parents. Remind yourself of this simple fact by writing on the top of your to-do list, “This birthday party is for my child, not for me.” You also need to keep in mind that anything can happen when you bring a group of kids together so be prepared for tears and a scrape or two. Cake will end up on the floor and punch will be spilled, for these messes are part of just about any party. Encourage good manners, but expect a glitch or two. Rather than getting upset with your child because their best manners are not on display, go with the flow. Don’t worry about so-called party tragedies as these sometimes turn out to be cherished memories.
Games and Activities
Plan games and activities to keep your child and their friends engaged and involved. The younger the children, the more structured the party needs to be because younger children need specific activities to participate in. Older children will enjoy some down time to socialize with their friends. Always have an emergency plan that includes a few extra activities just in case the natives get restless, so to speak.
Ask for Help
If you need help with the party, ask for it. Enlist grandparents, aunts, uncles or even friends to help make sure the party goes smoothly. One common mistake that many people make is trying to do everything themselves. Unfortunately, because you cannot be everywhere at once, you must delegate various tasks to different family members, such as cutting the cake or playing the games. Have somebody assigned to take pictures or record the party for you because parties can get crazy and, if you’re in charge of the party and the photographer, you will miss photo opportunities because you were busy.
When planning the party decide, ahead of time, how many children to invite. While there is no rule about the ideal number of kids to invite to a birthday party, it is important to keep the kid-to-adult ratio in mind because you want to make sure every child is safe and accounted for at all times. Make sure that you have enough space to accommodate the number of children invited and that your child can deal with the number of friends they invited, as some kids handle crowds well while others do not.
Hopefully these common sense tips will help make your child’s next birthday, and the planning that goes into it, easier and less stressful. Remember that there is no shame in asking for help. Parties are supposed to be fun so plan the work then work the plan and enjoy.