Planning a kids birthday party can be a lot of fun, but it can be stressful too. Especially if you feel like you’re competing with all the other moms to pull off the best bash. Step one, don’t compete! Celebrate in whatever style suits you best. I’ve done my fair share of kids party planning over the years – most recently for my sweet granddaughter, Goldie’s birthday (more on that to come soon) and the best parties come from the heart. Here are some of my top tips for keeping things on track (and maintaining your sanity!).
Choose a theme your child loves. A theme is always a great idea, since it gives you direction for food, games and décor. Make sure you pick a party theme that your child will love, not just one that you do. If you want to make sure it’s achievable, come up with a few alternatives and let them pick whichever they like best. (Hereare a few of my suggestions.)
Consider the venue carefully. There are advantages and disadvantages to having a kids party at home. On the one hand, you can often put more creativity into the décor. On the other, they can be a lot more work. If you do choose an external venue, be sure to book early.
Choose a convenient time and date. If your child’s birthday is on or around a holiday, your best bet is to choose a date when guests can actually get there (even if it isn’t the exact birthdate). That way, they won’t be disappointed with no-shows. It’s also worth carefully considering the time of the party, depending on the age of the children. You don’t want to mess with nap time!
Keep it short. Two or three hours is a good time allowance for a kids party. That allows the children enough time to enjoy some fun and food. Be sure to state both the start and end times on the invitation (especially for pick-up situations).
Keep it simple. It’s important to keep kids busy, whether it’s with games, activities or entertainment. But don’t try to cram in too much. Pick two or three activities and give the kids a chance to enjoy them. The same principle applies when it comes to décor. Make it easy on yourself wherever you can. My top find at the moment is Bunch O Balloons, which allows you to fill 40 self-sealing party balloons in just 40 seconds (complete with strings attached and no tying needed)!
Send invitations several weeks in advance. Weekends get booked up quickly, so it’s important to give parents plenty of notice. You could send a digital save the date before following it up with a paper invitation that fits with your party theme. Shutterfly has a great selection to choose from.
Expect the unexpected. As with all events, kids party planning should include being prepared for all contingencies. For example, if it’s an outdoor party, have a rain plan. You should also make sure to have extra favors or activity kits for unexpected guests and siblings too.
The good news is that kids are really quite easy to please. They won’t care if every detail is perfect, as long as they can spend some time running around with their friends and feel like the center of attention for the day. And planning a menu of simple (and affordable food) is always a crowd pleasure with kids. Remember that, and it all becomes much easier!