1. Plan your party size carefully:
The guest list will likely dictate the rest of your party- preparation plans. Questions like “where should I host the party?” and “what decorations should I prepare?” will all depend on how many people you plan on inviting. A small party, for example, could fit in your backyard. A larger party might require you to find a special birthday venue, like a bounce house or a local park.
2. Define a clear start and end time for the party:
If you are throwing a party at home, make sure the guests (and their parents) are crystal-clear about when the kids should be dropped off, and when they should be picked up. Try to keep the party time between 1-2 hours, especially for the younger ones who might tire out more quickly. This will also prevent you from entertaining guests hours after the party is technically over.
3. Plan food and beverages around the time of day:
You will probably provide some sort of cake, cupcake, or dessert at the party. But what about other food items? If you’re throwing a party in the afternoon, consider setting out smaller snacks, like pretzels, popcorn, or cookies. If you’re planning on inviting guests over around lunchtime or dinnertime, prepare to serve some heartier food, like pizza, hot dogs, or burgers.
4. Opt for digital invitations over physical ones:
Snail mail is on its way out, so don’t rely on it to send party invitations. Online platforms like Evite will let you create, send, and track party invitations via email. Digital invitations are much easier to keep track of--plus, they’re completely free!
5. Keep an eye out for party supplies, all year round:
There are usually huge discounts on party supplies after New Years and the 4th of July. Take advantage of discounts whenever you see them, even if you don’t have any parties coming up soon!
6. Simplify your party favors:
Instead of giving every child a bag of plastic nick-nacks, consider investing in just one item for each guest. This could look like a small coloring book, a crossword puzzle, a homemade cupcake, or some extra cookies for each person on their way out.
7. Consider opening gifts after the party:
Opening gifts after the cake-cutting feels like a necessary birthday tradition. However, you might consider letting your child open gifts after the party, especially if they are five or under. If your child doesn’t react a certain way to a gift, then someone’s feelings could end up getting hurt. If your party is celebrating multiple birthdays, then children could also end up arguing over new toys or games. It might be worth it to wait until the guests are gone, before unwrapping presents.
8. Get some extra help:
Consider enlisting the help of friends, relatives, or neighbors. An extra pair of hands will save you a ton of time and effort when it comes to decorating on the day of the party. And after a couple of hours of high-energy fun, you’ll definitely appreciate some additional help with taking down the same decorations.
9. Simplify the schedule:
While you might feel pressured to incorporate as many party activities as possible to accommodate for everyone’s preferences, remember that a packed schedule can also stress out the party guests. If your party is only going on for an hour or so, then plan for one or two main activities. The most common party mistake is planning for too many things at once!
10. Be flexible on the day of the party:
Parents deserve to have fun at birthday parties as well! Acknowledge the fact that you won’t be able to control everything, and you’ll feel a lot more relaxed and organized on the day of the party.