Got big party plans? Before you go completely wild consider our top ten birthday party tips that will guarrantee your Big Day is remembered for all the right reasons:
- If your child has a best friend make sure they can come on the date you are planning for the party before you go ahead with bookings and invitations. The day just won’t be the same without their partner in crime by their side.
Involve the birthday party child in the planning
- If your child is old enough, sit down with her and offer a few suggestions for the birthday party theme – to avoid disappointment perhaps write down the options you are prepared to invest your time and money in and then let her choose from the list. Don’t ask your child to come up with the party plan because tears may follow when you say no to a petting zoo on your apartment balcony.
Plan, plan, plan – and then plan some more
- Plan what party food the kids are going to eat, what party games they will play and what to give to each child when they leave. Start collecting party paraphernalia a couple of weeks prior to the big day and store it all in a plastic tub so it’s easy to access when party time arrives.
- Keep track of who you’ve invited to the party, as well as who has RSVPd and any special requests.
- Big is not always best – don’t get trapped into inviting everyone your child has ever known.
- The rule of thumb is that the number of guests should be the age of your child plus one once your child is aged three and over.
- If you are planning party games make sure you invite an even number of children so no one is left out.
- Older children handle bigger groups better than younger children.
- Order personalised invitations six weeks before the party. Send out invitations at least three weeks ahead of time. Many venues provide invitations so make sure to ask if you’re holding the party away from home.
- You can download and print your own invitations to send out to guests.
- Weekend parties are better for younger children and family can attend too, while older children will enjoy an after school party, if you can manage it. They love spending all day in anticipation of going home together, plus your party won’t clash with Saturday sport. If you are planning a Sunday party, keep in mind some people attend church in the morning.
- The time of day you choose to start your child’s party depends on whether you want to serve a party meal or cut straight to birthday cake.
- If serving a meal, start the party between 11.00am -12.30pm or 5.00pm – 6.30pm
- If you plan to serve cake only, have your party two hours before or one hour after traditional meal times so your guests won’t arrive or go home hungry.
- Home parties are generally less expensive than hired venues and you are free to hold the party at whatever time suits your family and guests.
- Venues, on the other hand, can be exciting and make your job a lot easier.
- If you want to serve a small meal, keep the party food offerings simple. Familiar snacks like pizza or sandwiches work well and can be turned into special party food by using cookie cutters to make star-shaped sandwiches or heart-shaped pizza. If parents are dropping off children at the party, be sure you know about any food allergies. It’s best to avoid anything with nuts (including peanut butter sandwiches) because so many children are allergic to them. Or order in to save time.
- Sometimes old-fashioned party games work best for the youngest children. Pin the tail on the donkey and musical chairs are exciting for four-year olds because they may be discovering them for the first time. Six year olds may like more challenging games like Treasure hunt or pinata. Older children will be ready for simple crafts like making ribbon wands or making party poppers.
- Do you or don’t you open presents with your party guests? Opening presents after everyone has gone home is much less stressful (there is no one to hear your child announce he or she doesn’t like the present) and you are less likely to lose bits and pieces if you are on hand. It is also a wonderful way to end a day that may well have been filled with both laughter and tears. If you open presents after everyone has left, it’s nice to send thank you notes. Ask your child to tell you why they loved each gift and include it in the note. Some editing may be required.