decorative balloons

Party Planning: General Tips

  1. Here's the number one party planning tip: involve the host child in the planning and preparation from day one! For starters, show them some of the ideas on this site, which may trigger happy thoughts immediately or prompt original ideas of their own. Let them help plan the theme, location, guest list, menu, games, etc. They can help decorate invitations, fill loot bags, blow up balloons, even help "childproof," or clean up the house before the big day!
  2. Make the party manageable. It's tempting to invite the whole second grade class for the afternoon, but you'll likely regret it. So if your child is getting a little too carried away with theme or number of guests (e.g. a day at space camp with his 30 closest friends), you may have to guide it back to something more manageable (space-theme party at home for 10 friends).
  3. For peace of mind, begin planning 6 to 8 weeks in advance to allow time to purchase and mail invitations, as well as to give your guests time to RSVP and make travel plans, if needed. But don't panic if you find yourself short on time; you can still plan a great party! Planning ahead simply reduces the risk of conflicts with guests' plans and may increase attendance.
  4. When selecting a day of the week for the party, consider your child's age and the guest list. If you plan to invite your baby/toddler's playgroup, any weekday should work well. Just remember to avoid nap times! If you plan to invite your family (especially if they live out-of-town) and/or your child's friends from school, it's best to have the party on the weekend (but beware Saturday and Sunday mornings, when sports or religious events tend to take place).
  5. The time of day you choose to start your child's party depends on whether you want to serve an actual meal or just cake and/or snacks. If serving a meal, start the party between 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. or 5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. If you plan to just serve cake, have the party two hours before, or one hour after, traditional meal times. You may also want to set an ending time for the party if you are inviting school-age children. That way, parents will know when to drop off and pick up their kids.
  6. Prepare ALL of the activities, games, and as much of the food as possible before the party. This will allow you to focus on the kids once the party begins. Try setting up your party in activity stations so that the necessary prizes and game accessories are there where you need them, when you need them.
  7. Ask a friend, family member or neighbor to help with the party, especially if no other parents will be staying. It's likely you have a neighborhood teenager who would love to help, when offered a few dollars for their time.
  8. Children remember what they did at a party much more than what they ate, what the plates and napkins looked like or whether the house was spotless (it will doubtfully be that way five minutes into the party anyways). So don't sweat the details and concentrate instead on the activities and creating a fun environment. Remember to relax, have fun yourself, and enjoy the celebration of your child's birth!

Princess birthday girl

colored uninflated balloons