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Planning Birthday Parties

Kids’ birthday parties are a ton of fun…at least for the kids! Behind the scenes, parents are trying to find the perfect venue, food, invitations, decorations, party supplies and more. It can be stressful leading up to the day because you want to make sure everything is organized and ready for a bunch of children to show up and have a good time. Here are some tips to make birthday party planning a bit easier, and a lot less stressful.

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When it comes to children’s birthday parties, there’s no time like the “present!” You may think you have plenty of time to get everything planned, but too many times parents have gone to book a venue to find it was already booked, or supplies had to be ordered in and you ended up rushing around on the day itself. Save yourself that trouble and start writing down everything you need. We recommend at least six weeks in advance, but if you have an idea of where the party will be held, get that booked as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Pick a theme

Kids love a themed party! Talk to your child about what theme they would like. Are they into their superheroes? Princesses? Dinosaurs? Themed parties are a whole lot of fun, and they also help you narrow down which activities you could do and what cake to get.

Timing is everything

The day/time of the party seems like the simplest thing to decide, but there are many things you should keep into consideration. First of all, the party should be on a weekend to make it easier for everyone to come to. It should have a set start and end time (leaving it open ended can be frustrating if you want to pack up and get home, especially if the party is not at your home.) Are young children coming? Then try to avoid parties between 1pm and 3pm – that could be nap time! Finally, make sure your child’s best friend can come on the day! This is something quite important to them, even if they don’t say it.

Sort your guest list

Some parents choose to have two parties for their child: one for the kid and one for the adults. The two have very different needs, and you won’t be able to sit and chat with grandparents during a child’s party. This is completely a personal choice though. Children’s parties require different activities and food and a lot of attention while parties for the adult family members are more laid back. Keep this into consideration while making your guest list.

If your child is a bit older, he or she may be able to pick out a few friends they would want to come. If they are younger, you may find yourself inviting quite a few. Decide if you want to invite their whole class, or keep it low key. If it is the latter, then don’t have invitations passed out during class to make anyone feel left out. Discreetly do the inviting yourself directly to the parents.

Party favors

Handing out goody bags at the end of the party? Don’t go overboard. You don’t need to spend a lot on these since kids seem happy with whatever they find inside. Older children may appreciate some candy (again, there is no need to go crazy with it) and younger kids can do well with small bags of Goldfish crackers or even Teddy Grahams, along with a few small items like stickers and bubbles.


You may find yourself having a party at a children’s play center or maybe mini golf or bowling, where the activity is the party, but if you are having the party at home or at a venue without those things to do, then you’ll have to make the fun up yourself. Plan age-appropriate activities and time them so there is some time to play games but there aren’t any huge gaps either. When children start to arrive, have an activity like coloring hats or a birthday sign, then move onto more involved activities. Piñatas are always a “hit” and are easy to get, just make sure you have a place to hang and control it. Get music going and have a dance or put on a scavenger hunt for slightly older kids. If you have prizes, make sure everybody gets something, especially if younger children are involved.

Finally, although you are planning the “perfect” party for your child, remember things don’t always go to plan – and that’s okay! If your young child’s birthday party runs smoothly without any hiccups, then consider yourself one of the lucky ones. There may be a whole lot of mess in the end and even a bit of crankiness from being overly tired, but remember that your child probably had the most wonderful day and to them, it was perfect. You won’t remember the amount of time you spent having to clean up the mess or the cries when it was over, but instead, you’ll look back fondly on the enjoyment had by all.


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