Birthday parties can be either a blast or an extreme headache. I prefer to make parties memorable for all those involved and not become stressed out in the process. The 8 tips on throwing a birthday party for a little kid that I've listed below are ones I've gathered over the years. Even though my kids are all teenagers, I still remember the days of parties for the wee ones. They were a blast!
8. Begin Planning Well in Advance
Last minute birthday parties are possible, but they sometimes don't turn out the way you'd hoped. Planning things out a few weeks before the party is to happen will give you time to think of just about everything. It's always good to write the plan out and save it for the next birthday party. I always had an ongoing list that got updated and altered from time to time. This made it so much easier to make sure everything got done well before the party was to take place.
7. Pick a Theme That All Kids Will Enjoy and Let Parents Know
Most of the time you can choose a theme your own child likes and the other kids will follow suit. I always found it very easy to pick themes that all kids enjoy. It's best to let the parents in on what the theme is for the party too. This will give them the opportunity to make sure their child has the right costume, if needed. Not all birthday parties need to be a dress-up event, but kids do like to dress as their favorite character every now and then. They do get a kick out of seeing each other in costumes too.
6. Know Your Limits
It’s nice of you to want to invite the entire neighborhood, but one person can only handle so many children on their own. There is a supposed party rule when it comes to determining how many small children to invite to a kid's birthday party. The rule is that you take the age of the child and add one onto it for the number of kids to invite. I never used this rule, since a party with only 2 or 3 kids never sounded like much fun. I do recommend that if you aren't a very organized person or are easily stressed out, try to have a fewer number of kids than you think you can handle. After one party, you might have a better idea as to what your limits are and more can kids can be invited to the next shindig.
5. Ask for Reliable Help
If you have a close friend who you can count on – no matter what – then be sure to see if this person is available on the party date. Some parents might also be attending the party, but if you don’t know these individuals that well things could still get out of control. I would much rather make sure I had help I could rely on then hope for a couple of parents to step in and lend a hand. I want surety when it comes to something like managing small children in a party situation!
4. Devise Games Where There Aren’t Any Losing Sides
If you are able to give prizes to each child that takes part in a game, then you won't have to worry about any unhappy faces at the party. I used to put all prizes in a bag and let the first child who finished the game draw something from the bag first. I would then work my way down the list of kids. It helps to have similar prizes. One type of prize the kids always liked was glow sticks. I would buy a multi-pack of them and each child would get to choose a color from the bag. I always made sure to include enough extra sticks that each child had a choice between at least 2 or 3 colors.
3. Have Plenty of Party Favors
Not only should you count on having extra party favors lying around, but also try to stick to the theme. Little kids notice things like this. You’d be surprised at how observant some of them are. It's hard to know when someone is going to have smaller sibling show up with them or if a party favor bag will end up damaged. Pack up party favors well before everyone arrives and pass them out as the kids leave. If you hand them out in advance, there is going to be a higher chance of favor bags getting lost or misplaced.
2. Work in the Party around Nap Time
There’s nothing like having a party during nap time and dealing with a room full of cranky little kids. Try to schedule the party a couple of hours before nap time or a couple of hours afterwards. You might be better off to check with parents as to when nap time for their child is, if you are dealing with kids who still take naps. If nap time isn't an issue, then you're in luck!
1. Be Organized and Overly Prepared
Not everyone can afford to hire out a birthday party planner. I always had to do all my planning on my own, but man was it fun! It’s hard to try and think of every possible thing. I got help from friends and after a few times of throwing birthday parties, I learned quite a bit of what not to do and what really went over well.
I almost wish my kids were still little enough to enjoy birthday parties like we used to have. I hope these 8 tips on throwing a birthday party for a little kid enable you to create a memorable party for your child. Feel free to pass these tips on to others as well. What party tips have you gathered over the years that you feel have helped you to keep your sanity during these often hectic events?