#1 Involve Your Child
Planning a party is a great opportunity to share a fun time with your child. Plus, involving your child in the party planning will ensure that the party reflects her interests.
There are so many fun things you can do, buy, and make for your child’s party that the party can sometimes become bigger and fancier than it really needs to be. This means extra work, extra cost, and probably less fun for all those involved in making the party happen. Focus on the things that are key to the party fun and most important to your child. When in doubt, put your effort into games and activities, instead of food and decorations.
Don’t spend more than you want or need to. The key pieces of a party; Games & Activities and Fun Food are relatively inexpensive. Check out our Inexpensive Party Ideas to help you stay on budget.
Develop a good outline and timeline for the party. Use our Planning Guide and Planning Checklist to determine what needs to be done when. Have back-up plans in case of rain or a no-show entertainer.
Do as much ahead of time as possible. Then you won’t be in a panic if you get a cold the week before the party or have a huge work project dumped on your lap. Prepare the party favors and games a couple weeks ahead. Then you can spend the days before the party focusing on the things that really must wait until the day before the party, such as preparing the food and putting up the decorations.
#6 Take Short Cuts
Look at your Planning Checklist and identify the things you can purchase ready made or pay someone else to do. Your “I’ll do it myself” list should focus on the things you have to do, because they’re either not available or too expensive to purchase, and the things you really want to do, because it’ll be fun. You might really like to make the party invitations even though you could easily buy them.
#7 Get Help
Give everyone in the family, including the party child, some responsibilities. Dad can pickup the balloons, brother can make the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and the party child can setup the obstacle course. Ask friends to use their unique talents to help. Your artistic friend can make a party banner or do face painting and your gourmet cook friend can help with the food. If you don’t have a lot of time to come up with games and activities, hire an entertainer.
#8 Be Realistic
Don’t think everything has to be perfect. It won’t be. It’s fine to look at party planning books or web sites for ideas and inspiration. Just remember that your party is real-life, not a photo shoot. There will always be something you’d do differently if you had it to do over again. A game you thought would be a big hit will be too easy, too difficult, or too slow. Food you thought kids would devour will go untouched. Don’t dwell on it, but do remember it for the next time.
Also help your child be realistic. Days of anticipation can lead to disappointment. Remind your child that she can have a great time, even if she doesn’t win every game and doesn’t receive every toy she wanted.
#9 Be Flexible
Plan and prepare, but don’t freak out when things don’t go as planned. Be ready to shift gears if a game or activity isn’t a big hit. Be ready to go to plan B. Do crafts in the garage when it starts to rain or plug in a video if the entertainer doesn’t show.
#10 Have Fun
Parties are a great opportunity to share a good time with your child. Remember, it won’t be that long until your child thinks he is too old for parties or just wants to be dropped off at the movies with friends. Enjoy the silly games and sprinkle-covered cupcakes while you can!