It’s Party Time!

Is there anything sweeter than seeing your child’s face light up with joy on their birthday?

Most children look forward to their big day all year long and can barely contain their excitement as it approaches (ah, remember the days when another birthday was a cause for celebration?!). As parents we naturally want to nurture that youthful exuberance and often feel compelled to make sure they have the ‘perfect’ party, fanning the flames of their anticipation for days, weeks or even months.

A frenzy of party planning ensues and when the big day arrives, we’re often too exhausted, stressed out and wound up to fully revel in their enthusiasm and delight. For your child’s next birthday, rather than bogging down in planning details, we encourage you to stay focused on the big picture and on having fun.

Sarah on ‘A Perfect Illusion’

‘There is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ birthday party. The potent combination of adrenaline, sugar, and gifts creates a highly unstable environment where anything can happen (and often does)! Get comfortable with the fact that Johnny’s going to have too much cake and end up with a tummy ache, Susie Q. will throw herself into a jealous rage over the birthday girl’s coloring book, and the fastidious Mrs. Smith will gasp in horror when she sees milk being served that isn’t organic.

Here’s the truth: children don’t care if the napkins are Bounty paper towels, the cake is store bought, and the favors cost $0.99. They are bursting with imagination and can overlook those details. They simply want an environment in which they can truly celebrate the birthday boy/girl. So concentrate on that and you’ve got a recipe for success.’

Alicia on ‘The Basics’

‘Many people start planning the details before they have the big picture in place. But it is easier to take care of details like balloon colors and cake designs after you’ve considered the basic party parameters. The big three are: theme, size and place. Your child will probably have a theme in mind, so that’s usually easy to check off the list. And once you’ve decided on number of people to invite it’s easy to figure out where to host the event. Once you’ve got those three basics figured out, you should focus on the 20% of details that will bring the theme to life and forget about the remaining 80% that are trivial to the success of your party.’

Here are three tips for organizing your kid’s birthday party:

#1: Keep Them Busy
There is no destructive force greater than a group of 5 year-olds with nothing to do. To keep kids from getting into things, plan to keep them entertained from the time they arrive until the time they leave. Put together a schedule so that from the start of the party until they leave there is always something going on. Simple games and activities at the beginning and end of the party like charades or a piñata are always crowd pleasers.

#2: Gift Opening
Although opening gifts is the best part for the birthday boy/girl, it’s often the most trying time for little guests who may be prone to fits of jealousy. Consider making a game of it: have everyone (except the giver) guess what is in the present. The winner receives a lollipop or balloon.

#3: Do It Yourself Party Favors!
Putting together favor bags can be time consuming and expensive. Why not have the kids make something at the event that they can take home with them? Try baking plain cupcakes or cookies, have an activity to let everyone decorate their own with frostings and sprinkles, and then package up so the kids can take home. Another idea is to have kids plant in a small pot with seeds or small seedlings and take home their own plant.