We are all busy with work, running the home, driving the kids to their events/activities, and doing charity work. Who has time to plan the perfect birthday party for your little one?
The key to creating a great birthday party, with sanity intact, for little ones is to keep it simple and remembering that the most important thing to your child(ren) is that they have a fun party. If you then try to plan and pay for the perfect party, odds are that you will only end up creating a tense situation with excessive expectations which will create stress; and stress is the opposite of relaxed and enjoyable, which is what every good party needs to be. So, don’t over plan, overwork, or over worry and keep the focus on fun.
Alicia on “Fun being a State of Mind”
“Don’t get caught up trying to make the perfect party. Of course you want everyone to have a good time, but remember that these are kids and they what seemed like a crisis five minutes will be forgotten as soon as the next fun thing begins. Think back to your own childhood parties. Do you remember every detail? Or just the fact that you had parties? The long-lasting memories you are creating are more about positive feelings then whether or not the clown showed up on time. So no matter what happens, just go with the flow. And if a complete disaster does occur, just start talking the very next day about the next exciting thing coming along in the not too distant future.”
Sarah on “The Kids’ Section”
“When planning the party, break it up into sections. Start with a time table. Is it realistic that you can get everything done that morning before anyone arrives? Doubtful! The reason it must be done before is so that you can, as Alicia said, go with the flow for the rest of the party. As all parents know, screaming and overly excited kids are not prone to waiting. Once you’ve mapped out the basic plan, write tasks on your to-do list. I love using the Do&Delegate.list notebook from Buttoned Up for my lists because it makes it easier to enlist the help of my child and husband in tackling to-do’s. When children participate in the planning they become an important part of the process and get a sense of ownership.”
Here are a few tips to help you party like it’s 1999.
Make one activity with a take home component the focus of the party, saving time and money (thus a 2fer). For instance, go to the local dollar store and pick up Flip-Flops, glitter, cloth ribbon, stickers, neon fabric paint and anything else you think kids would like to decorate with. Then open the party with the shoe decoration and everyone will have 1: personalized shoes and, 2: a party favor they take home and re-use, reminding them of the great party. One final note: make sure you get all the same color Flip-Flops for reasons we doubt we need to explain (no, I want blue; no, you take red). Other great 2Fers include a candy-filled Piñata; home-made cupcakes that the kids decorate; and Polaroid pictures with Popsicle stick frames (moms, let us know of any you think of).
Save time and money by sending electronic invitations. More and more parents are using email, but even if there are some out there who are a bit e-shy, we guarantee their kids are not. For anyone whose birthday starts with at least 199-something or anything starting with a 2—, if it does not happen in the virtual world, it just does not happen. You create a template on a word doc and cut and paste into the e-mail while only having to change names for each recipient. Save a tree; use a computer.
Once the party’s over, the band will play on and the tune is called “Thank you notes.” It is important to teach our little ones good manners and that includes letting everyone know how grateful your child is that their friends came and probably brought gifts. Again, the internet may be the perfect vehicle. There is somewhat of a debate about this with some saying that the importance of the thank you pushes it automatically into the paper realm. If you feel this way, get some blank note cards, makers and stamps—once again at the dollar store—and have some after party fun with your kids. If your child is just learning how to write, we have even seen some really neat fill in the blank thank you cards, which make tackling those thank you’s less onerous, but still thoughtful.