Planning Your Child’s Birthday Party – With Sanity Intact

The key to organizing a great birthday party for a child — with your sanity intact — is keeping it simple and remembering that the most important thing to your child is having fun.

If you aim for the perfect party, odds are you’ll only stress yourself. 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. Keep the focus on fun.

Alicia on “Fun being a State of Mind”:

Forget perfect. Of course you want everyone to have a good time. But remember that these are kids and what seemed like a crisis minutes ago 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 than whether the clown showed up on time.

No matter what happens, just go with the flow.

Sarah on “The Kids’ Section”:

When planning the party, break it up into sections. Start with a timetable. Once you’ve mapped out the basic plan, write tasks on a 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-dos. When children help with the planning, they become an important part of the process and get a sense of ownership.

A few tips:

#1. 2Fers
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 can take home and re-use — a reminder of a great party.

Make sure all the flip-flops are the same color — for one main reason: “I want blue!” “No, you take red!” Other great 2Fers include a candy-filled pinata; homemade cupcakes that the kids decorate; and Polaroid pictures with Popsicle-stick frames.

Parents, let us know of any other ideas you might think of.

#2. E-vites
Save time and money by sending electronic invitations. More and more parents are using e-mail, but even if there are some out there who are a bit e-shy, we guarantee their kids are not. Save a tree; use a computer.

#3. E-tiquette
It is important to teach our little ones good manners, and that includes letting everyone know how grateful your child is that friends came and brought gifts.

Again, the Internet may be the perfect vehicle. There is somewhat of a debate about this. Some say the importance of thank-you notes automatically pushes this into the paper realm. If you feel this way, get blank note cards, markers and stamps — once again, at the dollar store — and have some post-party fun with your kids. If your child is just learning to write, consider fill-in-the-blank thank-you cards.