Hosting a birthday party for your son or daughter can create special memories to last a lifetime. Yet between sending invitations, tracking food allergies and feeding an army of hungry kids, fun can easily turn into stress. Understandably, the last thing you want is for your child to be disappointed on that special day. However, planning a birthday party doesn’t need to be a pressure-filled experience — it can be a piece of cake with these suggestions:
1. Choose a theme. From a backyard luau to a Star Wars-inspired birthday, a theme serves as the foundation for the party. Talk with your child to select a theme he or she likes. You’ll now have a focus, which can help simplify the rest of your party planning. Making decisions about decorations or invitations, for example, will be much easier once you have a party theme.
2. Guest amount. How many people do you want to accommodate? Who does your child want to invite? Considering the guests’ ages and your space, determine a number you feel comfortable hosting, otherwise the party can become overwhelming.
3. Send digital invites. Instead of buying invitations, envelopes and stamps, email them. You can find great paperless invitations that match your child’s birthday party theme, without spending a cent. Even better, a lot of websites that provide digital invites keep track of RSVPs for you, enabling you to focus on more important party aspects — like food.
4. Inquire about allergies. Worst-case scenario? A child having an allergic reaction from eating your party food. Make a note on the invitation for parents to notify you if their child has an allergy. Be sure to record these and adjust your menu, if needed.
5. Serve kid-friendly food. Now that you have a theme in place and know the guest count, it’s time to plan your menu. Remember, with children, simple is usually the path of least resistance when it comes to food. You don’t have to cook everything from scratch, either. Serve kid-friendly staples that can fit into little hands. Here are some ideas you can purchase a few days before and prep the day of the party:
- Take-and-bake pizzas cut into small squares
- Bite-sized fruit and veggies
- Mini sandwiches or grilled cheeses
- Pigs in a blanket
- Chicken fingers
6. Go with disposable. If you decide to host the party at your home, save yourself the hassle of washing your nice dishes — use disposable plates, cups, napkins and cutlery. Messes are inevitable, but at least that paper plate won’t break and become a sharp hazard if one of your young guests accidentally drops it.
7. Assemble goody bags in advance. Once you know the guest count, you can easily assemble goody bags and store them until the party. You don’t need to spend a fortune on party favors: Gather a few colored pencils, small coloring books, stickers or confetti. Or, go out of the box with a glow-in-the-dark themed goody bag with glow sticks, glow necklaces or glow bracelets. You can usually purchase these in bulk for a reasonable price. Party guests are sure to enjoy them.
8. Ask for help. Being solely responsible for hosting a group of children can be overwhelming. It’s OK to delegate. You don’t have to do it all yourself. Enlist the help of friends and family. It’s a great way to get your loved ones involved in the festivities during this special time in your child’s life.
From the perfect theme to easy-to-prep food to fun goody bags, a successful party boils down to the details. With careful preparation, you can help ensure your kid’s birthday party will be a blast — for everyone involved.