Planning the perfect party for your child may seem like a daunting task that has a lot of planning necessary for it to go off without a hitch. While kids parties have a lot of moving parts, strategic planning will allow you to enjoy the festivities yourself! Here are 9 tips for a stress-free birthday party.
Deciding on a theme should always be the first step of planning a party for your child. “Once you have got this down the other details can be decided in accordance with it” says interior designer Gary Hamer. “Having your theme chosen will allow you to select locations, entertainers, decorations and food that suits the theme”.
Asking your child what theme they would like is a great place to start or just basing the party off of their favourite movie or cartoon character is generally easy and will usually have some sort of decor available.
Selecting a venue is important because it will change the amount of prep work you need to complete. You should opt for a location that is safe, weather appropriate and encourages children to play together in an entertaining environment. Consider how much space you will need to easily enjoy the games or entertainment you have planned and don’t forget about places for the adults to sit.
Your budget will vary depending on your vision for the event. If you want a party where everything is handled, you could opt for a party package at a children’s play centre or bowling alley. These parties may be more expensive than a home gathering but will be far easier because everything from the food to the entertainment is taken care of.
If you’re set on a home party just ensure you budget for the following:
- Refreshments: party food, drinks and cake.
- Entertainment: party games and/or children’s entertainers.
- Gifts and Prizes: goody bags for your guests and prizes for game winners.
- Decorations: streamers, balloons and themed decorations.
Once you have the basic elements of the party decided on, you need to send out the invites. You should ask your child a few times who they would like to invite so the list is the most accurate. Ensure you decide on a number of children you can handle and specify on the invite if you would prefer parents to help your chaperone.
If you’re using paper invites, it is best to hand the invites out to parents rather than children during school hours if you don’t intend on inviting the entire class to avoid any children feeling left out. You can also email or post the invites if you have the necessary addresses.
Important things to include on the invitation:
- Invited child’s name
- Your child’s name and the age they are turning
- Date and location of the party
- Start and finish time of the party (especially if parents will be picking up their children rather than staying throughout)
- Your phone number
- A request for parents to RSVP by a certain date via text
- A request for parents to specify via text if their child has allergies or dietary restrictions
Selecting food and beverages for your child’s party can be tricky. You may have picky eaters or guests with allergies or dietary restrictions. This is why it is so important to ask parents on the invite so you can be prepared ahead of time.
“Some common allergens to be aware of include peanuts, milk, eggs, soy, tree nuts, wheat, fish and shellfish” says nutritionist Vicki Witt. “Also be aware of gluten as a number of people are intolerant”.
Once you have eliminated any food your guests can’t eat, try thinking of ways to incorporate the theme into your food spread (eg. if your theme is jungle you could opt for animal shaped foods). Try googling the theme + food and you should get a vast range of options.
Consider if you will need cooking amenities for the food if you’re away from home and think of how you will store refrigerated food. Again, don’t forget about your adult guests who would surely appreciate a nice cheese board or sandwich selection over dino nuggets.
- Goody Bags:
These are the little gifts you give to your guests when they leave. They are a staple of children’s birthday parties and can be customised to your preference.
Great additions to make to goody bags include:
- Mini toys (eg. plastic animals, matchbox cars etc)
- Temporary tattoos
- Small fidget toys
- Mini water pistols
- Coloured pencils
- Lollies (if the guests parents permit)
- Set a Schedule:
Obviously you will never be able to stick to a strict schedule with children but having a basic outline of the day can help things to run smoothly and ensure you don’t run out of things to do.
“Be sure you allow ample time for your guests to arrive before beginning any activities as people can often arrive later than the start time” recommends the event planners from Series of Events Australia.
Things to include in your schedule:
- Arrival period
- Birthday Cake
- Entertainer Performance
- Party Games
- Present Opening
- Prepare the Games:
Party games are certainly the basis of a great party so ensure you prepare them ahead of time for the best results.
Crowd favourite kid’s party games and activities include:
- Musical chairs
- Pin the tail on the donkey
- Egg and spoon race
- Pass the parcel
- Musical Statues
- Face Painting
- Take lots of photos:
These memories are going to be cherished by you and your family forever so be sure to document every moment. If you think you’ll be too preoccupied with the party, ask a friend or family member to take pictures or you could hire a professional photographer. If you run low on time just focus on snapping the birthday candle blowout, present opening and action shots of the party games.