Planning a Child's Birthday Party
So your child wants a birthday party with classmates and friends. Now what? Here is a guide to help you plan a great party for your child. Need some help choosing a venue? Check out, Where to Have Your Child’s Birthday Party.
So your child wants a birthday party with classmates and friends. Now what? Here is a guide to help you plan a great party for your child. Need some help choosing a venue? Check out, Where to Have Your Child’s Birthday Party
When to Hold the Party
When scheduling a party it helps to keep in mind the schedule of most of your child’s friends. Religious services may eliminate Friday evenings and Sunday mornings. Sport schedules often mean Saturday mornings are out and evenings aren’t the best time for preschool aged children. We have found that Saturday and Sunday afternoons seem to be the most convenient for the most people and for older children even Friday evenings are usually good times. Do consider the school holiday calendar. While you may be home for the long weekend classmates may be away, meaning your child may not have as many of their friends as they want at their party.
What to Serve
Cake (or cupcakes) is certainly the norm for parties. Other food depends on the time of day. While a party starting at noon seems perfect for lunch at home, at another facility most likely you will eat at the end of the party, which may be 1:30. You may end up with hungry, cranky partygoers especially if you have an active party planned. Plan your food around the time kids will actually be eating. And don’t forget the drinks, juice and water will usually give everyone something they drink. And how much food do you need? While you may only want to serve food to the party guests, chances are that at least some parents and siblings that stay will expect a little something too. While most will skip the food if they see you are running low you probably do want to have enough cake to offer parents and siblings.
Obviously you will need to include for whom, where and when the party is. Those are the obvious blanks to fill it, but the more information you can provide for other parents the better. Parents may be uncomfortable asking for more details, afraid of being rude, so give them the details up front.
Be clear about what you are serving. We’ve been to parties at noon that served only cake at the end of the party to kids who skipped lunch and 2 PM parties that served pizza and snacks. Be clear on what you are serving so parents can make sure they do or do not feed their child before going to the party. This is also important for children who have allergies so parents will know what is being served.
For the RSVP include not only your phone number but your name as well. It often takes me longer to respond to an RSVP if I have to dig out the class list to find out who I am calling. Also consider adding your email address. I know I often think to respond to an RSVP at times I wouldn’t want to call. An email address means I can respond at any time.
Also make sure you include any other pertinent information. Do parents need to sign a release? Include that with the invitation if you can. Do children need to wear socks or special clothes? While it may seem obvious to you that children shouldn’t wear party clothes it doesn’t hurt to remind parents that your party includes potentially messy activities.
Presents – To Open or Not?
Should you have your child open presents at the party or bring them home? For children the presents are often the most exciting part of the party but there are issues to consider. The birthday child, in their excitement, may forget their manners or even another guest. I’ve seen young partygoers in tears because the birthday child didn’t like a gift or someone else made fun of it. If you are unsure about how your child may react it is probably better to open the gifts at home. For me, this is also how I got my children to write their thank you cards. As soon as they open the gift they have to write out the card before they can open another one.
The Day of the Party
Our house is very small so I usually have my children’s parties away from home. And I always seem to forget something. Obviously you will want your camera to capture moments; just make sure it is charged or you have extra batteries. While your child will probably make sure you don’t forget the special dessert make sure you bring candles and matches and a knife to cut the cake. Hand wipes are great for cleaning up sticky hands and faces after eating, much better than the thin napkins the facility usually provides.
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