Start planning early
Approximately 4-6 weeks before the party date, determine who you will invite, where you will host the party and what activities will keep the kids entertained. The extra time will allow you to secure a venue and/or entertainment.
Include your child
Ask your kids how they want to celebrate their special day. Some children have definite ideas, others change their minds often. Regardless, it’s good to get their input; it facilitates your success!
Limit the guest list
The rule of thumb is to invite 1+ your child’s age. Admittedly, that’s not always practical, especially if you have a very social/active child, but it does make sense. Even the most extroverted child would eventually melt down from celebrating with too many people!
Stick to one activity
If you only implement one strategy, it’s this one! Kids—younger ones especially— change their minds constantly. Last week, they loved Dora; today, they love Fairies and two weeks from now, they’ll roll their eyes at you because dolls are for babies. To play it safe, decide on an activity or type of entertainment, e.g., ice skating, swimming or magic and then proceed with a theme closer to the party date. This one strategy will save you multiple trips to the party supply store!
Splurge on a cake!
Once you’ve finalized the guest list and secured entertainment, then you may order the cake … and since you’re not driving yourself crazy with decorations, food and goodie bags, you can splurge on the cake! Again, involve your child in the ordering process, incorporate their theme and make it the centerpiece of the party. After all, your child will feel exceptionally special surrounded by all of his/her friends as they sing “happy birthday” (as well as “cha-cha-cha, kumbaya, hi-ya!")
Again, birthday parties should be special, not stressful, celebrations. The key is to focus on a few meaningful details to avoid losing your mind!