Every parent wants her child to have a wonderful, memorable birthday party. But often, mothers planning elaborate parties don’t get to enjoy the party themselves, because it’s so much stress to set up, pull off and clean up afterwards. Read on for
eight tips for having a party that your kids will love — and you will, too.
Theme It Up
Any party’s more fun when you put a theme to it, and kid’s birthday parties especially benefit from a focussed approach to your planning. Personalised invitations, bespoke decorations and even fancy dress can be a part of your theme. This is a great way to involve your youngster in the process too. Who’s your kid’s favourite character? What animals are they infatuated with recently? Careers, TV shows, even ecosystems can be a great starting point for your decoration and menu plans. If you do choose a theme, make sure you’ve given yourself enough time to properly pull it off. It’s no fun to be searching the shops for a “purple pirate” costume with matching balloons the night before your kid’s big day.
Play Active Games and Thinking Games
When we make a list of activities for kids to indulge in, most of us head straight for the wear-them-out variety. Anything that involves running, jumping or screaming is sure to be a hit, right? But cut yourself some slack by incorporating games into the party that focus on children’s cognitive abilities. Even quiet games are fun, and these will give you some head space to plan the next activity, snap some pics of the festivities and maybe even sit down for a bit and chat with your own friends in attendance.
Make Crafts instead of giving party Favors
One of the biggest expenses of a child’s birthday party is the party favours. Parents seem to go overboard with take-home treats for their little one’s friends. Don’t let your guests leave empty-handed, but try not to splash out on kiddie bounty either. Let your child and his or her friends make their own party favours by having a crafts station where each guest can create a lovely keepsake.
Get Out for the Day
Who says a party has to be in one place? As long as you’ve got willing participants in the other children’s parents, plan for the party to hit the beach, play sports or go for a nature walk. Going out will make for great pictures and save you money on decorations. You won’t have to clean up afterward, either. If you choose to do an outing to a zoo or other attraction where you’ll be footing the bill for a whole group of youngsters, it can get expensive — choose your destination wisely.
Give Everyone a Responsibility
If most of the children attending the party are ones you know well and you are comfortable giving directions to, make the party a group responsibility. Get everyone pitching in to make and hang decorations and serve the food. If you go this route, give everyone a clean-up duty at the beginning of the party, so they don’t forget in the excitement of cake, candles and general mayhem.
Don’t Stress About the Menu
Strangely, many mothers think they need to outdo themselves when it comes to the food they serve at their children’s birthday parties. Overall, kids are just as happy with a simple feast of pies, crisps and fruit as they are with anything that takes you an age to whip up in the kitchen. If you have chosen to follow a theme, you can use that as inspiration for your snack items. Giving food silly names might be enough to tickle the fancy of your youngsters — calling green grapes “ogre’s marbles” is an example. Before you get too inventive with your menu, make sure that you’re not serving something that could trigger a food allergy in one of your guests. If you want to serve nuts (or peanut butter), check with all
the guests’ parents before you decide.
Set a Budget
The best way not to stress about the party? Plan for everything — especially your costs. Just as pre-planning should cut any time crunch in the days before the party, sticking to a budget will stop you from feeling guilt or remorse over what you spent on the party. A budget will help you keep the party from getting out of hand, too. When your son or daughter asks, “Can we have elephant rides?” for the umpteenth time, calmly consult your budget and say, “no, luv, we can’t.”
About the Author: Flora Dunhill blogs regularly on the challenges of raising two sets of twins. Born in Tamworth, she now lives in Sydney.