It happens to the best of us. No matter how much we’ve prepared for a kids birthday party, sometimes things go wrong. Something gets forgotten.
There are unexpected arrivals, missing parents, upset kids. No birthday party is perfect. Sometimes things just don’t work out.
But still, we try.
A little forethought can go a long way toward making your next birthday party a success. Avoid the stressful party moments with planning and organization. The bigger your upcoming bash, the more planning you’ll need.
Follow these guidelines for a can’t miss birthday.
9 Surefire Tips to Help Plan Your Kids Birthday Party
1. Have a plan, Stan
Before you can do any real work, you have to know what you’re working toward. This is the time to make decisions. Is the party at home or outdoors? Is it a group party at an event place? Get your notebook and answer the following three questions:
- Where is the party?
- When is the party?
- What is your budget?
Be sure to get input from your child about what they would like to do. You don’t want to change your plan halfway through. I speak from experience here 🙂
2. Write it down
Skip nothing. Create a list of everything you’ll need to do, buy and communicate. Be specific. For example:
- Order cake
- Buy cake
- Buy drinks
- Buy chips
- Call event location
- Wrap gifts, etc.
Think of every little step you can and write it down. It’s probably a long list. We’re going to work from this sheet for a bit.
3. Let’s talk money
Look at your list. Pick out everything that’s going to cost money and estimate the amount. Make sure you include:
- Food, snacks and drinks
- Decorations and party favors
- Supplies (plates, napkins, tape, wrapping paper, etc)
- Thank you notes and postage
- Entertainment (performers, bounce houses, etc)
Are you within your budget? If not, figure out where you can trim or find more budget money. You shouldn’t move on from this point unless you’ve solidified your budget.
4. Set the plan
By now, you should have a complete list of tasks and a budget that works. Take a look at your to-do list and start grouping items that you’ll buy at the same time.
Put groups together that make sense. You won’t need to pick up ice cream until you get the cake.
Not everything can be grouped, but do what you can.
Give each group a number and enter the number into your calendar on the day that you want to do it. Keep the lists with you. If you find yourself able to take care of something in your travels, then just remove it from the group that it’s in.
Some tasks are more important.
Determine which ones are most critical to your perfect party and schedule them first. If you haven’t booked your reservation, pencil that in for the first available day in your plan.
Take care of the priority items first, then, in the middle weeks, do the tasks that aren’t as critical. Buy the gifts, collect RSVPs, clean.
In the final week, you’ll only have to worry about the last minute things, like cake and such.
Give your plan one last go-over. Does it make logical sense? Does it covers everything you’ll need to buy and do?
5. Communicate with parents
The tough part is over. Once you’ve got a plan in place, it’s a breeze. You can get to the fun stuff like sending out invitations.
I imagine you placed send invitations somewhere shortly after booking your reservation on your to-do list, right?
This part is important. When you’re creating the invitations, do everyone a favor and let the parents know what’s expected of them. Besides the obvious date, time and place, let them know if their child will need money, swimwear or, maybe, a Nerf gun. Include your child’s current interests, too!
Let them know if parental attendance is required or optional. Nicely, of course. If it’s optional, be clear about a pickup time.
No birthday party is complete without some fun. Whether it’s backyard bouncers, contests or table crafts be sure to include ways to entertain.
Larger groups of children tend to split up when left to their own devices. Keep things flowing and inclusive with some structured activity before letting them loose.
We’re seeing more and more people having parties at various themed family entertainment places. They’re popping up everywhere. They’re a lot of fun and they certainly save a lot of time and housekeeping.
My favorites are a place near Tampa called Extreme Adventure, and another in Edmonton called Combat Archery. Kids run around through a medieval course shooting each other with big cushioned arrows. Good times.
7. There’s always one
You can’t satisfy everyone. No matter how awesome your party is, there’s always a chance that you’ll have an unhappy camper. At the younger ages, some kids just aren’t good in larger groups. It can be helpful to have a backup activity planned for such occasion.
8. Fire up the pen again
If you can do it without being obvious, make a list of the gifts and who they came from. That way, you can send personalized thank you notes to the families. It’s always nice to include a photo of their child having fun, if you can.
9. Make it a Baker’s Dozen
If you’re planning to give away anything at all to children, have extra. Think goodie-bags, special snacks or crafts. It’s not uncommon at all for someone to bring a sibling or two without checking first. No one wants to see quivering-lipped children at a birthday party.
If you’re having a recreational party, make sure that the staff can accommodate any extras that show up.
Give yourself a fighting chance and start early. Birthdays get easier as you do them more. Above all else, have fun with your family.
If you’ve got some tips to share, please drop a comment below. We’d love to hear from you.