My Children. My Opinions. My Tales.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Planning the perfect, stress-free party

Planning any type of party can be stressful, I guess that is why people hire party planners, but in reality if you plan ahead and have a game plan…it doesn’t have to be stressful.

Pick a time.

Obviously any party you plan will fall somewhere around your child’s birthday, but be sure to pick a time that agrees with your child and your child’s friends. I can’t tell you how many birthday parties we have attended over nap time, and it is hard. Determine their best time. For babies it may be mid-morning or early afternoon, but for toddlers you may be looking at mid-morning or late-afternoon. Next, determine whether or not you want to serve lunch or snacks. You don’t want to have a party at noon and only serve chips and soda. And last, have an end-time. 3 hours seems to be the going time period for a party. Just make sure you have a time for people to leave, cause you never know how long they may stay!

Pick a theme.

It can be Elmo, Dora, Thomas the Train or something generic, but having a theme will help you coordinate from the invites to the party favors. Once you choose a theme that your child would enjoy, you can begin looking at party supplies.

Pick a place.

Having a party at home is a great way to keep cost down, but you have to spend countless hours cleaning before and after the party…which can be a downer. So, it may be worth going to a place that specializes in birthday parties.

Pick the entertainment.

If you are going to have 12 toddlers running around, it is sometimes best to have something to entertain them. Whether that is at a place that specializes in birthday parties or bringing the entertainment to you, there are magicians, puppeteers, gyms, restaurants, etc. I suggest checking with friends, the local Yellow pages, or the internet. But if you go with someone that you are not familiar with, ask for and check their references.

But it isn’t always necessary to have big entertainment…sometimes (like a friend of mine just did) making a big fort out of a cardboard box and blowing bubbles is all they need to have a good time at the party. Or even a few simple and fun games like the classic pin the tail on the donkey or a pinata.

Pick the supplies.

We have one party supply store within 10 miles of our house, but there is Target and Walmart and the Dollar Store…but themes are limited. That is why I ventured onto the web. I like the choices and being able to browse several stores from the comfort of my home. Plus, if you shop around you can find free shipping and usually spend about the same as driving somewhere and buying the supplies. (Especially with gas prices these days.)

Don’t forget, you don’t have to buy everything in a “theme” to match the party supplies, but coordinating colors with your theme looks nice, an you’ll spend less using solid color plates or napkins.

These first 5 tips are just the beginning, I will be posting 5 more on Wednesday so stay tuned...

Subscribe to Parenting Tale


Jozet at Halushki said...

Carey, these are all excellent tips!

And yes, we've been invited to a few parties planned over nap time. Uhhhhh...?

Also, one big party disaster was the party for a 4 year old where all the food was served on shishkabob sticks.

Yes, ten 4 year olds running around with pointy sticks. Mmm-hmmm. Brilliant.

Could you comment on pinata safety and etiquette? I think that some rules would be helpful. I've seen enough kids get whacked in the head to think, "You know, maybe common sense isn't enough."

Carey said...

OMG, Shishkabob sticks! As Jelly bean would say, "Not a good idea!"

Ah yes, pinata safety...I think I may have another blog post!

Sheri said...

Great tips! LOL Pinatas! Grace freaked out when daddy whacked her beloved Elmo's head off.

Carey said...

OH NO! I can see that being really traumatic!

Jill/Twipply Skwood said...

SHERI!!! I was just about to suggest that the pinata not look like their favorite pal! One of the neighborhood girls was ABSOLUTELY INCONSOLABLE when the kids started beating poor Elmo to smithereens at my daughter's second birthday! Her mom took her inside but it was too late - she was beside herself!