Throwing a party for your little one can seem like a daunting task, but don't worry, with a bit of organisation and a few tips, you'll be able to plan a party that's both fun and stress-free.
1 - Set a budget:
Before you start planning, decide how much you're willing to spend on the party. It's all too easy to go overboard on fancy decorations or overspend on decorations and party bags. A budget will help you stay on track and make sure you don't overspend.
2 – Consider a joint party:
Maybe not for a first birthday party, but if you little ones are at nursey or school and have a lot of similar friends, you could consider hosting a joint party. By splitting the workload between two, you could reduce stress, cost and the time involved in planning a party.
But obviously it's important to remember that when considering a joint party, you should make sure that you and the other parent are on the same page when it comes to party planning. There's no point in working with someone who has completely different ideas.
3 – Make a guest list:
If your child is at nursery or school, they probably have started to make their own friends, so it's a good idea to check in with the nursery or school to find out who their friends are. For Rory’s 3rd party his nursery wrote a list of who he plays with to help me out.
Another thing to keep in mind is that some parents like to invite the whole class, to make sure no child is left out. However, it's not mandatory to do this, and if you're worried about budget or don't want to host a large number of kids, you don't have to.
As children get older, the number of invited guests tends to decrease to their immediate friendship group.
3 – Choose a theme:
Keep in simple! Another tip is to only offer party themes that you know you can execute well. I advise you not to ask your child "What theme would you like?". Instead, maybe research different theme ideas yourself and then present your child with a choice of two or three options. This will ensure that you can deliver on the theme and make the party a success.
4 – Deciding the length of the party:
It's become an unspoken expectation among busy parents that parties for young children should not last longer than 2 hours. I remember once my daughter went to a 3-hour party when she was younger and when I picked her up she said that she thought the party was too long, not really ideal!
5 – You will need some entertainment:
Some parents choose a venue where an activity is included, such as soft play or a trampoline park. But if you aren’t, you need to consider if you will have an entertainer or if you will do the activities yourself. I would always go for an entertainer myself because I am far too introverted to do party games myself.
6 – Don’t stress over the party food:
The reality is, kids don't care about the food or decorations at a party, and neither should you. Adults may notice it, but it's sad when parents create parties to please the adults as much as the kids. In my experience, no one goes to a kids party for the food. A lot of gourmet food is often left untouched at parties, which is a waste of money. The kids are there to have fun and that's what's important.
7 - Keep the decorations simple:
Decorations can add a lot of fun to a party. Again, I recommend keeping these simple. I remember before one of my daughters party, we stayed up so late making a balloon arch, which was really unnecessary and not really used! You need less decorations than you think and probably only need a few balloons and a banner or two.
8 – You don’t need a bouncy castle:
Bouncy castles are a lot of fun at school fairs and community events, and kids love them. Even I still secretly enjoy a quick bounce. But if you have entertainment planned, realistically there won’t be much time in the 2-hour time slot to actually use the bouncy castle, not to mention that having 30 kids all on one bouncy castle can become a nightmare and pretty dangerous.
9 – Don't go OTT on party bags:
Don’t feel you need to go OTT on party bags. It's sad to see how many party favours we receive at the end of a party that aren't even played with. Instead of giving something that will likely not be used, why not consider giving something more practical, such as a book or some sweets that can be enjoyed even after the party is over.
10 – Remember parties are for fun:
Don't stress too much! And don't forget to take lots of pictures to remember the special day.
Happy party planning!
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