12 Ways to Take the Stress Out of Planning Your Kid’s Birthday

Between your kid’s requests and keeping up with the Joneses, planning birthday parties can drain you physically, emotionally, and financially. What if you could take that laundry list of things to do and cross off a dozen items? Chances are that you’re carrying a heavier burden than you need to be. Check out these easy ideas to simplify event planning without downgrading the party:

Edit Your Guest List

Do you feel as though you need to invite your kid’s entire class, the scout troop, and the neighbors? You cannot forget relatives and close family friends, of course. Truth is, you don’t. Ask your child to choose three or four good friends. A smaller group will enjoy a more meaningful time.

Chuck the Challenging Theme

Themes have their advantages, such as streamlining décor and cake decorations, but they can add extra difficulties. Stay away from challenging themes, like movie or video games, or you may find yourself running all over town to find coordinating tablecloths, streamers, and centerpieces.

Toss the Paper Invites

Kids and parents are busy. Invitations sent to school might get buried in a backpack and forgotten until it’s too late. Well-meaning moms might set the card on the counter, intending to RSVP, but then the baby starts crying and the phone rings and Dad comes in with dinner, which he promptly places on top of the invitation. Save everyone the hassle and send a quick email or make a phone call.

Ditch an All-Day Event

Establish a realistic starting and ending time for the party; two hours is perfect, unless you’re hosting a sleepover. Pick a time of day when your child is generally most upbeat. For example, you would not want the get-together to overlap a toddler’s naptime. In addition, if you schedule the party between meals, say from 9AM to 11AM or from 1PM to 3PM, you don’t have the worry of serving a meal to guests.

Cancel the Caterer

Speaking of meals, you’re not obligated to serve a four-course dinner at a child’s gathering. When you opt for the between-meals party, you can serve kid-friendly finger foods such as pretzels, crackers, cheese, veggies, and fruit, all with accompanying dips or spreads. If you simply must feed your crowd, opt for something easy that everyone loves, like delivered pizzas. 

Dodge Overdone Décor

You spend days hunting for the ideal decorations at dozens of stores and websites. It takes you hours to inflate balloons, twist streamers, and craft a Pinterest-worthy gift table. After a few short hours, you clean it all up and toss it in the trash, and you’re not sure anyone even noticed. Instead of going all out, pick a couple of basic colors and pick up balloons, streamers, and maybe a banner in those shades. Decorate the primary party area and put your feet up for a while.

Fire the Hired Help

You may think that the balloon artist, the face painter, or the costumed superhero will make the day, but they’re really not necessary when piles of boxes could mean a fort. The kids will have so much fun running around outside or playing with new toys that they will not miss Boppo the Birthday Clown.

Forgo Party Games

Along those same lines, how many kids actually get excited at the announcement of Musical Chairs or Pin the Tail on the Donkey? Instead of tired games, designate some time, space, and materials for the kids to do whatever it is they love to do. This could be anything from a game of football in the yard to video games in the den to trying on lip-gloss in your daughter’s bedroom.

Avoid Entertaining Adults

Whether your party consists of guests and their parents, your extended family, or any combination of kids and grownups, don’t feel compelled to keep the adults amused. Instead, set up an area where more mature guests can congregate, such as a makeshift coffee bar in the kitchen or an on-demand movie in the living room. Better yet, let them help with the festivities!

Repeal the Rented Room

Pizza places with singing rodents are loud, expensive, and unoriginal. Unless you’re throwing a special birthday party, such as a quinceañera or a sweet sixteen, you don’t need the hall at the community center, either. If the weather is nice, head to the park, playground or your own backyard. Rain, sleet, or snow? Make the most of your own four walls.

Eschew Expensive Favors

It seems there are two types of party favors: cheap plastic junk that’s thrown away inside of a week, or overpriced, personalized items that kids don’t want or need. With some creative thinking, you can offer favors they will actually enjoy (and so will your budget). Find something they can make together, such as beaded jewelry, painted t-shirts, or baked goods that serve double duty as a party activity and favors.

Steer Clear of Critics

If the idea of giving up these common trappings leaves you feeling concerned about guests judging your parenting skills, time management abilities, or hosting talents, there is one simple solution: don’t invite them. Who has time for that sort of negativity? Not you! You are the easy-going, stress-free parent who only has energy for the things that really matter.

What are some of your ideas for a low-prep, mega-fun birthday party?

Tags : celebrations   birthdays   

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