25 Essential Birthday Planning Tips to make your Party a Success

A successful party doesn't have to be stressful. Follow these 25 tips to throw the best kids' party – without any fuss!

1. Involve your child in the party planning.

2. Set a budget and make your to-do list.

3. Pick your date, party place and time as early as you can, so you can give your venue plenty of notice. You many want to book at least six to eight weeks ahead of time, especially if your venue is popular.

4. If your child's birthday falls on or around a holiday, you may want to postpone for a weekend when guests will be available.

5. Life happens so always have a back-up venue – if for whatever reason, your plans fall through.

6. Pick a location that is easily accessible by all your guests.

7. Consider the time of year/weather, if you're having an outdoor party.

8. Choose a theme that helps put a focus on the party.

9. How many guests should you invite? The rule of thumb is usually one more than the birthday child’s age. If your child is turning six, invite seven friends!

10. Don’t send the invitations to school, unless you want to invite the entire kindergarten class! It’s better to mail or email invitations to guests.

11. About a week before the big day, call or email guests who didn't RSVP to find out if they’re coming.

12. If your party is at home, set boundaries. Let guests know that the “party zone” is your family room, the basement or the backyard.

13. How long? Preschoolers are good for about two hours, and school-age kids can party for three to four hours.

14. Don’t overdo it. One party character or inflatable is more than enough. Too many things going on at one time can be overwhelming to young children (and you.)

15. Be flexible! It really doesn’t matter how the day unfolds, as long as the kids are having fun.

16. Don't hesitate to ask some parents to stay. This way, you’ll have extra hands to help with the party.

17. Keep the food simple and serve pizza. No need to spend hours on anything too complicated.

18. If you’re planning games for kids under 5, stay away from games that have clear winners and losers. It’s more important for the kids to have fun. Or, make sure everyone wins.

19. Allow 45 minutes for opening presents and keep a record of the gifts (this comes in handy for thank you notes.)

20. Clean up as you go. Have a large trash bag available for garbage. Have your recycle bin on hand for recyclables.

21. Save time by writing the child’s name on their party loot bag ahead of time. This ensures everyone gets their loot.

22. Have a back-up plan, in case some parents are late in picking up their child. Have a movie ready or another activity to keep the kids busy.

23. Don’t forget to send thank-you notes. Party photos with guests and your child make a nice token of appreciation. Your child can write a short note on the reverse side of the picture.

24. Remember that kids just want to have fun and be together. It really doesn’t matter to them how much the party costs or how much time you spent planning it!

25. Take it easy and enjoy! This is after all, your child's special day.

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