We all know how stressful planning and hosting your child’s birthday party can be, so here are our top tips!
1. Create a guest list that makes everybody happy.
Don’t feel pressured to invite the whole class just because someone else did!
2. Pick a theme.
Picking a theme early on in the planning will make it easier when you come to purchasing party supplies. From invitations to napkins, everything can be themed!
3. Set a budget and stick to it.
It is easy to get drawn into adding that extra bottle of bubbles to the party bags or inviting that extra child…
4. Pick the right day & time.
For younger children, avoid nap times (is this possible??). For older children, most classes and sports clubs run on a Saturday morning. Leave time for a refuel and change before having to rush out of the house.
5. Give enough notice.
There is nothing worse than receiving an invitation to a party the next weekend and having to change your plans. Give 4-6 weeks notice. This will also give you more time to pick up the bits you will need, and you can shop around and compare prices rather than panic buying the weekend before. If the party is soon after a school holiday, you may need to allow extra time.
6. Set an RSVP date Set a date to receive RSVPs by and leave yourself enough time to chase anyone you haven’t heard from.
Cost Cutting Tip: Download and print invitations from the internet
7. Don’t compete with other parties.
Your child will be happy because it is their party, not because you spent hundreds of pounds.
8. Prepare for extra guests.
There is always someone who has to bring a sibling, we all know and accept this is a part of our parenting life… prepare a couple of extra party bags, cut an extra slice of cake…
If your child is under 7, then in all likelihood the parents will wish to stay for the party. Grab some teabags and milk and a pack of biscuits and enjoy the time getting to know the parents of your child’s friends.
9. Don’t go it alone.
I’m a BIG fan of a joint party and lucky enough that one of the Mini-Mumblers has a friend born just a fortnight before him. We had a joint party the week between their birthdays.
They had the same party guest list, so it’s half the cost (and half the stress!) and half the time out of the guests’ parents busy lives too – they will thank you for it!
10. Think Easy Clean Up.
If you are hosting at a soft play centre, then perfect… no tidying for you! If you are hiring a hall, ensure you book half an hour before to set up, and up to an hour afterwards for cleaning round (depending on the theme and activities of your party). You don’t want to miss out on the birthday cake because you have already had to start cleaning up the party room.
11. Ask for help.
Rope in Grandma or a friend to help you. Don’t forget: you planned it, you deserve to enjoy it as much as your child! It’s time to savour all of your efforts and enjoy the party!
12. Consider creating their “Take Home” as one of the party activities.
This will save you the added cost of the party bag and the children will all have something to take home with them, which they have enjoyed making.
Money Saving Tip: Bun decorating is a cheap and fun activity to try!
13. Party Bags.
Kids love party bags and they really don’t care what’s in them—they just want to get something! Don’t bankrupt yourself finding the perfect item; a balloon, a bag of sweets and a bottle of bubbles will get the same reaction! Don’t forget to make a party bag for the birthday boy/girl too!
If you really don’t want to add lots of plastic tat, flower seeds or playdoh make good alternatives.
Money Saving Tip: Sweet cones make a good alternative to a party bag!
14. Have a backup plan for your activities.
Some things just don’t go as you expect…
Don’t forget the music! Your backup could simply be dancing!
Money Saving Tip: Rather than hiring an entertainer, plan traditional party games such as:
pass the parcel
pin the tail on the donkey
15. Ask someone else to take the photos
I know I never get enough photos from my children’s parties myself, I’m too busy faffing and chatting with parents! Cue snap-happy Grandad to save the day!