For some parents, birthday parties are like any other party, with half the fun being in the planning. For others, party planning is just another parenting challenge. At first, you must decide who to invite, and there’s no right or wrong answer. But then the bigger decision-making considerations begin, such as the budget. For us here at KidiHealth, the key point to remember is that as long as your child is made to feel special on the day, then that is all that really matters. A small party with a handful of close friends can be just as successful as a more elaborate event.
Planning, no matter how big or small, will ensure that your event has the best chance of going off without a hitch. Start planning and get ideas together well in advance and you will remain calm and in control, with plenty of time to get it all arranged.
If you are going to book a venue, it can help to start making enquiries as early as you can, and make sure you learn all the ways they respect the current pandemic protocols. Many popular venues get booked out well in advance. Once that’s done, all the other steps should be in a structured plan to ensure that the event flows well, keeping children entertained and engaged until it is time to go home.
If your child has a birthday that falls close to a major holiday such as Christmas, Easter or even over the summer holidays when many children may be away on family breaks, it is worth considering the best time to have your child’s party. A party doesn’t have to be in the same week or month as your child’s actual birthday.
A party theme can be a great way to add fun and excitement to a party invitation, helping to build the anticipation, particularly for younger children. Once you have chosen a theme, ensure that you carry that theme through as many aspects of the party as possible. This could include invitations, a request for dress-up, the look of the cake, the activities, the party bags, etc. Children are imaginative and will happily play with whatever scenario is provided.
Successful children’s parties are not too long. Plan activities, cake cutting, food and games to fit within an age-appropriate timeframe.
This is very much down to personal choice. You may decide that your child has a wide range of friends, and that might make you feel it would be unfair to exclude any particular children while your child is still young and establishing new friendships. On the other hand, if your child is more reserved and has indicated a preference for a certain friend or friends, then limit the invitations accordingly.
There is no need for food and activities to be over-the-top or too excessive. Overstimulating children with too many activities crammed into their party time will only end in tears or tantrums. A balanced mix of health snack options alongside some party favourites will ensure that there is something for everyone. You may wish to do the cake cutting and provide your little guests with a party bag as they leave at the end. Also, younger children may prefer cupcakes over a slice of cake, as they’re easier to handle and quicker to hand out.
Will your child open gifts at the party or after the event? When making that decision, KidiHealth recommends that you consider the child’s age and the number of children that are in attendance. Larger events may be more conducive to gifts being set aside to be opened at home in a more controlled environment where you are able to make a note of who has given which gift. At smaller parties where your child only has a handful of friends attending, it may be better to open gifts during the party, allowing their friends to share in the excitement. Remember to keep a note of the gifts your child has received, and then send a thank-you card to each child, thanking them for attending the party and specifying the gift your child received from them.
A good party treat bag is a popular way to thank your little guests for attending, giving them something to look forward to when they get home. And in many cases with younger children, they provide a good distraction when the time comes for the party to end. The bags can be elaborate, or they could simply contain a thank you, some candy or small toys. These can be given out to guests at the door as they leave, and they can act as a prompt that reminds parents and children that the party is ending.