How to Plan a Stress-Free Birthday Party
By Jessa McClure
As my son's first birthday approached, I began to feel the pressure of hosting a great party. I had observed the elaborate soirées some of my friends had put on for their babies, and I was afraid my party-planning skills wouldn't compare. I began scouring Pinterest on the hunt for crafty ideas I thought I could accomplish, and spent an entire afternoon walking through the party store grabbing plates, cups and streamers.
My need to live up to some invisible expectation grew and grew. I couldn't get enough. Just one more bag of paper straws. Just one more dinosaur trinket for the party favor bags. By the day of the party, I had spent more money than I care to admit, and was left with the feeling that it had all been for nothing. My son didn't care how much money or time I put into his big day, and he wasn't even big enough to enjoy the 15-foot water slide we rented.
I promised myself that I would do things different this year. Here are some tips I've come up with to make birthday party planning as stress-free as possible.
Involve Your Child (If Possible)
Obviously, if you're planning a one-year-old's birthday party, they probably won't have a lot of input. But, if they have a favorite toy or video that is a great place to start when it comes to a theme. And if your child is old enough to voice their opinions, then let them have a say in picking the theme and the activities for the party.
Decide on a Location
Some people don't want a dozen or so screaming, cake-filled children tromping through their home. If you're one of these people, then choosing a venue away from home is probably your best bet. This could be a park, a skating rink or even the local water park. Some party locations even offer packages that include party favors, food and a cake.
for a list of great places to have your child's birthday party.
Decide on Your Budget…and Stick To It
It is easy to forget that word "budget" when it comes to planning a birthday party, especially when there are coordinating plates, cups, napkins, balloons, streamers and party favors all with your child's favorite character plastered on every one. But sticking to your budget is key to creating a stress-free birthday party. If you don't have money left over for presents, your child might not care how many party favors their guests receive.
Pick a Time
If your child is younger than four, chances are they have a nap schedule that if interrupted, will make for a long day for everyone. Keep this in mind when you're choosing a time for the party.
And if you have an older child, make sure you're being mindful of their schedule as well. If your child is used to sleeping in on Saturday mornings and you schedule the party for 10 a.m., you might have a grumpy big kid on your hands who might need a nap.
Enlist the Help of Family and Friends
To ensure your sanity and a stress-free party environment, ask a few close friends or family members to help you set up for the party. Delegate some of the tasks like hanging streamers, setting out snacks or setting up games to these willing helpers. It might be difficult to relinquish control of your vision, but you can't do it all.
Enjoy the Day
Your baby (they'll always be your baby) is another year older. Don't miss special moments worrying about whether or not your guests are having fun. As long your child is having a good time and making good memories, then nothing else matters.
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