Birthday Planning Part 1

by Karen Sibal

It’s the most wonderful time of the year … and no, it’s not Christmas. It’s little Ashley’s or little Brendan’s birthday. And it’s crept up on you faster than you expected. Maybe you’re lucky and have a month to go before the big day, or perhaps you have just a few days. Nevertheless, your kid has begun the count down and has been relentlessly asking “Can I have a party, phuleeeeeese?!

So what’s a parent to do? If you decide to have THE party, how do you ensure it’s THE BEST party ever – one that’s a great hit with the kids and not a great hit on your wallet – while keeping your sanity in tact. Here’s a handy party planner that will help make the big celebration fun, original, memorable, affordable, and stress-free.

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General Considerations

Date
Select a date and time that’s most convenient to you and the guests. When choosing the date, think about when your guests will be most likely to come. Check the calendar for important events or holidays that may come into conflict.

Timing is everything. Examine your child’s needs – for example, if you’ve got a toddler, it’s probably a good idea to schedule the party around afternoon nap times: late mornings can be the perfect time.  Also think about the time the party will finish. This will depend on how long you think the children can go without getting fussy. As a general guideline, for young children, 1 ½ or 2 hours is probably adequate.

Guest List
How many kids do you invite? The general rule of thumb is to invite the number of guests for every year of your child’s age, for example, if your child is turning five, invite five guests. However, if you and your child feel comfortable having more (or less), that’s ok too. 

Are you extending invitations to parents, or would you prefer they drop off their child for the party and pick them up later? If you’re having very young guests, parents will likely stay for the duration of the party.

Budget
How much do you want to spend on the big celebration? How much can you afford? Determining your budget is crucial at the start of your party planning. As you work your way through this party planner and BEFORE you spend any money, make a list of the things you will need and estimate how much they will cost. A little planning will ensure your party stays on track of what you can actually afford.

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