Birthdays seem to come around fast and for kids, it’s one of the highlights of the year….. For us mums it can seem like another task in our busy lives that needs lots of planning!
Yes, I am one of those mums – I do believe you need a plan! But I also think that many of us need to not take on board as much as we do. In the end, kids just want their friends and family together, some attention focussed on them for a while and lots of yummy food to pig out on!
If your kids are anything like mine they start planning the next birthday party as soon as the last one is over. Jot down these ideas in a book – it helps when you suddenly realise the time is nearly upon you and you have no idea what to do!
Now let me give you a few tips so you are not overwhelmed on the last week.
Give yourself four weeks. Yes, you really do need to get those invites out 3 weeks before!
Decide on a theme for your party and stick to it. There is really so much to choose from and you are limited only by your imagination, but a theme sets a tone that you can follow with your invitations, party decorations, food, games, cake and lolly bags.
Here is my ten-step plan to for kids parties which will keep you on track and looking like a highly organised mum (even if you are not usually!)
4 weeks out
- choose a theme – let your imagination run wild and ask the little as one they usually have very particular ideas about their birthday party, then par it down to an effective but simple theme.
- guest list – the usual rule of thumb is invite the number of kids that the birthday kid is celebrating. ie if you birthday boy is 4 invite 4 friends to party. This wouldn’t play out in the real world. What about the family and the siblings of the kids you invite? The key here is invite as many as you can cope with. Remember whoever you invite you’ll have to feed and water!
3 weeks out
- send out invitations –3 weeks in advance gives people plenty of notice. We are all so busy these days we need time to reply, to buy the present and fit it in the weekend schedule. Remember to note an RSVP date just so you get final numbers.
2 weeks out
- shop for party props, decorations and lolly bags – online party supplies, ebay, $2 store all have great stuff.
- order cake – in my case, it’s order your sister to make the cake! If outsourcing the cake to a cake shop is out of the budget think about outsourcing it to a creative friend. The cake is the piece de resistance and as you’d expect the most stressful part. I know some mums love making the cake but try not to get too complicated – kids don’t notice the detail!
1 week out
- menu planning – organise party food menu / make a shopping list. We all tend to have too much when it comes to party food. Cut back, keep it simple and provide good variety so they don’t get too high on sugar!
1 day out
- tidy house and get organised for the party
- shop for party food
The big day
- prepare food – take up grandma’s and girlfriends offers to help out. More hands always makes it easier.
- party! This is key…take the time to be part of the party. It’s very easy to get rapt up in hosting and you forget to enjoy your child’s special occasion. However, don’t forget a few photos for the digital album!
Good luck. Enjoy your child’s special day and an important milestone in their life. Love to hear what other tips you have to make party planning easier!
Rachel Troy is mother of 3 kids and lives on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. After being the organiser of many presents at her kids and friends parties, and for school and sporting activities, she has developed a great online tool for busy mums – a website that allows you to organise a group gift online – www.groupprezzie.com.au