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10 Tips for Hosting a Kids Birthday Party

Children's parties are so much fun but need some more foresight than an adults only party. Here are 10 tips for hosting a children's birthday party for less stress and more fun.

Birthday party planning can turn even a veteran hostess into a ball of nerves, especially when you are hosting a party for a child. But that does not have to be the case - with a few simple steps and a little careful planning, you can host a fabulous celebration without all the stress! The biggest hurdle is deciding on a theme and a date. Once those are decided, everything else will fall into place to create a memorable and festive event.

Here are 10 tips to follow to ensure an easy and seamless experience:

1. Start by choosing a theme. Not all parties need to have a theme to be a success - in fact, some of the best parties I have been to have been theme-less - but selecting a theme can be helpful. Building your party around a theme is a simple way of staying focused and keeping your party elements consistent.Select a date. With the theme in hand, select a date that works well with your lifestyle - and one that will likely fit with your guests’ lifestyle as well. For example, if your guests are big sports fan, don’t try to host a birthday party the same weekend as a playoff game, unless you are linking the party to the game itself.

3. Save the date. At least 6-8 weeks before the party, send out an electronic save the date card. This not only ensures that your guests are tuned into your plans, but it will also allow guests who may not be able to attend to let you know well in advance. That way, you might be able to invite other guests who may not have been on your original invitation list.

4. Send out invitations. Four weeks before the birthday party, send out invitations that tie in with your theme. Selecting invitations that fit with the theme of your celebration will give your guests a hint of what to expect, thus building excitement around the event.

5. Keep a guest list. Knowing who is coming, what allergies or special needs they have, and who to contact in case of an emergency is the simplest way to avoid mishaps at the party, especially when hosting a party for children where parents are not present.

6. Don’t stress about the décor. In recent years, party decorations have become increasingly elaborate, causing many of us to focus more on the décor than on the event. Keep your decorations from taking over the party by sticking with a color theme of 1-2 colors, and then accenting with a few theme-focused details. Remember, children take little notice to carefully choreographed table displays!

7. Plan your entertainment. Every party needs an element of entertainment. Don’t overdo it, but having at least one or two party games, party entertainers, or a simple but strategic music playlist is a recipe for success. It will take some of the pressure off, and allow you to enjoy your guests and the festivities.

8. Consider the menu. If you are hosting a party at lunchtime, plan for a heavier menu to accommodate hungry guests. Likewise, if your party is just before dinner, avoid serving too much food or sugary delights that will spoil an evening meal. There is always one party guest who will want to eat the second they arrive, so be sure to have plenty of healthy finger foods on hand to keep everyone happy until the cake is served.

9. Plan your beverages. If you are hosting an event for children in a home with white carpets, serve stress-free clear drinks, like fruit-infused waters or clear juices. Leave the red punch for outdoor parties or places where a spill won’t wreak havoc on your home. Likewise, if you are hosting an afternoon family friendly party, be more creative with your drinks by offering mocktails rather than standard bottled drinks. When calculating beverages for a 2-hour party, plan to serve 4 drinks to each guests in that time period.

10. Have a flexible schedule. A party that runs on a strict schedule only results in a stressed host and exhausted guests! Rather than build a timetable, opt instead for a loose plan of what will take place, having back-up activities in place should the party need a boost of activity. A good rule of thumb for a children’s party is to greet your guests and then direct them to the party room, allowing them 30 minutes of relaxed party playtime. This ensures that any latecomers do not feel left out of the festivities. Move on to serving light foods, playing any party games you have lined up, and then winding down with the birthday cake and presents, followed by a final 30 minutes of relaxed party time. The children can play—and burn off the sugar high from that cake!

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Meet our Writer
Jennifer Geddes
Celebrations Writer

Jennifer Kelly Geddes has hosted Christmas cookie swaps, New Year's open houses, Thanksgiving for 22, and all manner of dinner parties in her Manhattan and Ghent, NY homes.

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