Sit down with the birthday person and offer a few ideas & suggestions for their party and see if they have anything to add. Only suggest ideas you are prepared to invest your time and money in and then let her choose.
If the birthday person has any really close friends make sure they can come on the date you are planning for the party.
- Date of party
- Work out When you want to start and finish the party
- Where to run the party
- Who to invite
- Weekend parties are better for younger children and family can attend too, while older children will enjoy an after school party, if you can manage it. They love spending all day in anticipation of going home together, plus your party won’t clash with Saturday sport. If you are planning a Sunday party, keep in mind some people attend church in the morning.
- The time of day you choose to start your child’s party depends on whether you want to serve a party meal or cut straight to birthday cake.
- If serving a meal, start the party between 11.00am -12.30pm or 5.00pm – 6.30pm
- If you plan to serve cake only, have your party two hours before or one hour after traditional meal times so your guests won’t arrive or go home hungry.
- Home parties are generally less expensive than hired venues and you are free to hold the party at whatever time suits your family and guests.
- Venues, on the other hand, can be exciting and make your job a lot easier.
- Keep track of who you’ve invited to the party, as well as who has RSVP d and any special requests.
- Big is not always best – don’t get trapped into inviting everyone your child has ever known.
- The rule of thumb is that the number of guests should be the age of your child plus one once your child is aged three and over
- If you are planning party games make sure you invite an even number of children so no one is left out.
- Older children handle bigger groups better than younger children.
- Order personalized invitations six weeks before the party. Send out invitations at least three weeks ahead of time. Many venues provide invitations so make sure to ask if you’re holding the party away from home.
- You can download and print your own invitations to send out to guests.
- Plan what party food the kids are going to eat, and what to give to each child when they leave.
- At the party
Don’t let your child open their presents during the party, wait until all your guest have gone home. I have experienced many guests having a terrible time at parties after finding their present was inadequate compared to one of the other guests. It seems that many parents have a variety of budgets and ideas about what presents should be given.
It is a good idea regardless of how young your child is, to have them personally welcome and say goodbye to all their guests and their guest’s parents, as they arrive and leave the party . This is a nice touch and shows that your child is thoughtful and well mannered. A bit of prompting before the guests arrive should help your child to remember this.
Thank you cards sent by you and your child, to all your guests the week following your party is also a nice touch. It is rarely done these days. Mentioning the guest’s lovely gift and the fact that you and your child enjoyed their presence is excellent children’s party etiquette. Trying to get your child involved in this process makes it more special. For example, you could get your child to devise their own thank you card. Putting photos from the party on it is also a nice touch.
From our long experience of running children’s parties, particularly for younger children under ten years of age, a morning party works best. This is because many children often have more than one party on a day and also play a variety of sports and have many other hobbies. To get them fresh in the morning when they are most attentive and cooperative works best. Mid morning, say 10:30am is a good time to start and doesn’t annoy the other parents about it being to early. This time is also good if you are looking to feed the children lunch at the end of the party, particularly if you have structured entertainment for the children.
It is also important to factor in the season when choosing times as children can be very sensitive to the heat and cold. In the warmer months, a morning or late afternoon party works best to stay out of the heat. In the cooler months, a party between 11am and 3pm is best to catch the most of the day’s heat.
If going to a venue you sometimes have to book the times that are available or left, so make sure you get in early so you have a choice. You may need to book a month or so in advance.
There are many options that can be considered for holding a children’s party. Try and think a bit outside the square and you will come up with many interesting alternatives. Some good common party venues are :-
- Your house
- Park and ovals
- The beach
- Bowling alley
- Ice Skating rink
Some interesting alternatives might be :-
- Taking the children to a sporting event, such as a netball or cricket match.
- We even know of parties where parents can drop children at the local lawn bowling club and have the regulars teach the children to bowl and provide them with lunch.
- For teenage girls- a shopping party at the local shopping center.
- The possibilities are limitless and just require some imagination.
For a long time parents have provided the traditional party food such as sausage rolls, pies and hot dogs. Often they think this is what is expected. Why not be different and provide a healthy alternative such as fruits. Cut up watermelon, rockmelon, grapes, apples, oranges and bananas. It is not only cheaper, but it is far healthier for the children.
Don’t always think that weekends are the only days that you can have your child’s birthday party on. Regardless of whether you are hiring equipment, an entertainer or taking the children to a paid venue, all these places and people do parties on weekdays as well and will often give you a better deal to come during these times.
Some parents are also worried that parties at home don’t work on weekdays. Don’t worry. It is often an easier, cheaper and different alternative that we have found works well, especially if you don’t want to loose your whole weekend organizing, planning and having the party. Why not do it one weekday afternoon.