Your child’s birthday party. It’s enough to make even the bravest of parents sweat, especially when it’s their first ‘proper’ party with friends. How old was your child when they had theirs? For Jack, it was his 5th birthday. Don’t get me wrong, he’s had parties and birthday celebrations before (I’m not a cruel mother I swear!) but they have been small family gatherings with one or two close friends popping along.
Jack was 5 last year, 12th June 2017. It was his first year at school and he had made so many friends since joining Reception. Being his first year, like any child, he hadn’t made any really close friends yet. Each day he had a different ‘best friend’ and every weekend was telling me about friends I’d never heard of before. How do you ask your child to pick who they want to come to their birthday party when they’re still forming new relationships? To me, the only option was to invite the entire year. Yes, many people thought I was crazy and as the invite list reached over 45 children I sometimes felt I was too!
The stress and planning got the better of me. In my head everything had to be ‘perfect’ especially as it was Jack’s first party. I wanted him to have a great time and wanted it to be a day that he remembered.
Don’t me like me, losing countless night’s sleep, sweating over the small stuff. I promise you no matter how big or small the party you’re planning it’ll all turn out just fine! Jack’s first ‘real’ birthday party was a great learning experience. One that gives me great comfort for any future parties. Here are my hints and tips for surviving your child’s birthday party…
For some this may be a given. However, don’t underestimate how important it is to plan plan plan! Jack’s party planning started circa 8 months in advance – A little extreme some might say. However a lot of the entertainers I was enquiring for were already booked up on our chosen date. A lot of things can wait until closer to the time and of course don’t need the 8 months, however I strongly recommend booking your entertainment / venue as soon as possible to avoid disappointment!
Decide on a Number – and Stick to It!
As mentioned above, being Jack’s first year in school I’d decided to invite his entire year. This proved a little problematic when the entertainer recommended that his parties are ‘best suited’ to groups up to 20… Bugger. Should we invite the whole year? Or perhaps just invite his class? Maybe just invite his ‘best friends’? This was one thing that caused me the most stress. I hated the thought of a child being left out, but it seemed like the answer was simply ‘no’. Long story short, we kept the same entertainer and we still invited the whole year and guess what… The day turned out just fine!
You’re Cordially Invited…
OK, so it’s not going to be quite as fancy as that. However your invites are an important part of the birthday party. Make sure you send them out early enough so people have time free in their calendar to attend. Remember, just like you everyone is very busy! Information is key, so don’t forget the RSVP, date and a contact number. The RSVP date is super important as it will help you plan, and without one you run the risk of people getting back to you the day before the party – Not helpful when you’ve confirmed numbers and made up your party bags!
Ask for Help
This one is SO important. The whole process of party planning can of course be overwhelming, so take help whenever it’s offered. If someone wants to help decorate – let them! You’ve had someone offer their watchful eye over the kids while you take a quick 5 minutes break – take it! No matter how big or small, whether it’s during planning or on the day itself, always accept any help. It will help keep you calm and make the day go a lot smoother.
The Icing on the Cake
No, I’m not talking about the literal icing – Although that is the tasty bit. I mean the cake in general! Does your party have a theme? Will the cake you’ve chosen split between the number of guests you have coming? There’s so much to think about but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune.
And Most Importantly…
Have fun! Enjoy your little ones big day and make sure it’s just as memorable for you as it is for them.