1. Start planning 7 days before the event.
I could have recorded 100 stories from the party planer’s phone, but a delightful mum says it went so well she can have my thunder! (paraphrased..)
“I realized that we’d waited too long to plan a party. It was going to have to take place in 6 days. I called every place that could possibly host a child’s birthday party. Nothing was available at such late notice. One place asked me if I was kidding. The guy at the bowling alley actually laughed at me.”
I realized that the party would have to take place at our house. Called the incredibly cheap Bouncy House of Horrors and rented a princess bouncy castle. Did I want to pay an extra $100 and have it delivered and set up? I would do it myself and save the money.
I sent out an Invite to Lil Miss’s preschool class and 3 best buddies. I expected that no one would be able to come on such short notice. All did. I realized that meant that fourteen 4 yr olds, complete with parents and siblings would be turning up. Looked at the house and the yard with critical eye and cried. Read the rest of this hilarious account.
2. Not having a clear budget before starting planning.
Prior to your child’s party, write down what you need. Multiply this by the number of children you have (they will demand equal events) Common items we forget are: drinks for parents / thank you gifts or notes / cost of presents from siblings for birthday child / decorations or theme clothing / special dietary requirements for some guests / clean up after the event.
3. Excluding the birthday child’s siblings from planning the event.
When planning a kid’s party, all siblings should be part of the discussion. It is strange how often the whole event is planned only to find that a sibling can’t attend due to a prior commitment or not enjoying the activity choice. Making them part of the discussion is crucial to avoid this.
4.Poor food choice.
Fast food or sugar treats are not normal in your child’s life; yet when they attend 2 parties on a weekend they are expected to behave, sleep and play normally. Healthy, fun choices are available using fresh ingredients, a little time and effort. A serving of birthday cakes generally have more than the RDA of sugar according to national guidelines. It is easy to justify when it is only once in a while, yet children may attend 2 parties per weekend during the peak season.
5. Not catering for parents of guests.
Parents at children’s parties are either a God-send or a disaster. By catering and considering them, you are able to access awesome assistants free of charge. Who is the King of Kids entertainment / activities / games? Who has the creative touch? Is there a cake-maker extraordinaire who is wanting to launch a cake-making venture? Boundaries for parents are essential, people will gladly help or not; but like to be asked and included.
6. Lack of accessible drinking water.
Individual water containers / cups are the foundation of a healthy party. Not passing on childhood illness is better prevented with personal drinking containers. Water breaks should be scheduled into events, with a break every 20 to 30 minutes; more often if temperatures are above 25 degrees. Water spray / water pistols are a fun cool down alternative, if children give permission or want to participate in this way.
7. Buying expensive / unnecessary presents or party decorations.
Many party gifts are destroyed, thrown out or recycled by kids who don’t really want them. Why do we adults inflict gifts on our children with little thought. Organising parents can greatly assist by including clear instructions in the invitations what gift, especially group gifts or contributions towards a special gift may be welcomed by the birthday child.
8.Not including dress instructions in the invitations.
Although princesses and pirates are great costumes, kicking a soccer ball in ballet pointes or swinging on a trapeze with an eye patch and sword are not safe combinations. Tell children what to expect, including a suggest dress code.
9.Lack of clear start and finish time
Setting a start time buffer zone, where children can meet up, play casual games or activities, give gifts allows for latecomers to arrive prior to the main event or party activity. Normally 15 to 30 minutes is suitable. Failure to specify a pick up or home time in the invitation doesn’t allow parents to record this in their mobile calendars, and makes it difficult to plan the complete day, which may include sporting commitments or another party.
10. No wet-weather plan
Outdoor parties provide children with a carefree environment. Not having a rainy day plan sets the scene for a stressful day. Take care of this possibility by including a rainy day clause in your invitations.