Parents are pressured to throw their children a birthday party that can rival their friends’ parties. The over-the-top trend of commercialized parties has been replaced with pressure to customize, personalize and impress guests with hands-on party planning, homemade food, and Pinterest-worthy decorations. Planning a birthday party can feel overwhelming, but you can prevent it by breaking it down into small tasks.
Here’s how to keep your party manageable and memorable, too:
1. Define “celebration.”
Birthday parties can be simple if we change our perspective from a “party” to a “celebration.” As you plan, talk about the year/s that have gone by, the milestones and memories of people, and experiences from previous celebrations. Children cherish what we cherish, and as their parents, they learn to love the things we value.
Your child’s birthday celebration can be about friends, fun, and sharing gifts with sick kids in the hospital. Planning early will be significant.
2. Plan early. Set expectations early.
By plan, it doesn’t mean deciding on the menu or party favors; it means sitting down with the birthday child and asking what they want for a party. After all, this event will make them happy, so understanding what they want is vital. Planning early will allow you to work with your kid to manage or change expectations.
If your child wants a huge party at an expensive place with expectations you can’t handle, planning early will help you plan a celebration that everyone will enjoy.
3. Talk about priorities—yours and theirs.
Once you’ve adjusted high expectations, it’s time to get into details. But where to begin? Start with yourself. Decide on the highest priorities, both you and your child. Think of this as negotiation; list your two highest priorities. This might take diplomacy if you and your kid have hugely different preferences.
Your child’s priorities can be cakes and gifts. If you’re planning a no-gift party, you can tell your child how her friends could bring small items to contribute to a toy drive for a children’s hospital. In turn, the family could buy her a gift she would love. It would depend on what your priority is.
4. Involve the family.
A simple birthday celebration could be challenging because you’re going against normal expectations. Involve the rest of the immediate family in the birthday discussion, making the process easier.
5. Communicate with guests
Explain your approach to your friends or guests, especially if it involves them somehow, such as with a no-gift policy or any theme. It would help them understand the perspective and give them time to explain the no-gift concept to their kids.
6. Simplify the actual party.
If you’ve done everything you can at this point to set simplified expectations, the actual party planning should be more straightforward. Make choices that are easiest for you. Remember, most kids want to have fun, run around, and eat cake.
Choose one fun activity based on what you can handle. Choose a time of the day when kids are happy. Eliminate the need for gifts or party favors by hosting an activity-based party; you can forego the goody bag by sending kids home with completed projects.
You should also prepare for extra guests. Expect parents of kids younger than 5 will likely stick around for the party. This doesn’t mean you need to prepare a separate menu for parent/s; it’s okay if you offer them chicken tenders and pizza you plan to feed the kids. Make sure you have enough food and drinks to make all your guests feel welcome.
7. Enjoy the day.
Having worked so hard to plan a perfect day and celebration for your little one, remember to relax and enjoy the day yourself. As the host, you set the mood for your event. If you’re stressed, your guests will feel it! Put your phone down, breathe, and your guests will follow suit and enjoy themselves.
At the end of the day, remember that the goal of a successful celebration is for everyone to have fun, the host included. So, don’t focus on throwing a party that can blow all other parties out of the water; enjoy the day.