How To Plan Your Kid’s Birthday Party

plan child birthday party

Your kid’s birthday party…

If you’re like me, every scroll through Pinterest makes me feel inadequate.

Everything perfectly on theme, and ready to go straight to Instagram…my life is a lot messier than that!

Add to that, that every time I’m at a ‘Pinterest worthy’ party, I feel like it’s possibly more about the parents than the kids.

I’m not sure if you’ve met kids, but they like messy!

However…I do love pretty things and a fun party that runs smoothly.

So what are we left with?

How do we balance beauty with fun?  And not be so busy with all the planning that we can’t even enjoy our kid on their big day?

I’m here to help!  With four kids (plus a few that we’ve been privileged to foster) I’ve planned all kinds of birthday parties.  As a wedding planner, you’d think it wouldn’t have taken me so long to figure out how to transfer the skills, but here we are. I’ve finally found a way to have something pretty, on theme, and super fun, that I can pull together quickly, and actually enjoy with them.  Let me share my secrets!

BASICS

Start at the beginning.  So often we want to jump right into the fun, fluffy stuff of a birthday, and it’s sooo tempting!  But we need to do a bit of ‘boring work’ before the fun can start.

The very first thing you should do is ask your child this question: what is the most important thing about your birthday party to you?

They may need some examples or choices.  You could tell them some options are playing with friends, getting presents, fancy decorations, great treat bags, etc.  Basically you want to know what to focus your time and energy on.  In the end, this is their party and it should be focused on what’s important to them. Last month, my daughter wanted super fun games at her party, so we worked hardest on creating those.

After this you can start planning the bones of the party (involve your child as much or as little as you see fit).   Work through them in this order:

  • The budget
  • The guest list
  • The theme
  • The venue
  • The date & time

Once you’ve figured out those details, you’re ready to get to the fun stuff!

DESIGN

This is where I like to do a big Pinterest binge!

Create a board or section for this party and start pinning like mad.  Look for ideas for invitations, decorations, activities, food, and party favours.  Focus specifically on the thing that is most important to your child and get their input on it.

Once you’ve got loads of ideas, choose the ones that you’ll actually use.  Start by choosing a few colours to work with (about three is best).  Then I like to look for ideas that are simple to create, but have a big impact.  DO NOT choose DIY projects that will consume your life or take more than a few hours.  If you’re going to go overboard on something, make sure it’s the something that’s important to your child.


MOM TIPS

A few things I’ve learned:

  • To keep your budget down (and your stress manageable) avoid feeding guests a meal.
  • Give the kids lots of time to just play!  Plan one or two activities just in case, but you often won’t need them.
  • Involve your child in preparations.  Things may not look as perfect, but they’ll be so proud.

Somewhere in this stage is when you can send out invitations as well.  I like to use Canva to design them.  It’s free, easy to use, and comes with loads of templates to choose from.  It can be helpful to include a start and end time for the party. Birthday invitations should usually go out 1-2 weeks in advance. 

LOGISTICS

You’ve made it to the last phase!  Logistics is a big word, but it’s really just about the finishing touches on your plan.

Make yourself a general outline of how the day will go.  Include any set times for things, like access to the venue and when guests are arriving.  Then make a note of what order you’d like things to happen.

Make a list of things that need to be prepared ahead of time so nothing is forgotten.  If you’re not having the party at home, keep a list of things you’ll need to pack up and bring along.

Collect your RSVPs and make sure you’ve got enough party favours.

And finally, make sure you’ve got a gift for your child!  Somehow this is something I always forget till the last minute!

To keep it all organised, I’ve put together a free event planning worksheet!  It’s perfect for birthday parties, and it also works for pretty much every kind of event you’ll need to plan.
Download it now!
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