You probably knew planning your child’s birthday party would take time and effort. However, you might have only envisioned the best case scenario. Lots of things can go wrong when you gather a small group of energetic children. Take the time to plan ahead so you, your child and your child’s guests all have an enjoyable afternoon.
1. Pick a Theme
You are probably going to have dozens of things to buy, and you are going to have to debate the details of every one of those things, even if only with yourself.
Unless you have a theme. Decide on a theme, and you automatically know what colors the hats and the plates and the invitations should all be. The theme might also suggest what kind of games you play, what sort of entertainer to hire and maybe even what location to hold your party, if you’re not holding it at home.
Choosing a theme also keeps your child involved in the planning process, which is important. This is his day, after all. It will feel more like his party if it reflects whatever he loves at the moment, whether it be Iron Man, the Little Mermaid, or ninjas.
2. Have Enough Adults
Even super-parents have their limits. Make sure you have enough adults willing to help keep the party properly organized.
This isn’t just about keeping the kids disciplined. It’s about the hundred things little kids need help with. If you’re running games, someone may need to be at each game to keep score, remind players of the rules, and arbitrate when there’s a disagreement. If someone bumps their head or scratches their knee, he may need a shoulder to cry on, and if you’re paying attention solely to them, you’re not paying attention to everyone else.
3. Plan Your Time with Flexibility
Have activities planned for the duration of the party. If not, the kids might come up with their own entertainment, and you won’t necessarily like it.
That said, there should also be some flexibility worked into your schedule. It can take time to transition children from one event to another. Some may need more encouragement to put down what they were previously doing to embrace whatever comes next in the plan.
4. Collect Contact Information
Be sure to have contact information for an available parent of every child, just in case. This isn’t just about emergencies or misbehavior. Some children simply get homesick very quickly, particularly if they’re in an unfamiliar place or surrounded by unfamiliar people.
5. Understand Medical Conditions
Reach out to parents and ask if there are medical issues you need to be concerned with, and, if so, what to do if something occurs. Even if the answer is simply “call 911,” you’ll know with certainty what to do if an emergency happens.
This includes any food allergies children might suffer. Getting the information ahead of time will allow you to order only food that is not hazardous to the health of your young guests. Even learning at the last minute, however, lets you ensure the child in question knows which foods he can and can’t have.