The working mum’s guide to planning a children’s party

You got through your engagement party and made it to the wedding reception, so planning a children’s party should be a doddle, right? Remember those pre-baby days when you used to host every good dinner or night out going…this should be a breeze, right?

But what looks like a piece of cake, may turn out to be a lot more work, and a tad more stressful than you thought, and you don’t want your child’s party to be the flop of the year, do you? Here are some tips to make sure you make it a success:

Fail to plan and plan to fail…
Every good event starts with a plan. The key for a successful birthday party is planning and preparation, from the guest list to the invitations, decorations, menus and games – make notes about what your child wants, what you need to do (even the obvious things like ordering the birthday cake), and tick them off as you go.

What’s your budget?
Do you want to plan an extravagant party for your little princess or do you want something simple? Before you start spending any money, you must put your plan on paper, you have to think through the basics. Start with a budget: how much are you willing to pay for this, will you be feeding or paying for parents, will they be dropping the children off for a couple of hours instead?

What kind of birthday party food do you think will be appropriate for the age of the children? Would you consider having someone to entertain the children like a clown, or circus act or do you plan to do that yourself?

The all-important date
Pick your date of the party carefully, so it does not conflict with school holidays or you’ll not get the attendance you planned for. if your child’s birthday falls during the school holidays, it might be an idea to have the party in the last week of that term or half term so they don’t get disappointed that friends don’t show up – travel, and just being extra busy during school holidays can make school holiday birthday parties less attended.

Is this party going to be held at your home, in a rented facility or a public place? Will it be within easy reach of the children attending – most children tend to live close to their school when in primary school, so holding a party 25 miles or more away may be pushing it, especially if it only lasts for a couple of hours.

Finally, to pull it all together, you’ll want to develop a party ‘schedule’. Ink about a good time to start – if it’s on a Saturday, starting at 9am is pretty early and the parents probably won’t thank you for that!

Think about the food you are planning, and if it’s lunch, then decide to have the party just before midday or 1pm, so the children can arrive in time to eat before they start with the party games etc.

Once you have written all these things down, and started thinking about how to plan your child’s birthday party you’re halfway there. The key issue here is preparation and planning, give yourself enough time to execute all your plans, and have a great birthday party! And don’t forget to enjoy yourself, too!

DIY or party planner?
Will you do all the planning and work yourself, with help from family and/or friends, or will you pay a party planner to plan and execute the party?

If you’re doing it yourself, have a notebook dedicated solely to the party so you don’t forget anything, and write your to-do list somewhere that you can refer to as offend as you need to until everything has been covered.

If you know you’re useless at planning or get super stressed, why not enlist the help of friends and family (or Godparents!). If all else fails, and you can afford it, pay a party planner to do it for you.

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