I haven’t gotten into the birthday party circuit yet. Since my son is only two years old, we haven’t hit that stage, but I know it is coming.
Being an older first-time Mom, however, I have friends who have “been there, done that” with regard to kid birthday parties. I have been listening for years, and now I am remembering it all.
So whether you have a couple years to go or are currently intrenched in the birthday party saga scene, here are five tips for holding a kid birthday party and four tips for going to kid birthday parties.
1. Clearly state in your invitation who is invited and why. It may minimize the calls of “Can I bring Timmy’s cousin?” Wording like “No siblings” is pretty direct, yet not too insulting.
2. Clearly state in your invitation if a parent must accompany the child being invited. State something like, “Parents encouraged to attend.”
3. Find out if any children have food allergies. List either what you are serving so a parent can contact you with concerns, or include wording such as “Any concerns with food allergies, please contact me.”
4. Be clear with the start AND end time of the party, and let parents know if there are any costs – such as movie tickets or extra money for concessions – that they are expected to cover.
5. If you have a sleep over party, let parents know when they can pick up their child – especially if they don’t want him or her to sleep over. Some children aren’t ready to be away from home for the night or may have other issues, so it is courteous to let parents know if they can pick up the kids at 9pm or 10am the next morning.
1. Don’t drop off your child and go to get your nails done. Make sure you find out if you are required to stay on site. Many off-site locations actually require a certain amount of adults to be on hand.
2. Don’t assume you can drop off all your kids. If the invitation was sent to John, presume that his brother Tim is not invited. The family may have budgeted for a certain amount of children or the facility only can handle a certain capacity. So some discretion is appreciated here.
3. Make sure you provide your location that you will be at during the party, if you don’t have to be on site. Also leave your cell phone number (and make sure to leave it on!) Not only it is curtious, but if something happened to your child, you will want to be notified immediately.
4. Be clear who is picking up the child after the party is over. You don’t want this scenario to happen to you.
Other parents from the Metrowest Mamas Fan page echoed many of these concepts and tips, and it was great to hear their thoughts on this subject. (Y’all rock.) Some other frustrations they shared were thank you cards. If the child is present at the party, a direct thank you should suffice. And goody bags can take a life of their own, making the party planning even more stressful (and costly.) If you rather spend the money on the actual event, perhaps let parents know that there will be no goody bags, but that each child can take a piece of cake home. Finally remember that the party is a kid’s party so leave the booze at home. You can have a Beer-based BBQ later.
Do you have other tips to share?
Thanks for the tips. Oh, how the birthday party circuit scares me! I’m determined not to buy in to the craziness. Hopefully it won’t affect my kids’ social status…
Great tips! As someone whose child actually broke her arm at a birthday party, I know first-hand that providing a cell phone number is essential. Luckily, we had done that, and were able to get our daughter to the hospital quickly.