7 Stress-Free Ways to Plan Your Child’s Birthday Party

Planning your child’s birthday party can feel overwhelming. You want to create the perfect day for them and the memories to last a lifetime. In today’s world of Pinterest and Instagram boards, it’s hard not to get into the comparison game. You might even create a party or theme with these photos in mind — and that’s okay — they have plenty of ideas for you.



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It can be easy to go over the top and spend a ton on catering, decorations and party favors. Instead, take a deep breath and think about what your goal is for the party. Then you can throw a great party without the stress or colossal expense. Read on for tips on stress-free ways to plan your child’s next birthday party.

1. Send Digital Invitations

One stress factor that many parents unnecessarily put on themselves is party invitations. This is especially true for milestone birthdays. to get an invitation with plenty of time, you need to set up details months in advance. This gives you time to print and mail the cards. And you must remember to get stamps!

Save time (and money) and follow the digital invitations. You can send them to your loved ones via social media or email. You could even organize a Facebook event for your party. Another option is to schedule a calendar appointment on your device and invite your family to it. There are many free websites that allow you to create great looking e-vites for your topics.

If you have family members who don’t tend to receive things via text or social media, call to invite them. Of course, you could also call them to save the date and send an invitation or two to these people.

2. Plan ahead

The sooner you plan an event, the less stress you can feel. For one, more venues and date/time options will be available further out. It also gives you time to shop around and see venues that fit your budget and theme. Birthdays are no surprise. You know all year when it will be.

Especially if your child’s birthday is in the summer or near Christmas, look ahead. These times of year tend to be busy. Same with kids who have fall birthdays. If you want to rent a pumpkin patch for an October birthday, don’t wait until late September.

If you’re having a hard time not letting dates sneak up on you, here’s a calendar reminder. You can put your children’s birthdays on the calendar and set a two-month reminder. This reminder is a “time to book and buy gifts” notification.

3. Dominate the Guest List

As a kid, there’s nothing better than your own party. But throwing a birthday party for a 5-year-old with 100 guests can be a bit absurd. You don’t need to show the neighborhood that you throw the best parties. Make it personal and tailored to your child and family. It might just be immediate family and a few friends.

Don’t feel obligated to keep up with everyone else in the class. It’s okay to just have a family cake celebration. If you invite your child’s class to a pool party and they each pay their own entry fee, that’s fine too. Keep it age appropriate and a budget you can control too.

Think about how your child reacts to others when choosing your guest list. If they are more reserved and like the one-on-one interaction of the groups more, take that into account. A sleepover instead of inviting their whole class might make them feel more comfortable. This also applies to you as a parent…what are you most comfortable with?

4. Location Location Location

The location can be the hardest part to decide and decide on. It all depends on your guest list and the activities you want to do. Outside or inside? At home or at a pool or park? The location can also be determined a bit by time of year. Fall is a great time for a bonfire night. Summer birthdays are great for pool parties and balloon fights.

Don’t forget to keep your child’s needs in mind when collecting. For example, some children hate theme parks or are afraid of swimming. Others find the lights and crowds intimidating. Narrow down your list by considering the topic and what your child likes to do.

The party space can also be specified or limited to options by price. What is your budget for the party? It’s okay to look for free options like a park. On the other hand, you might decide on a milestone birthday like your first or sixteenth that you go all out.

5. Simple foods

If you have to bring your own food to the birthday party, think simple. Children often eat simpler things. Having a more limited and easy menu is less stressful for you. More kids will probably eat it too.

Think taco bars or bonfire s’mores and hot dogs. Goldfish crackers could be a great snack if you are having an underwater theme or pool party for a six year old. So are blue juices. Older kids may enjoy grilling or ordering single topping pizzas.

Don’t forget your cake and ice cream! You can go cheap here too. Just buy a family size of vanilla ice cream and toppings. Then let them make their own chocolates. Kids will love it and it’s easy and cheaper to buy a flavor of ice cream.

Cupcakes are sometimes easier too, but sometimes you can pick up a large sheet cake at your grocery store for a good deal.

6. DIY Party Favors & Decorations

Not surprisingly, decorations can add stress and drain your budget. But, sometimes less really is more, especially if you’ve booked a neat space. So, for example, only make some decorations if you’re in a park or bowling alley. But there’s so much else going on that a slight nod to the theme is in order.

For the most part, kids won’t even notice your streamers. Now, if you are having a ninja birthday party, you could make a combo decoration and party favor. First, get foam swords and masks and decorate with them. Then, when it’s time for an activity, let the kids pick one and have fun. Then send it home with them as a favor.

7. Experiences over gifts

One area that can cause stress for parents is how many gifts children receive. Sometimes it can feel like you’re constantly being overwhelmed by things. This is especially true for families whose children have birthdays close to Christmas. The thought of carrying a lot of stuff around the house can be overwhelming.

You can ask guests not to give a gift. Instead, ask if they would like to give to your child’s education fund. You could also ask for movie tickets or other experience gift cards for the kids. Maybe their gift is the cost of your attendance at the trampoline park. Some kids even ask for donations to their favorite charities.

Planning your child’s birthday party can be stressful, from finding a location to the costs associated with it. But it doesn’t have to be a comparison game. Instead, do what works best for your family and invite who you want. Set your own traditions.

Following the tips and tricks above can save you time and money. A little simplification in certain areas can allow you to enjoy the day for what it really is. Create memories and watch your child grow up and experience the happiest birthday.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Kampus Production. Pexels? Thanks!

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