Whether it’s centered around princesses, unicorns, pirates or superheroes, creating a theme for your child’s upcoming birthday party could be just the thing to make it as special and memorable as possible. Grab a pad of paper and a pen and let us help you make your little one’s next themed birthday party a total smash!
3 Months in Advance
1. Choose the Theme
Narrowing down the theme that you want the party to be centered around will make every step a whole lot easier, so take some time to sit down with your child and brainstorm some ideas together on what they would like. Start with their favorite activities, such as ballet dancing, soccer, dress up, or Legos. You may also want to consider their favorite TV show or movie and create a private or princess themed party.
Whatever you decide to do, keep in mind that this should be something that is both enjoyable and exciting for your child and doable for you to create. There is no theme that cannot be achieved, so don’t feel like you have to be extremely extravagant. Know your limits-there’s nothing wrong with going big, just make sure you’re up to the task!
2. Set the Budget
Next on the list is to determine just how much you are wanting to spend on this birthday party. When considering budget, try and keep in mind that there are other potential birthday costs that are not associated with the actual party, such as gifts from you, a birthday treat for your child to take to their class, a birthday dinner with family, etc. Take this opportunity to create a budget for all of these birthday items so that you can have a clear idea of how much is going into the birthday in general, and then focus on the party.
You’re already planning on spending a chunk of money for your child’s birthday party, so consider using the opportunity to improve your credit. Jade Beckman, VP of Consumer Loans at Mountain America Credit Union, has said that “the guide to responsible credit card usage is carefully planning how you are going to use your credit card, and then paying it back as soon as possible.” I usually use my visa platinum card for the essentials, like gas and groceries, but using it for other planned expenses is a great way to up your FICO score and improve your credit.
3. Make the Guest List
Another item that you will want to go over with the guest of honor, the guest list is a must at the beginning of the event process. Consider your budget and where you would like to host the party and help your child think about which of their friends they want to ask. If necessary, explain how many guests they can choose to come to the party.
4. Book the Venue/ Entertainment
Now that you know the theme, have your budget laid out and made the guest list, it’s time to book the venue and entertainment for the party. If you’re wanting to have the party outside of your home, this is an important step to take care of early on so that you can get the space you’re looking for on your preferred party date. The same thought process applies to hiring a princess, magician, face painter, etc. for the party.
5. Get Yourself in the Mindset
As you walk the aisles of Target and peruse online sales between now and the big day, Think dinosaur/princess/zombie/mermaid/wizard. You’re sure to find paper plates, party favors, supplies for games, or fun food ideas that maybe wouldn’t catch your eye otherwise. Starting a little pile of party supplies in advance will definitely prove to be helpful as you get closer to the party day!
One Month In Advance
1. Send Invitations
As soon as you can, send out those invitations. With plenty of options between designing your own paper invitations, e-vites, and even sending texts or calling the mothers of the party guests, you’re sure to find a way that works best for you. Keep a running list of RSVP’s and have a game plan of how you want to follow up with those who haven’t committed to the party yet. Having the best idea possible of how many will be in attendance is going to be a huge help as you get farther down the road with party prep!
2. Choose Activities and Food
Based on your theme, determine what activities, games and food you want to include and facilitate for the party. These may be influenced depending on the time of year or time of day the party is taking place, your child’s age and preferences, and any allergies that your child’s friend may have. If the party is a sleepover, it might be fun to include popcorn and movie theater candy. If the party is during lunchtime, you might want to consider a themed lunch for the party guests.
Carefully consider what kinds of games and activities you want to do, and how many you want to include. Keep in mind that the facilitation will be left almost entirely up to you, and you don’t have to fill every moment with stimulation. Keeping the schedule narrowed down to three or four games and a meal break is the sweet spot when it comes to children’s birthday parties, so keep this in mind with your planning!
3. Purchase Party Supplies
Now that you have the theme and the activities planned out, take a trip to your local shops or pull your phone out to get all of your supplies purchased. Take care of supplies for the games and activities, and snag everything you’ll need for the party decorations and goody bags. Remember your birthday allowance, and keep in mind that you still have some items to purchase. Don’t spend your entire budget just yet!
Something else you will want to consider is what your child will wear for their birthday party. Especially when the party is themed, you’ll want to think about what will work best for their outfit. Is the theme superheroes? Ask your child what their favorite superhero is and see how you can pull a costume together. What about a barnyard themed party? See about a farmer or cowboy outfit. How about unicorns? Finding a cute yet comfortable unicorn birthday dress is sure to make her feel extra special and extra magical!
4. Line Up Help
Depending on what you feel you need for the party, reach out to family or local babysitters to see about getting some helping hands for the big day. Having another person or two to help keep an eye on the kids and facilitate games can definitely prove to be worth it! Just because you can do everything yourself doesn’t mean that you should, so brainstorm some people you’d like to reach out to and see if they can dedicate to helping at the party.
One Week in Advance
Source: Binxy Baby
1. Purchase Food
To ensure freshness, wait until a week or less before the party to purchase all of the food. If you’re planning on ordering any kind of sandwich platter or store-bought birthday cake, make sure to place your order at least a few days before the party to make sure that they can get it to you at your desired time. If needed, make room in your pantry and refrigerator to make way for all of the party food, and label everything to ensure that your family doesn’t dig in before it’s time!
2. Follow Up on RSVP’s
If you still have a couple of guests who are dragging their feet turning in their RSVP’s, reach out and try to get a firm yes or no. A week before the party, most of the invitees or their parents should know whether or not they are able to make it, so make a couple of final attempts to get that firm headcount!
3. Prepare Goody Bags
If you’re planning on passing out favors to your child’s party guests, prepare the bags ahead of time so that you’re not stressing about it the night before. Create an assembly line to simplify the process, and see about getting an extra set of hands from your child to make it go by quickly. If you want the party favors to be a surprise for them, ask your spouse or a friend to help you put them together. Just one more thing to check off your list!
One Day Before
1. Decorate and Set up Furniture
If the party is going to be held at your home, take some time the night before to set up all of the decorations and rearrange the furniture (if needed). This can be one of the most exciting parts for your child! They might want to be involved in the decorating process, or they’ll want to be completely surprised by it. Let this part contribute to the birthday magic and go with it-let them hang some streamers and move the furniture around, or try and get everything set up so that they can see the finished product in the morning.
If the party is being held at a venue away from your home, pack up all of the party decor supplies and load it into your car. Double-check that you have all of the decorations, as well as whatever you need to set up, such as tape, scissors, putty, serving bowls, easels, and whatever else you might need to create the magic of the party. It’s always better to overestimate and have more than what you need, especially when you’re not at home and don’t have easy access to everything.
2. Prep Food
Turn on a show to binge and pull out your party food supplies to get prepping. You might want to get everything out all at once and separate it by food item, or prep only one thing at a time. Whatever your preference, do your best to get everything you can the night before so that you aren’t flustered and rushing before or during the party to get it done. Again, be sure to properly store and label everything you prepare to avoid anyone trying to sneak any treats before it’s time for the party!
3. Decorate Child’s Bedroom
While not necessary, this is a step that you can take that would easily add some magic to your child’s birthday. If they have a special outfit to wear for the party, lay it out at the foot of their bed or on their dresser. Consider leaving a wrapped present in their room that they can open first thing in the morning instead of having to wait until the party, or get them their favorite box of cereal to enjoy for breakfast that morning. If you’re feeling especially ambitious, you could fill their room with balloons or crepe paper their door. These extra steps have the potential to create some of the dearest memories that your child holds onto.
Let’s Get Cracking!
Planning your child’s themed birthday party can certainly prove to be overwhelming, but if you start early and stay on top of your checklist, you’re sure to create an experience that is enjoyable and memorable for both you and your child. Remember to pace yourself, stay within budget, and keep the end in mind-making your child’s birthday magical. You have totally got this-happy planning and happy birthday to your little one!
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