· Party Supplies: Party stores have a wide range of party favors to choose from. You can purchase a “theme” package which includes everything you need. Party bags are very popular. Pick out different party favors and place them in individual bags labeled for each child. The best time to hand out the party bags is at the end of the party when the kids are leaving.
· Balloons: Order the balloons at least a week in advance. Kids love balloons and it is a great way to decorate the room.
Note: Hang some balloons on the mailbox as a beacon to help people find your house. (Practical and can be very exciting for the birthday child)
· Standard Supplies:
- Before the party be sure to have batteries (or recharge) in your camera and spare ones available.
- In this video age, charge the battery on your video camera and have enough recording space.
- Have a supply of garbage bags and paper towels on hand.
- If the party is during the summer, have some sun block and maybe spare hats available.
- A first aid kit should be close at hand for emergencies.
- Lighter/matches for birthday cake candles.
· Music: Pick music that is age-appropriate. Kids love to listen and dance to music, especially if it is from their generation. (Though I did do a show where the 6 year old birthday child wanted ‘Beatles’ music….worth checking out what music the birthday child wants)
· Gifts: The presents should all be in a specific area, preferably on a table out of reach. It’s generally best the gifts are not opened until the end of the party. This can be a part of the party after the cake and guests are beginning to leave or after all have left.
Refrain from allowing the kids to open the presents and take the toys out. Pieces are easily lost and feelings are hurt. It is not a good sight to see the birthday child fighting with their friends over their presents.
Pets: Protect your pets. Put your pets in a safe area away from the party. Some children play rough, and animals may bite if threatened.
· Involve the entire family in the party: Assign duties for each family member to help them feel a part of the special day.
Movie time: A sanity-saving suggestion is to rent a children’s movie for the end of the party. Waiting for the parents to pick up their children can be the hardest part of the party. A popular movie or cartoon will help keep the peace and set a calming atmosphere.
· Invitation Conflict: Find out if any of your child’s friends have previous commitments. This is especially important for their closest friends.
· Nap Time: Smaller children are used to a specific schedule which includes their nap time. Having a party at this time can lead to a group of irritable children.
· Party location: While most birthday parties are held in the home, booking your party at a restaurant or other party facility can cut your workload in half. If you decide to book one of these locations, be sure to make your reservations at least two months prior. Movie theatres, bowling alleys, roller rinks, etc. are also great locations for a birthday party.
· To Eat Or Not To Eat: If you plan your party around a meal time, 12 noon or 5 PM, you will be expected to feed the kids. Plan foods that children enjoy. Finger foods are great. See the section on FUN FOODS for some unique ideas. Disposable knives, forks, plates etc can make life easier when it comes to cleaning up later.
· Drinks: Clear or light colored liquids such as 7-Up, ginger ale, or white grape juice are best. They are caffeine free and won’t leave much of a stain carpet or furniture.
· Cake: The cake is the centerpiece of the whole party. Order the cake at least two weeks in advance. Pick up the cake early incase there is a mistake that needs to be corrected.