Throwing The Perfect Summer Birthday Party For Your Child
Throwing The Perfect Summer Birthday Party For Your Child
For many parents, especially those with children at an age when they’re at their most troublesome, the idea of organising a party can invoke a lightning bolt of dread right into the chest. However, if you organise the party just right, you’ll make it fun for all (including you!). Below, we offer a comprehensive guide to ensure you throw a party that lives long in the memory of your child and their friends, and for all the right reasons to boot.
Pick the Date
You have to keep a few considerations in mind when it comes to selecting the date of your child’s birthday party. To begin, think about when their birthday is; if it’s not on the weekend, pick the one before or after their big day. You’ll also need to remember that people will have plans during their child’s summer break from school, so try to set a date six or so weeks in advance of the party to give people time to get it on their calendar. As well as other people’s commitments, take a look at your own. You’ll need to get everything ready for the party, so keep your schedule clear in the run up to the day.
It’s not essential that you have a theme, and even if you have one you don’t have stick to it religiously, but it does help in the planning stages. There are plenty of awesome child party themes out there, so take a look through and see what your child might enjoy. If it’s going to be a relatively big party, avoid a theme that has any pretence of being “dignified” (like, say, an afternoon tea party), as there’ll only be tears when the classiness is undermined by children bored by the activity.
But Keep it Simple
It’s easy to get carried away when you’re planning your child’s birthday party. After all, and as we mentioned above, there are plenty of awesome ideas out there! However, it’s important that you don’t make things too complicated. There’ll be more to organise in the run-up to the big day than you realise, and while your plans might sound good in theory, you might regret being too ambitious. If you’re not sure you have time or resources to go big, keep it simple. Children are very easily pleased.
Draw Up The Guestlist
And now to the politics: the guest list. Who makes into the party, and who’s left on the sidelines? This is a tricky one to balance because you’re not just inviting one of their school friends. Depending on the day and the family’s plans, you might also be inviting that person’s parents and siblings. As a starting point, it’s best to ask your child who they would like to attend. Once that core nucleus of attendees has been established, you’ll be able to see who else can be on the guest list.
Don’t Forget the Adults
It’ll be a good idea to have a few guests on your side too, for a number of reasons. First, if a child’s parents are nearby, they’ll be less likely to misbehave. Second, you’ll be busy during the party, but you also want to have fun. The most successful birthday gatherings are the ones that have both children and adults: just because the party is for your child doesn’t mean the adults can’t have fun too!
The next stage of the process will be waiting for RSVPs to roll in. This will help figure out exactly what you need to get for the party, and also whether you can extend the invite to more distant relatives and friends if people have said they’re unable to attend. Once you have your final list of people who are coming, you’ll be able to work out exactly how much food, drinks, and snacks you’ll need to keep people well fed and refreshed throughout the day. Also, remember that some people see the RSVP function as an optional courtesy. You should expect one or two people who didn’t confirm or decline your invitation to show up on the day: it always happens.
You’re going to be transforming your garden and house into a magical arena, one fit for your little prince or princess. This is one area where you don’t have to show restraint: if anything, do the opposite. Go big, buying banners, lights, balloons, and other shiny decorations that’ll lighten up your child’s face when they see it.
Presents, Or No Presents?
Whether or not there should be a ‘presents’ part of the birthday party depends on a number of factors. For one, is it their actual birthday? It’s unlikely that your child will want to hold off opening their gifts so that they can open them at the party. Second, is it common for people in your community to bring presents for other people’s children when they attend a party? For what’s it worth, it’s worth remembering that the benefits of a public present opening session are limited; the drawbacks are significant. Tantrums because they didn’t get what they want, toys that are broken in the chaos of the party, and so on.
Bringing the Fun
Children are pretty good at entertaining themselves, but only up to a point. For a birthday party to run smoothly, you’ll need to make sure that there’s plenty of entertainment on hand to keep all the littles – and OK, the adults too – smiling and happy. You can do this adding a few touches of fun to your garden. You can rent a bouncy castle and let the children bounce the afternoon – and their energy – away. Alternatively, with a photo booth hire your child and their friends can take photos of themselves in a variety of funny poses and backgrounds – and have a keepsake to remember the party by, too. You could also hire a professional entertainer, such as a clown or a Disney character, to put on a show for everybody; this will also keep them occupied and give you a moment of rest, too.
Aside from all the extra fun activities, you should also have all the staples of childhood fun in your garden. Things like balls, hula hoops, dolls, action figures, and the like will give the children something to do. There’s nothing worse than a gathering of children who are energetic and excited, but who don’t have the materials to have fun! When you’re buying the decorations, pick up a pinata too – they always go down well!
Good Times For Adults
The party should obviously be primarily set up for your child and his or her friends, but let’s not forget the adults. They’d like to have a good time too. Providing a couple of beers or glasses of wine per adult would be appropriate, as would be providing food that doesn’t contain copious amounts of sugar. Also, have a dedicated ‘adult’ section of the garden, with enough tables and chairs to go round too.
Even though you’re hosting your party in summer, you’ll have to prepared for bad weather. Rain can – and often does – crop up when we least want it to. If you wake up on the day of the party and rain clouds are overhead, you don’t need to cancel everything. Have a plan to move everything indoors should the rain arrive. It’s also a good idea to have a canopy of some sort on hand to put up in the garden if it looks it might rain. If the bad weather passes in twenty minutes, you’ll be able to ride out the rain under shelter rather than moving everything indoors.
Prepping the House
Don’t leave everything to the morning of the party. Start the transformation of your home and garden on the day before, and just put the final touches together on the big day itself. As part of preparing your home for guests, you’ll also need to remove any valuables that you think might be broken when there are plenty of children running around. You should also decorate any room where guests are free to roam and close the doors of any rooms that are off limits. Finally, dedicate one room as ‘the coat room’.
Go with the Flow
When the guests start to arrive, there’s not much to do other than go with the flow and follow your plan for the day through. Things won’t run smoothly all day – how can they with so many children – but in spite of this, stay positive and happy. As long as people are having a good time then that’s really all that matters. Today, you can have fun. Tomorrow, you can replace the broken picture frame. No biggie.
There’s only a handful of years where we get to treat our child to a magical party. When they’re too young, they don’t understand, and before you know it, they’ll be an age where they want a “cool party.” So enjoy this day, and all the fun and memories it’ll bring. With the right planning, it’ll be talked for years to come!