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For Parents: Party Tips

    Tips for Birthday Parties for Younger Children

    • Be sure to plan your party time around nap times for younger kids.
    • Why not let your birthday boy/girl decide who to invite.  It's their birthday.  Don't make them invite someone they don't like.
    • If the birthday child has brothers/sisters who aren't among his/her regular playmates (usually because they're much younger or much older), make them special helpers for the party. 
    • Mail your party invitations.  Don't send them to school with your child unless you plan to invite the whole class (think of the feelings of those not getting an invitation).  
    • Send invitations out two to three weeks in advance.  Respect the fact that families often have too much going on already.  Be sure to request that they phone in their RSVP-- so you know how many to plan for.
    • Have one adult helper for each 4 children at the party.  Utilize your spouse, older children, relatives, or your regular babysitter (don't forget to pay your babysitter!).
    • Why not make all the games be the type where everyone's a winner?  Kids will learn the realities of life soon enough, they don't have to learn to be a good loser at your party.
    • If you have party favors, put them in a party favor bag and mark each kid's name on the bag for easy identification and less confusion.
    • Have an activity going on when the guests arrive so they can join in:  coloring a giant birthday card or banner, making edible party necklaces, blowing bubbles in the yard, etc.
    • Serve finger foods instead of full meals.  Kids would rather grab a small sandwich or carrot stick and continue playing than sit down to a meal at the table.
    • If you are taking a group of kids out somewhere, have them all wear the same color shirt or hat.  A great great party favor idea would be to make hats as a craft!
    • Get phone numbers for all the parents in case of an emergency.
    • Consider this schedule:  1) Arrival activities  2) Ice breaker activities  3) Ice cream & cake  4)  Opening presents  5) Organized games  6)  General play time until:  7) Kids go home.
    • Be sure to have a couple extras of everything (party favors, prizes, treats, etc) just in case you miscounted or an unexpected guest arrives.
    • Fancy ice cream flavors are nice for adults, but kids generally prefer the old stand-bys:  vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry.  Neapolitan is a popular pick for a party.  Don't forget to have some fruit sorbet on hand for those with lactose intolerance.
    • Talk with the birthday boy/girl before the guests arrive about how to respond to the gifts.  "Thank you" is much better than "I already have that" or "what a stupid present."
    • Why not plan your party around a play at a local children's theatre?  Most theatres have ways to make birthday parties more fun-- meeting the actors/characters after the show, maybe they will even let you have the party at their theatre.
    •  Do you know what your birthday boy/girl is going to remember about this day?  The presents, the fun (or embarrassment), and the people.  They are not going to remember what food was served, the party decor, or the amount of work you put into the party.  Remembering that in your planning will save you a lot of headaches (and expense).

    1999, KMR Scripts.  All Rights Reserved.

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