HOW TO THROW A STRESS FREE KID’S BIRTHDAY PARTY
My oldest daughter turns four in two months, which means that we’ve been through three children’s birthday parties so far – and by parties, I mean events. My in-laws have hosted all of them and don’t get me wrong, I am extremely grateful for this.
However, they do parties BIG. My husband has a large family and the parties are just different than the parties I had growing up. We didn’t have a ton of games or bouncers, the guest list was always just a few close friends and family (20-30 people max) and most of the time we didn’t have a full meal.
The birthday party was usually held during the time between lunch and dinner, so we just had some appetizers and cake.
As fun as the large parties can be, they are exhausting and extremely stressful for me. They can also cost a lot of money. My anxiety is sky high the day of and during my daughter’s last birthday party, I had to excuse myself because I was beginning to have a panic attack.
Now, I understand that there are a lot of you that don’t suffer from anxiety and don’t stress quite as easily as I do but I do know that most of us moms want our kids’ birthday parties to be as stress-free as possible.
I just finished hosting my second daughter’s first birthday and it was much less stressful this time! My goal was a simple, cute, fun party with as little stress as possible for everyone involved and I think we just might have pulled it off.
Here are some tips for keeping things low-stress:
This is completely acceptable in today’s world. Most of us have our friends and families email addresses but not always their physical address since we just don’t send actual mail as much anymore.
Not only is this easy, but it’s free too! You don’t have to worry about addressing envelopes and paying for stamps. There are several websites where you can create cute, free e-vites like at evite.com.
The venue can make a big difference as far as stress level. When you host a party at your house, you usually have to deal with cleaning it before (only to have to clean it again when it’s over). You also may have to do more cooking depending on what kind of party you are hosting (where you provide everything, a potluck, etc.).
So far, I feel a park is the easiest way to go or a venue where clean-up is included. A park offers a nice backdrop to your party, and there are usually playgrounds and places for the kids to explore (which means less games and entertainment needed). At a lot of parks, you can even have your party for free but in those cases, it’s usually first come first serve so you would need to grab a spot early.
For the lowest stress option, I would reserve a spot at a park through the city. This way, you don’t have to worry about all the spots being taken the day of your party. (How horrible would that be?) It usually costs money to reserve a spot but these spots are usually nicer, covered and it’s yours for most of the day.
3.) KEEP IT SHORT
I’ve been to lots of children’s birthday parties and they all seem to start at different times. I’ve seen some that start as late as 5:00pm and some as early as 11:00am.
A child’s birthday party seems to be best kept at 3-4 hours. Most kids start to get tired after that and then it’s just not fun for anyone anymore. If you are trying to avoid serving a main meal, then 1:00pm – 5:00pm is the perfect window.
Bottom line, pick a time that works for YOU and your kids. You know them best!
4.) MAKE THE FOOD EASY
If you are serving a main meal during the party, keep it easy! I’m talking pizza or pre-made sandwiches from a store or you could do a potluck. Most people really don’t mind bringing something. Remember, these are your closest family and friends and I’m sure they would love to help.
You could also choose to have the party catered. This is a super low-stress option but not the cheapest. The upside is that they usually take care of all the utensils, heating trays, and they clean up. It doesn’t get much easier than that! 😊
5.) CUPCAKES INSTEAD OF CAKE
I’ve noticed cupcakes are becoming much more popular at parties and now I can understand why. First of all, there are lots of different ways you can incorporate cupcakes into the décor. Second, they are less messy! And, you don’t have to worry about cutting a cake and passing it out. People can come get cupcakes as they choose.
They are also much cheaper. (Check your local grocery story bakery department. They usually take custom orders and cost much less than a smaller bakery or cupcake shop.)
You can even have a special cupcake or two made for the birthday girl/boy, put the candles on top and still sing happy birthday so that the birthday person isn’t missing out on anything.
6.) AVOID PINTEREST (to some extent)
It’s funny – I say this as you probably came across this post on Pinterest. I’m not saying to avoid it altogether. It’s a great way to get some inspiration.
What I mean is, don’t get sucked into the Pinterest vortex. Especially with party planning, it can make you feel extremely overwhelmed and it’s really easy to get caught up with comparing the outcome of your party to all those beautiful pictures you saw on Pinterest. Just try not to get caught up in the comparing game is all I’m saying. Your child is going to be happy no matter what, which is all that really matters right?
7.) ASK FOR HELP
As I mentioned earlier, most of the people attending the party are close family and friends and they really don’t mind helping! The hardest part is asking. If you can get past that, than you will be doing yourself a huge favor.
For me, just having my mom here to help watch the girls so I could decorate and prepare on the day of made a big difference. Make a list ahead of time of what needs to be done (especially the day of) and see what you can delegate.
I hope these tips help make your party less stressful! What tips do you have for making a kid’s party go smooth?