Birthday Party Do’s & Don’ts

Children’s birthday parties require a ton of planning, which can stress any parent out. Everyone knows that there are rules for hosting and attending birthday parties, but these rules aren’t always black and white. With that in mind, here’s some guidance to help you prepare for your child’s birthday party.

Do: Find fun activities everyone will enjoy

Organized activities are the key to avoiding birthday party chaos. Start with some activities to immediately warm up and welcome the kids once they arrive. As children arrive, they can jump straight into the activities with the rest. Something simple, like letting children put stickers on birthday hats or draw “Happy Birthday” signs, is ideal.

If you’re throwing an outdoor party, look for activities that will keep kids entertained for a longer period of time. Try searching “foam pits near me” to find the entertainment for your kid’s birthday party that will make you the coolest parent ever. If the party is indoors, try musical chairs or charades, with small prizes (like a piece of candy) for everyone.

Do: Give out thank-you cards and goodie bags

Goodie bags are still in fashion. Kids love them, and don’t really care what’s in them — they’re just happy to get something. Try buying a box of sidewalk chalk and a bottle of bubbles for each bag. If you want to include food, buy a few larger bags of candy or mini snack packs (think Goldfish or Teddy Grahams) and split them up among the bags. Decorative paper bags and ribbons can be bought in bulk at most stores.

In addition, make sure to follow up with a thank-you card for each guest. Aim to complete them within a week after the party and mail them out. A simple thank-you to each parent specifying their gift is enough to show your appreciation.

Do: Take pictures

Time flies and your child’s birthday party will be over before you know it. When you’re planning next year’s party, look back on pictures from the year before to remind yourself what was a hit and what was a miss. You’ll also be able to look back at these pictures in the future when you’re reminiscing about the good old days. If you’re willing to print multiple copies of pictures, include a few in thank-you cards.

Don’t: Overspend on gifts

Set a budget for spending on your child’s birthday gifts. Younger children are typically quick to enter new phases, causing them to leave behind their old interests. If you’re buying something more expensive, make sure it’s something that won’t be ignored in a week. Plus, with all you’re spending on the party, you don’t want to break the bank. Smaller, more inexpensive gifts like stuffed animals, toys, and movies are always big hits.


Don’t: Assume people will come without an RSVP

It only takes a minute to call and ask whether your guest plans to RSVP if they haven’t already responded. Obtaining a head-count ensures that you have enough cake, food, room, etc. for everyone who plans to attend. When you call to ask whether someone plans to RSVP, you can give them more details about the party and offer gift suggestions.

Don’t: Feel pressured to invite everyone

Just because your child was invited to Megan’s party last year doesn’t mean that you have to invite Megan. Coordinate with your child to determine who to invite. If your child spends time with other children on a regular basis, invite them. That being said, don’t feel the need to reciprocate for every single person in your child’s class. Your social obligation was already fulfilled when you bought the other child a gift. If a parent tells you that they feel it was unfair that their child wasn’t invited, soften the blow by informing them that space was limited and only close friends were invited.

Structuring your child’s birthday party saves you from added stress and chaos. Although there’s a lot to consider when planning your child’s birthday party, the most important thing to remember is to make sure your child has a fun and memorable time.

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