A parent's guide to hosting the perfect birthday party

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Nervous about holding your kid’s first birthday party? Don’t worry; all have been there at some point. You want to get everything right, but don’t even know where to start. Well, rest easy since this quick guide will tell you pretty much everything you need to know to host the perfect birthday party for your kid.

Invitations – who to invite and how to invite them

Ever heard of the “age plus one” rule? If you’re planning to throw just a small get together, ask your child to choose only the closest of his friends to invite. So, if your child says four years old, tell him to choose around five kids to invite. Or if you’re looking to have a bigger party and your child wants to invite about half of his class, consider inviting the entire class, or at least every one of the same gender. After all, it’s tough to be one of the few kids that weren’t invited.

Sending out invitations can be a little tricky. With small parties you want to be discreet so that e-invites might seem like the best option. However, it’s better to have your child involved in the process and write the invitations out himself. As long as he can be discreet about handing them out, we recommend the latter option.


Budgeting and planning the party

While you might get tempted to go a little overboard on your kid’s party, remember you’re under no pressure to do so. Stick to a budget that suits you, regardless of how much the next kid’s parent spent on their turn. If something’s too expensive DIY it and get your kid involved; it’ll be a great bonding experience, and you’ll save a lot from it.


Gifts

Though it’s customary to bring gifts to a party, you can always ask your guests not to bring any. Just include a polite statement in your invitations, telling them only the pleasure of their presence is required.

On the other hand, if you are letting your child receive gifts at his party, be sure to store them away and have your kid open them after the party. Opening presents at a party can cause all sorts of problems, and you’ve already got a lot on your plate. And be sure to have your kid write out thank you notes for each present he receives, or at least have him thank everyone when he receives a gift.


Goody bags

We highly recommend you do these since kids love the idea of taking something away from a party. It doesn’t have to be something overly fancy, even a small bag filled with candy, balloons or something they made at the party would do. Still, if you feel like it’s too much trouble, ditch it. You’re not obligated to make a goody bag, and you shouldn’t feel pressured to do so. Nevertheless, try to send each kid off with something at least. A homemade cookie, for example, would be a perfect substitute.

Backup plans

A golden rule of thumb is to always prepare extra food when hosting a party. This way you’ll be able to cater to surprise last-minute guests (siblings or other friends) and even the parents of the children. Budget accordingly, and you won’t have to face the embarrassment of sending away hungry guests.

Mike Trakalo