Here are 10 Hints to help you pull off a successful party without going crazy, busting your budget, or taking the week off from work! Check out our Planning Guide for additional strategies.
#1 Consider Your Child
Where is your child most comfortable? What time of day is your child most pleasant? Does your child handle crowds well? Tailor the size, time, and location of the party to capture your child at his/her best. Everyone will be happier!
There are so many fun things you can do, buy, and make for your child's party that the party can sometimes become bigger and fancier than it really needs to be. This means extra work, extra cost, and probably less fun for all those involved in making the party happen. Focus on the things that are really key to the party fun and most important to you, your child, and your guests.
Don't spend more than you want or need to. The key pieces of a party... Games & Activities and Fun Food ... are relatively inexpensive. If you're on a tight budget, keep the party short short, keep it small, and schedule the party for a time of day when you aren't expected to provide a full meal.
Develop a good outline and time line for the party. Use our Planning Guide to determine what needs to be done when. Have back-up plans in case of rain, a no-show entertainer, etc.
Do as much ahead of time as possible. Then you won't be in a panic if you get a cold the week before the party or have a huge work project dumped in your lap. Prepare all the party favors and games/activities a couple weeks ahead. Then you can spend the days before the party focusing on the things that really must wait until the last minute (preparing the food and putting up the decorations).
#6 Take Short Cuts
Identify the things you can purchase ready made or pay someone else to do. Your "I'll do it myself" list should focus on the things you have to do because they're either not available or too expensive to purchase and the things you really want to do, because it'll be fun (maybe you'd really like to make the party invitations, even though you could easily buy them).
#7 Get Help
Give everyone in the family some responsibilities. Dad can pickup the balloons, brother can setup the games, grandma can bake the cupcakes. Ask friends to use their unique talents to help... your artistic friend can make a party banner, your gourmet cook friend can help with the food. If you don't have a lot of time to come up with games and activities, hire an entertainer who'll sing silly songs.
#8 Be Realistic
Don't think everything has to be perfect... it won't be. If you want to look at party books for ideas... fine, but remember life with a 1 year old is rarely picture perfect! There will always be something you'd do differently if you had it to do over again. Some game you thought would be a big hit will be too easy, too difficult, or too slow. Some food you thought kids would devour will go untouched. Don't dwell on it, but do remember it for the next time.
#9 Be Flexible
Plan and prepare, but don't freak out when things don't go as planned. Be ready to shift gears if a game or activity isn't a big hit. Be ready to go to plan B. Play with play-dough in the garage when it starts to rain or plug in a video when the entertainer doesn't show.
#10 Have Fun
Your baby only turns 1 once! Parties are a great opportunity to share a good time with your child, family and friends. Remember, it won't be too long before your child is "too old for parties" and just wants to be dropped off at the movies with friends. Enjoy the silly games and sprinkle-covered cupcakes while you can!
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