So you know that you want to host the most amazing and perfect party for your kid. You’ve read many guides and articles on party planning and can’t wait to apply acquired skills to action. You understand the implications and are ready to face some obstacles. After so much time spent researching what can go wrong? Don’t be deceived, however, there are many aspects of birthday parties that parents keep getting wrong each time. Especially, when it is a birthday party for a 1-year-old they are throwing.
Of course, the best piece of advice we can give you is to read as much as possible and talk to parents who have more party planning experience. Some people have a lot of horror stories to tell, so listen carefully, keep yourself informed and be sure to avoid these 10 most common mistakes when planning for a birthday party:
1. No Nap Time
Napping is essential for younger kids. During napping time the child conserves energy that she then uses during the day. If you skip the nap there might not be enough energy for her to go through the day. Another mistake that a lot of parents make is forcing the napping schedule. It can be tempting to follow a strict schedule that works for a child and for parents but this is an ideal scenario that is hard to execute. Naps work themselves out as the child grows – there is really no right or wrong schedule. The schedule can also change from day to day and it is best to just go with the flow.
On a birthday party day, it can be tempting to skip the nap, but it is not worth running the risk of having an overtired kid, who does not enjoy the party and can’t participate in the planned activities. Kids who had to skip the nap are usually more irritable, so tantrums are almost always guaranteed.
Try to plan the party outside napping hours but be prepared if she suddenly decides to have a nap right before or during the party. Create a dedicated area where she can take some time off and recuperate.
2. Leave Information Off the Invitation
Elaborate invitations are becoming more and more popular with the parents. The rules to having a great invitation are simple: beautiful design, personal approach and as much detail as possible. You don’t want your guests to get lost on their way to the party or show up in an inappropriate attire. Be extra careful with the date and time of the event – party dates might change many times so you need to stay on top of those things. The things to include into invitation are:
- Birthday Party girl or boy’s name and surname
- Date and Time
- Start Time and Finish Time (optional, but good to have if you have booked a venue for limited number of hours)
- Contact Information
Try to anticipate questions and write the invitation so as it answers any potential queries. You will save yourself a great deal of time and effort handling tons of phone calls and emails.
3. Not collecting RSVPs
People can be quite forgetful. Imagine your child’s reaction if no one shows up at the party – it would be a truly traumatic experience. RSVPs are meant to prevent the disappointment and manage the expectations. It is a good rule of thumb to include “Please RSVP” by a certain date line into invitations. But it does not hurt to also call parents who did not RSVPed and send a reminder to those who did one day before the party.
Apart from taking care of your child’s emotional health, by collecting RSVPs you can also make sure you have enough supplies and food for the party and not overstuff the fridge with extra cupcakes and pizzas.
4. Not considering official public holidays
Before you set the exact date of the party, consult with your calendar to ensure that chosen date does not fall on holiday weekends and school breaks. Celebrating two occasions can be fun sometimes, but when those days are meant to be spent in a tight-knit family circle, it is silly to expect your guests to want to attend a big bash party.
5. Not planning activities or entertainment
Kids are restless. It is hard to keep their attention even for one minute, so when the first excitement brought about by decorations, meeting new friends and novelty dies off, you would be left with a bunch of kids vying for your attention. To prevent this situation from happening have a list of organized activities ready and make sure to include some extra ones too.
Kids are too little to understand the making friend’s concept, so don’t expect them to mingle and socialize. Instead, prepare activities that naturally bind participants together such as Charades or Hot Potato.
Check out our list of Seven No Brainer Birthday Party Entertainment Ideas For Kids for some awesome ideas.
6. Not checking the weather forecast for an outdoor party
Outdoor parties are great for kids and guests – there is plenty of space and fresh air is invigorating. However, the party can easily be ruined by uncontrollable weather. In order to prevent the disaster from happening, have a backup plan ready.
Include rainy day clause into your invitation and be prepared to wrap up the party supplies and usher guests towards the alternative location as soon as the rain starts.
7. Not checking the number of guests
While older kids are eager to socialize, meet new people and spend time in large companies, younger kids and especially toddlers feel more comfortable playing in pairs. It, therefore, makes sense to invite an even number of guests to the 1-3-year-old party.
Another mistake that a lot of parents make is inviting too many or too few guests. A good rule of thumb is to invite the number of guests equal to your child’s age. That way you can be sure your kid will make lifetime friends, get closer to his favorite people, and appreciate the value of friendship. With a reasonable number of guests, it will be easier for you to conduct activities and provide food and supplies.
8. Fail to plan the music
Music has become such an indispensable part of any party. You see, people want to experience good emotions and be connected – these are standard expectations at a kids birthday. And music is one of the instruments that allow for happiness and connection to happen. Music releases dopamine, which is a happiness hormone and even for a couple of minutes while listening to a good song, we can forget about our stresses and worries and enjoy the moment.
Failure to plan the music leads to a boring, unremarkable party. Even though your guests will not notice the absence of music, something will not feel quite right. So put making a playlist on your to-do list, bring or rent a professional acoustic system and blast those tunes throughout the party. You can also use music for organized activities such as Musical Chairs.
No wonder there are so many party planners out there – parents simply can’t arrange for everything to be perfect. We are definitely not requesting perfectionism here, but an awesome kids party planner can bring the party closer to your desired state in terms of quality, costs and the amount of fun kids will be having. Still sure you can do it all by yourself? We believe in you. Awareness is the key, so once you went through the most common mistakes, get down to party planning business. The result will be so worth it!