Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Planning That Birthday Party....

It was my little one’s birthday two days ago…..and man, was I rushed?!!!! To give you an idea of how busy and mad these last few days have been, I was planning to write and share this before the birthday, but ended up getting some time and writing it only now. She turned three this year, seems like a miracle – I still can’t understand how and when time flew by and where did all those moments go from the time she was born till now? All parents say this all the time, they don’t realize how soon time went by, that one day they look at their little one and instead, they see a grown-up, all independent and busy in her own life and friends.

Well now that she is turning three, she already has a huge network of friends. So one thing I really needed to keep in mind was to remember each and every friend of hers whom she really loves being with, as also those who had invited her for their own birthday parties. Also, last year we had done an elaborate celebration at a pre-planned venue, so this year we decided to throw a party at home, with lots of music and fun. But that means there is so much work to do. And with around 20 kids and a few adults being invited, it also means that we need to be extremely careful and organized while planning the whole thing.

These are a few tips that may help you while arranging for your little one’s party, whether at home or a pre-planned venue:

For a pre-arranged venue, these are the key things you need to keep in mind:

Make a separate list of how many children and how many adults will be attending, including your own family.

Find out what is the children’s menu and make it clear that you want things to be done less spicy (or zero spice, as is required). Many venues have special birthday menus that cater to popular and non-messy items for children. If the venue will not arrange for food, make sure you check with the caterers or any other option you have in mind. Sometimes, a venue may not deal in providing food but they do have tie-ups with caterers who handle the food arrangements. Check about the same.
Remember to order the cake at least two-to-three days before the birthday. Also, take into account the number of guests and accordingly place the order. Sometimes, kids like to have more than one slice of the birthday cake. It is alright to have a little extra cake than to run out of it and having to refuse the children. You can always share the extra cake.
Check about the music. Many venues will ask you to bring your own music. That is also a better idea as you would know best the kind of music that is enjoyed by your child and the guests who have been invited.
Return gifts are a major area which needs your attention. What to gift depends pretty much on the age group of the children. Keep the gifts interesting and age-appropriate. Sometimes, children open the return gifts at the birthday venue, thus making other kids also want the same gift (if you have different gifts). If possible, try and keep the return gifts as age-neutral as you can. Something as simple as a fancy drawing and colouring kit works quite well with children of different age groups.

If you are planning to host the birthday party at home, keeping these few things in mind could help a lot:

Creating space:
having a birthday party at home means lots of young children and lots of energy and jumping and running about. Kids will need the space and you would want to safe-guard your precious or delicate items. If you have allocated a special room or area for the celebrations, try to remove the furniture or breakables to a different room. You may convert one room to a kind of storage for that particular day and keep it out-of-bounds while the guests are there.

Valued away:
remember to keep all your valuables and important documents in a place where it is out-of-reach of those tiny but ever-curious hands.

Keeping it safe: since there will be so many children around, you do not want to take any chances of any one getting hurt. Remove all glass items and things that might cause injury. Removing any sharp-edged items is a good idea.

Decorations: get lots of balloons, streamers, ribbons and other decorations and do up the place. Bring party hats and hand it to all the kids. Make it fun.

Birthday dress: if you still need to shop for her birthday dress while the birthday is just a few days away, do it now. You may not find the dress you/she has in mind, the size may not fit or there may be any other problem. Keep some time in hand. If you have already got a perfect dress for your little princess’s special day, remember she will need shoes to match too. It is her birthday and she will be the focus of all eyes. Co-ordinate her dress and take time out to get shoes and other accessories if you are planning to get them new.

Making the guest list: this is a tricky one as many times you will end up inviting more than you initially intended, and sometimes, you may even need to invite people not as much for friendship as out of courtesy. Some one might have invited your little one to their kid’s birthday and now you have to return that courtesy. Other times it could just be that though you are not too pally with that particular family, they always extend a warm hello to you. Sometimes, these things matter a lot while creating a birthday invitation list.
Birthday invitation card: there are many options available at your local stationer’s for a birthday invitation, but nothing is more special than creating a birthday invite at home. Simple as it may sound, it is a hugely time consuming job and requires immense patience and concentration. So if you are ready to invest some time for the same, remember to bring in the stationery well in advance. You would ideally need to invite everyone at least a week in advance, and creating cards would take up quite some time.

Food: check how many kids and how many adults are there in the list and select the menu accordingly.

Set a time: set a start and finish time for the party. Remember to clearly state in the invite the timings of the party, from when to when. If possible, mention the time when you are planning to cut the cake. During the celebrations, keep an eye on the clock and start giving feelers to guests at least half an hour before you want to wrap it all up.

Keeping it tidy: place bins at strategic locations. Show the bins to the children and tell them to dispose all garbage in the same. Keep extra spoons and packs of tissues on the table.

Keep the supplies extra: keep some extra paper plates, paper cups, disposable spoons, straws and loads of tissue.

Keep an eye on the little ones: if you are too busy, make sure there is someone around to keep an eye on your little one.

Seating: make sure there is enough space for people to sit or lounge around. If there is not enough space to sit, try and make some space where adults can stand together and chat.

Music: make a DVD of your child’s favourite tracks and keep it ready. Play it in advance to avoid any problem once the party starts.

Enough light: it is a party and you may want to make the lights a little dim. Just ensure that the children are always under adult supervision, especially the really little ones.

Keep balconies out of bounds: if you have a balcony at home, make sure the door is safely locked. You may feel you can keep an eye on everything, but there is no telling when something might need your attention and the kids are left alone and unattended. An open balcony area is a huge safety hazard.

Keeping the gifts safe: if possible, entrust someone with the responsibility of keeping away all the gifts as soon as they arrive. There will be many children in the house and they too may want some of the gifts. Also, remember to keep the name tags attached as it will help you later to thank each one accordingly.

Medical kit: too many children in the house can mean injuries and cuts. Remember to keep a first-aid kit handy.

Return gifts: again, these should always be as age-appropriate as possible, but if you feel there is too much mixing of age-groups and if there is a chance of children crying over someone else’s return gift, try and keep it a neutral (something that can be used in all age groups) and same.

Cameready: remember to check your camera beforehand. If it is a manual one you may want to get yourself an extra set of reels. If it is a digital camera, remember to keep the batteries charged.


These are more or less the things you need to keep in mind while planning a birthday party for your little one. So get ready and begin planning now. After all, you don’t want to get into a mad frenzy as the D-day arrives.
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