Top 5 Tips for Hosting a Child’s Birthday

I’ve gotten a few tweets and emails asking for my advice on throwing a child’s birthday. Tip 1: Don’t get a flat tire the day before one of the parties like I did πŸ˜‰

We decided to have two events this year for our twins, and wanted each celebration to be very individual and special to each child. Here’s what I did:

1. Ask your child for an idea for a theme.

We’ve done this since the twins were three. This year, my daughter loves all things equestrian, but specifically: ponies. My son, on the other hand, would love to join a pirate ship sailing out on a treasure hunt.

So, Ponies & Pirates.

2. Take your child with you to a party supply store.

I took each twin separately on a shopping trip to Craig’s Warehouse, our local supply store. They each chose plates, napkins, cups, party favors and balloons. They each had very specific aesthetic ideas of what they wanted: my daughter preferred the vintage-looking visions of ponies as opposed to the more commercial-looking My Little Pony gear, and my son liked the classic Jolly Roger logos. I really let them run with their own choices and tried not to steer them towards anything in particular. Even though I had my own ideas.

3. Ask them to choose two colors for additional decor.

My daughter wanted apple green and pink (of any shade) and specified that gingham be somewhere in the mix. My son requested black and red with lots of pirate loot. I basically treated the twins like my special event clients, and tried to really make their ideas a reality.

4. Make vision boards to help create what you want.

I went on Pinterest and scoured photos of pirate ship pinatas and anchor cakes and gingham party favors and ombre layer cakes. I also looked through party books and some vintage magazines for ideas. I’m a very visual person and sometimes I just need to see what cakes, flowers, favors and tables can look like before making a look my own. The board for my son, and my daughter. I posted the photos of the end products on each of vision board because I am nerdy like that.

5. Surprise them with the end result!

My in-laws hosted my daughter’s party and I went over there the night before to drop off the cake and decorate with MiL. When our daughter walked in the next morning, she was so thrilled to see all the little touches: the balloon garland, the cake colored pink and green with sprinkles, the pin-the-tail-on-the pony game. Similarly, my son was taken to the playground while I feverishly prepared our house with the final details. The look on his face when he saw the treasure chest and jolly roger and the pirate entertainer, (a last minute addition after a near Cowboy Dan episode) I will take with me to my grave. He was really, really happy.

Final tip: let friends and family help you!! I got a flat tire the day before and had a meltdown and Esperanza and my in-laws really came through and helped me out. Esperanza was amazing, playing pirates and swords with the balloons.

Today, I decided to have a little me time by getting some awesome dental surgery πŸ˜‰

What tips do you have about how to put on a memorable kid’s party? I would love to compile a list for next year. Only 363 days away!

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5 Comments

Filed under My Favorite Things, Parenting After IF

5 responses to “Top 5 Tips for Hosting a Child’s Birthday

  1. Well, all your suggestions have to do with decorating. I have made the mistake in the past of focusing too much on the theme and not on the food & activities. So, my tips from this year’s party are:

    Have some food & drinks available right away, not just an hour or 2 in when you serve lunch. You don’t want cranky kids who show up hungry.
    You need to serve lunch, even if your party is from, say, 1-3.
    If your party is indoors, don’t assume everyone will stay iin the living room. Hide things you don’t want kids getting into.
    Remember some people wll bring younger kids with them. I ended up pulling out my child-proofing supplies partway through J’s party.

    Looking forward to seeing what others suggest!

  2. I love all these tips!! I don’t have any great suggestions as I’ve only hosted one birthday party so far, but I’m looking forward to what others have to say

  3. Very cool! I love the idea of you treating your kids like your VIP clients πŸ™‚
    Dental surgery – ugh! Hope it’s over quickly.

  4. I love the movie Parenthood, and Cowboy Gil is probably my favorite scene.

    Next year, when Abby turns 3, is when we plan on letting the birthdays be more for her than for us. Lucky girl, getting two parties every birthday!

  5. If you are a very busy working/student parent, have the party at a location. We had a blast at the bowling alley and all we had to do was show up. For a summer/warm climate, have the party at a playground (no rental fees and it’s fun)! That way you aren’t sweating cleaning your house or child-proofing it in addition to party planning. Also, if any of the other parents of attendees ask if they can help, totally take them up on it. I got two offers of help for the kid’s dinosaur-themed bowling birthday party, so I asked one mom to get paper plates and another to bring napkins and a large trash bag. My final tip is to keep it simple with one or two awesome touches, because the awesome thing will be so memorable (for most kids) that the little details are totally glossed over (like did my kid notice her dinosaur cupcakes had dinosaur sprinkles? Not at all).

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