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|Birthday Party Tips|
|Whether you plan a party at home, a park or somewhere that hosts parties, the most important thing is to be sure the birthday child enjoys the party. If the child is old enough, make sure to get his or her input on ideas. For younger children, the simpler and smaller the better. Here are some additional tips for a successful party.
Be sure it clearly states location, starting and ending times, whether parents and all siblings are invited, and if special activities are scheduled that might require special clothing. Specify an R.S.V.P. date, including your full name and phone number.
HOW MANY AND WHOM TO INVITE
Invite fewer guests for younger children, 4 to 6 children for ages 1 to 3, 10 to 12 children for ages 4 to 12. Teenage parties can get out of hand so you may consider a smaller number of guests. If it is a large party, be sure you have plenty of space for the guests. Children can become easily overwhelmed in crowds. If the party includes activities such as swimming or akating be sure the children invited are able to participate.
Inviting all the children from your child's class can be a good way to meet his or her school friends; however, it might be a bit unmanageable depending on the number of children in the class. If everyone in the class is not invited, invitations should be mailed to the home, not delivered during class.
HOW MUCH MONEY
This depends on your budget. Remeber to include into your estimate all food, including cake, ice cream, snacks, as well as utensils and paper goods, decorations, invitations, thank you cards, entertainment and party favors.
These can vary from a "goodie" or "loot" bag with stickers, balloons and pencils, to items that were created at the party, such as self-decorated T-shirts, friendship bracelets or "wish people". Some people will get personalized items to give with the children's names printed on them, such as pencils or juice boxes. The local dollar store often is a terrific place to find favors as well as decorations. However, make sure the items are safe with no small pieces to break off.
This can be as simple balloons or crepe paper hung in the trees to elaborate underwater scenes with fish and netting strung about the house. Of course if you are having a theme, then decorations should be considered that will enhance the atmosphere.
If you decide on an outdoor party remember to have a back-up plan in case of bad weather. Deciding whether to have a home party or the party at another location should include your inclination for doing set up, decorating and clean up. Be sure if you have a home party that you have enough room for guests.
MAKING IT MEMORABLE
Personalize the party as much as possible to your child's tastes, hobbies and desires. Add personal touches, such as having all the guests sign or draw a picture on a "birthday banner" that can be printed out on the computer or made on "butcher" paper. Take lots of pictures or get a friend to take them so that you can participate in the party. Videos are great, and kids love to see themselves. Try to set the camera on a tripod in an out of the way place and let it run.
This is often fun at older children's parties, but presents should be left until after the party for younger children. Opening presents with young children can often lead to tears for the guests, who may want their present back, as well as the birthday child, who can become overwhelmed. Saving them for later allows the child time to play with each new toy and the parents are able to keep better record of which present came from whom for the thank you cards.
Your child's party should be fun. Don't loose perspective. If games and events don't come off as planned, remember that children are unpredictable. As long as everyone is having a good time, then the party is a success. And remember, there's always NEXT YEAR!