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Party Planning Time-line

Here’s a guideline to help you get ready for your child’s party:

4 to 8 Weeks Before the Party:

  • With a little input from your child, choose a theme for the party.
  • Choose a date and time for the party. If you have the party away from home, reserve your date at the party location.
  • If you plan to hire entertainment such as a moon bounce or pony rides, call now to reserve your date.
  • Purchase invitations.

3 to 4 Weeks Before the Party:

  • Make up the guest list.
  • Mail the invitations.
  • Order or shop for the party supplies.
  • Hire a babysitter or ask a friend to be your assistant on party day.

1 Week Before the Party:

  • Decide what food you will serve.
  • Order the birthday cake if you won’t be making it yourself.
  • Get a final headcount for the party by calling anyone who hasn’t responded yet.
  • If your party is away from home, call the location and confirm all the party arrangements. Do the same for any entertainment you’ve hired, such as a clown or pony rides.
  • Choose some games and activities for the party and shop for any supplies you will need. Be sure to have at least two more games planned than you think you will need. Kids can race through activities much faster than you imagine, and you will be glad to have something in mind to keep them busy and entertained. Sometimes I even make a little list on an index card and put it in my pocket, so I don’t forget what I’ve planned during the excitement and distractions of the actual party.

1 or 2 Days Before the Party:

  • Shop for groceries needed for the party food. Remember to get birthday candles and a lighter.
  • Put together the favor bags.
  • Charge your video camera and digital camera; purchase fresh batteries for regular cameras.
  • Clean up the party area and hang decorations, but wait until party day to fill balloons. They only stay inflated nicely for about 8 hours. Walk through the party rooms and put away anything that isn’t safe for the guests.
  • Prepare any food items that can be done ahead of time, such as cutting veggies or baking cookies. Choose the bowls and platters you will use for each food item.
  • Bake the birthday cake, if making it yourself.

Party Day!

  • Pick up the birthday cake, if you ordered one. Take a picture of your child with the cake now, and then set out the candles and lighter next to the cake.
  • Inflate the balloons and set them in place around the party room.
  • Put away any pets in a safe room away from guests.
  • Set the table and arrange any other decorations you are using, such as a banner on the front door or sidewalk chalk drawings.
  • Set out any supplies you’ll be using for the games and crafts.
  • Put paper and pen in the area where the gifts will be put, so you or your helper can make a list of who gave each gift when your child opens the presents. This will make writing the thank you notes so much easier.
  • Set out the party food.

Get yourself and the birthday child dressed for the party. Try to relax, smile, and enjoy the party with your child. For many children, the day of their birthday party is one of the happiest days of the year, so don’t fuss if something goes wrong or you forget a game. Your party will be a success anyway!