A birthday is an important event in a child's year, second only to Christmas. It's really special if there's a party with his friends and ice cream and cake and games and presents and... Well, every parent knows the routine.
There's no need to panic. The whole affair can be carried off with a minimum of stress, cost and effort with the use of checklists. This strategy can shrink the required chores into manageable chunks that can be spread over a comfortable period of time.
When the big day arrives, you'll be confident, relaxed, in control and ready to enjoy the party with your child.
FOUR WEEKS BEFORE THE PARTY
___ Set a date, time and location for the party. Weekends are best for working parents. Most children's parties last two or three hours.
___With your child, choose a theme for the party. This makes the party planning easier. Decorations, goody bags, food ,and balloon colors can all follow the theme.
___ Make a guest list and purchase invitations. Ask a reliable adult friend or relative to help you during the party.
___Begin shopping, buy party items as you see them.
___If you plan to hold the party away from home, make reservations now. If you wish to bring in entertainment, ( a clown, pony ride, etc.) book it now.
___Plan menu and drinks.
___Plan games and activities.
THREE WEEKS AHEAD
___ Send out invitations with directions to location if needed. Request an RSVP, so you'll know how many children to expect. Place the guest list near the phone so it can be kept up to date.
___ Make a rough agenda of how you intend the party to proceed, schedule games' duration, probable time needed to eat , to open presents, and for last round of games or activities.
___Purchase balloons, part favors, game prizes, and goody bags.
___Purchase film, memory card, and video tape. Check camera batteries, get extras if necessary.
TWO WEEKS AHEAD
___ Buy games, if necessary.
___Choose cake, or buy supplies to bake your own. Get candles and matches.
___Get your gift for the birthday child, wrap it and hide it. Locking it in the car trunk is an excellent idea.
___Assemble goody bags and favors and store in a cool, high spot.
___Finish shopping for game prizes, decorations and balloons.
ONE WEEK AHEAD
___Call guests who have not responded. Finalize guest list.
___Confirm reservations if necessary.
___Confirm cake order if necessary, or bake and freeze unfrosted cake, if you're making your own.
___Start major cleaning chores.
___Buy freezable food.
___Be sure your first aid kit is fully stocked and handy.
TWO DAYS AHEAD
___Confirm entertainment if necessary.
___Shop for food and beverages for the party.
___Clean the party site, and washroom.
___Choose music for the party and check sound equipment.
ONE DAY AHEAD
___Child proof the party area.
___Defrost frozen food.
___Bake any treats you're planning to serve.
___Prepare any food that will refrigerate overnight.
___Review party etiquette with your child.
___Go to bed early and have a good sleep!
___Pick up cake, or frost and decorate your own.
___Set up table, finish decorating, blow up balloons, get favors, prizes and goody bags ready.
___Check temperature in party room; it should be cool.
___Put pets away in a safe place.
___Decide on a spot for coats and gifts.
___Smile, start the music, have fun!
If you followed the plan, and checked off items on the lists, you'll be confident, relaxed and in control, while your child enjoys one of the best birthday parties of his life.