Birthday Party Planning Guide: The Stress-Free Way

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She’s THREE. My heart is filled with excitement, some joy, a little sadness (because she’s no longer my little baby), and a greater appreciation for time. Time goes by so very fast these days but as I prepared for her 3rd birthday, I tried to be in the moment, to not stress out over small things (like my husband getting the wrong cake) and I just tried to enjoy her and to be very present. It is for this reason that I wanted to write this blog. So here it goes!

PREPARATION: I usually start planning for my kids birthday about 6 weeks before, but I’m thinking about it 3-4 months in advance. That’s coming from someone that LOVES to plan. Most people aren’t like me so 6 weeks is enough depending on the age and size of the party.

DATE: This might sound obvious but think about your family dynamics and as much as you want to do it on the EXACT date of their birthday, try to think about what you have going on and if you have to do it a week early go for it. Every year our family celebrates our daughters birthday a week early because our church’s marriage conference happens on her birthday every year. We do take her out for ice cream on her birthday but the party happens early because that just works for us. No one says or thinks anything. Trust me it will be okay and you will be at peace. When mom is at peace, things just flow smoother.

VENUE: Should you have the party at a facility or home. Totally up to you and your budget. Don’t try to keep up with The Joneses (they’re broke), just do what works for your family. I’ve seen AMAZING birthdays done at home with just a few decorations and horrible birthdays that were done at an expensive facility. The parents were stressed out, the kids all over the place and it just seemed forced. So before you start…..make the decision that you will put your peace and your child’s peace as a priority. Then choose home or outside venue. If you choose an outside venue, lock down the venue asap. Get all the details of what they already provide. (This will make your job easier) Tie in what they provide with your decor and theme. It will also save a ton of money.

BIRTHDAY THEME: I know you have a grand vision in your mind and you saw this awesome theme somewhere, but just think, will you enjoy it more than your kid. If so, it’s for you. For some of you that’s okay with you (hey you paid for it). But for others that really want their kids to enjoy it, try to think about what THEY will enjoy. If it’s a WORD party theme, rather than a Princess theme….for it. My daughter have ZERO interest in barbie dolls or dolls in general. She like adventure, puppies and Moana. She like bubbles and balloons. So as much as I wanted her to have a cute little tea party, she turned three. The tea cups would have turned into throwing objects (with me praying no gets hurt) and she would have sat for all of 2 seconds then ran around until she found something of interest. I normally go for birthday themes that would allow me an opportunity to fill the day with activities that uses the energy she has.

ACTIVITIES: This is where all the fun happens. Choose 2-3 fun activities that will make your child cheese from ear to ear. It can be as simple as throwing balloons around or hiring a magicians. Just make it stress-free. Also, assign someone to be over the games. If you have no one then choose a EASY and yet fun game.

FOOD: Ok, I get it. This can be really fun. So have fun. But if you don’t have the energy to create those caterpillar grapes just go for a bowl of grapes. If you don’t have the time to make your meal look amazing, go for Pizza or something simple! Trust me, the pictures of the kids smiling while eating are worth FAR more than them not eating your dish that took a few hours to create.

FAVORS: Again, the theme is stress free. Let me share something with you. No one will be mad at you if you don’t provide favors. They usually throw them away anyway! So…if it’s too much to do, scrap it. If you must have favors (like me) Try to find something that you enjoy creating or go to Etsy and purchase the favors. Make it a one and one things.