Every parent wants to throw the best birthday bash possible for their child, but it can be a really daunting task to get it just right – especially with all the pressure of topping, or even just matching, the parties your child has gone to…
If your child’s birthday party is fast approaching and you’re not feeling flush, don’t panic. We’ve got some great ways that you can cut costs while throwing a bash that both you and your little one will love.
Who to invite?
First thing’s first – decide whether you want an intimate do with immediate family and some friends from your NCT group, or a big blow out with the full extended family, friends and your co-workers with kids.
Don’t forget however, that the more people you invite the more food, drink and tidying up you have to do, so don’t push yourself, or your budget, too far. Ultimately, it’s about what you think will be best for your baby and you.
When to throw it?
Getting everyone in the same place at the same time can be the trickiest part of any party. However there are simple apps available, like Doodle, that can help solve the problem. You simply set up an event online, add all your possible dates and then send the invitation link to all invited. They simply select the times they’re available and the clever tool works out the best time for everyone.
At this age you’re also going to have to plan around nap time, so as not to break the sleep schedule you have no doubt worked hard to get in place.
Plan your party food
No birthday party is complete without a birthday cake, whether you make one yourself or go for shop bought – it is an essential! Do make sure however to keep the baby away from the candles, as they are more likely to try and grab them than blow them out.
For food throughout the party, keep it simple - finger food like bread sticks, roasted sweet potato chips, Laughing Cow cheese and tiny sandwiches will suit for the children, just lay on a few extra nibbles to keep the adults fed too!
Have a theme
A theme is always fun and is a great way to get both the adults and kids involved and it injects some fun into your games, decorations and food. You can team your theme to your little one’s favourite TV show (Peppa Pig is an obvious choice) or how about an ‘under the sea’ theme or teddy bear’s picnic?
‘Popular themes at the moment include The Hungry Caterpillar, In the Night Garden and Old MacDonald’s Farm,’ says party planner Su Forrester-Brown. ‘Younger children are very familiar with the characters and can join in with the stories, music and activities that go along with them.’
Limit the spending
Golden rule of parties: you don’t need to spend a lot have an amazing event. There are some elements that you can’t avoid spending a bit on (if you want to hold the party in a hired venue, for example) but on the whole there are always ways to cut costs.
Persuade your hubby to be the entertainer (what’s wrong with an Iggle Piggle costume?) and turn caterer to rustle up simple kid-friendly party food like ham sandwiches and sausage rolls.
‘Unsalted crisps, vegetables cut into interesting shapes, miniature finger foods, fruit and jellies/yogurts are all ideal for young children,’ says Su.
Golden rule of parties: you don’t need to spend a lot have an amazing event
If you haven’t yet discovered Pinterest, now’s the time. There are so many thrifty (and easy) ways that you can make decorations and games – and this is where to find your inspiration.
Bunting is a great example – simply cut triangles of fabric with pinking scissors and glue them to string. Plus, when your toddler’s old enough, she’ll be able to help out getting everything ready which will build up the excitement even more.
Go old school
Old school party games are in. There’s nothing better than a round of Pass The Parcel or a simple treasure hunt. Or get creative and think up your own game that both the adults and kids can get involved in – a bit of friendly competition is always a win.
Have a back-up plan
Parties rarely go exactly to plan, something that all us control freaks have to keep in mind. Whether your mum’s car breaks down en route (and of course she’s the one bringing the cake) or it pours with rain making the trampoline off limits, be prepared for something to go wrong.
So, to avoid tears from both you and your toddler, make sure you’ve got some form of back-up plan.
Don’t get stuck as the photographer
You don’t want to miss out on all the fun by being the delegated photographer. Instead scatter some disposable cameras around and encourage the adult guests to get snappy happy. Or just create your own hashtag and get your friends to share images via Instagram.
If you’re stressed and not having fun, then your little one will pick up on your negative vibes which may mean she doesn’t have as much fun as he should. Invite some of your friends round and don’t worry about cracking open the wine – just always remember to drink responsibly.
What are your tips for a great kid’s birthday party? Let us know below.