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Tips for Successful, Stress-Free Birthday Parties for Kids
Kothari, owner of kids' party-planning company Peppers and Pollywogs, says parents should start planning their child's birthday party at least six weeks in advance -- especially if you want to host it outside your home. If the child's birthday occurs during a busy time of year, such as the winter holiday season, you may want to start even sooner.
Don't Have the Party at Home
Throwing a party in your home can be stressful, so ParentDish came up with a list of fun and educational places to host a great children's birthday bash, thanks to Seattle-based party-planning expert Lisa Kothari:
- Science center
- Petting farm
- Rock climbing venue
- Fire station
- Cooking school
- Dance studio
- Swimming pool
Get Responses from Everyone
Invitations should be sent about four weeks before the big day, Kothari adds, and she recommends setting the reply date for 10 days before your party so that you can plan your numbers comfortably. Contacting nonresponders can be awkward, but it needs to be done.
"Once the RSVP deadline has passed, take note of who you have not heard from and contact them," Kothari says. "A phone call is preferable to email, as some people will not check their email and this will keep you in the same bind. Call and ask what their response is."
Follow the Guest List Rule
The invite list itself can be a cause for consternation. Kothari says the "golden rule" of children's birthday parties is to limit the number of guests to your child's age plus one. If your son or daughter is turning 3, invite four children to the party.
However, children older than 3 generally have minds of their own, and Kothari says you should follow their cues. Just remember to keep your venue -- and your budget -- in mind.
"Older kids may feel the pressure to invite the entire class, and many schools have policies about invitations in the classroom and inviting the entire class, but it is OK to not invite the whole class any year," she says. "You must look at the time and budget you have available."
Related: Fabulous Birthday Cakes
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