Have you ever felt like the most pathetic mom when it comes planning a fun, seemingly “simple” craft party for your child? Do you wait until the last very last minute to shop for supplies and end up with a jumble of stuff that you never intended to buy, but did, because you were in a panic? Do you send out invitations so late that most kids already have other commitments? Do you ask yourself the day before the party- “but, what will the kids do?”
If this sounds like you, then you probably have sunk to deeper levels of inadequacy when you pick your child up from a seemingly perfect party. You know the type, where the partygoers all make exquisite crafts themselves which they will take home as an original party favor. The hostess has spent oodles of money on bounce houses, toys, games, clowns, musicians etc. The house is spotless (even after the party), and the hostess is immaculate, cheerful, and calm, serving parents and siblings drinks on the patio after the festivities.
Do you find it hard to compete with this scenario?
If you are like me, you have no time for planning and creating and implementing the perfect birthday crafts and activities. Worse yet is the thought of driving, shopping, and standing in line at a dozens of stores only to come home with a mish mash of stuff.
First, take a deep breath and know that most kids are happy just to see and play with their friends. A lot of entertainment will happen by itself. Many of the things you buy and plan for will never be utilized because the kids are too busy playing (which is a good thing)!
Second, do not get sucked into the competition of putting on the most expensive and extravagant party. This will leave you feeling stressed and hating yourself afterwards for playing that game. Most successful parties can be completed in two hours. Plan to spend 15 minutes for play time, and one hour for a craft or activity. Expect to spend 20 minutes for lunch or snack and 15 minutes for cake and ice cream. In the remaining time you can play games or open gifts.
Search the web for many great sites offering free tips for activities, menus, and themes. Make a list of things you need with your child before you leave the house. This will help you keep on track and you won’t be tempted buy things you don’t need. Shopping without the kids will help you resist impulse buys as well.
Try to set up decorations and prepare foods the day ahead. Plan to have an adult assistant (or several) during the party, depending on the number of children. Remember, bigger isn’t necessarily better. A smaller guest list will allow your child more time to connect with his or her good friends. A large noisy group of acquaintances may leave your child feeling unhappy.