Saturday, October 19, 2013

How To Survive Your Own Kid's Birthday Party

My darling daughter's 8th birthday party is tomorrow.  Now, DD is not my first child and I've thrown at least a dozen parties before, so why am I nervous?  I guess because like any hostess I want the attendees, and especially my daughter, to have a wonderful time.  So here's what I think are the keys to surviving your own child's birthday party:

1.  Review the details and provisions:  You've planned everything down to the smallest detail.  At least a day or two before the event, go back over those details again.  Walk yourself through the party.  If it's a home party, do you PHYSICALLY KNOW where everything is?  Thinking you have enough cups is very different from knowing exactly where those cups are and having them at hand.  If the celebration is at a place, review the balance you owe so there are no surprises at the end and what the venue will and will not provide; pack those provisions to go.  We're having DD's at a bowling alley that specifically states what kinds of snacks you're allowed.  I just discovered that the small barrel of cheese balls is taboo, so I have a spare bag of Bugels is ready.  Everything I'm bringing, including scissors and tape to hang the decorations, is in two shopping bags in the garage.  And don't forget to charge your camera and BRING IT.

2.  Know the four main components of a party that kids honestly care about:  the activity (or activities) being done, the food, the cake, and the Goodie Bags.  If you've got a handle on those, then in the eyes of the kids, the party will be a success.

3.  Understand the flow of the party and clearly delegate who's doing what and when.  The agenda for ours is bowling for 75 minutes (approximately), then pizza for half an hour with the remaining 15 minutes dedicated to cake, goodie bags, and farewells.  The birthday child is responsible for greeting and saying good-bye to all of her guests.  I'm usually the one who decorates the room and takes video/pictures.  My husband and son will be guiding the attendees to their respective bowling lanes.  Hubby is also in charge of manning at least one lane to make sure the girls throw the balls in the right direction. If it's helpful, write it down and put the paper in a centralized place at the venue for the family to reference.  Again, make sure you've communicated what help you'll be needing - you may have to repeat your instructions several hundred times.

4.  Remember that this'll all be over in a few hours and breathe.  It's situations like this where I REALLY use the Lamaze Breathing I learned in childbirthing class.  And here's a tip I learned long ago:  the birthday child does NOT unrap gifts until we're home.  I once had party attendees swarm my kid in a frenzy which scared my son and resulted in new, broken toys.  I only made that mistake once.  Otherwise, relax and enjoy your birthday child having fun.  Remember that he/she will never be this young again.

5.  Be kind to yourself.  Parties are stressfull and stuff happens.  This is a kid's birthday party, not the Oscar's.  You're doing your best and somewhere, at sometime, someone has done worse. 

Okay, so am I still nervous?  Yes.  But by this time tomorrow, it'll all be over and my daughter will have had another memorable birthday.  On to the Holidays...(yikes!)

Update:  So the party came and went and despite several bowling balls stuck mid-lane and the computer scoreboard that somehow the girls managed to jam, the party turned out well.  The birthday girl is happily opening her presents and we have enough pizza left over to feed the family for most of the week.  Can't wait until Monday when the remnants of the cake and I will be alone.   Mmmmm....cake.   ;)

Thanks for reading!

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