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Let's Party

Planning your child’s Birthday party can be a great way connect with them and make them feel extra special, but sometimes we can get in over our heads, or unplanned events can make the event stressful not to mention the social etiquette that can raise some questions.
Over the next few weeks I will post some tips and guidelines to help to make your child's Birthday enjoyable, memorable, and less stressful. Today we will cover Planning: I am going to employ some Guidelines that I have used for business projects they Include Scheduling, Scope, Budget, resourcing, Deliverables, Risks and Contingencies. This may seem a bit formal for a Birthday party but a good plan is never a bad idea.
Remember the project planner’s motto "Failing to plan is planning to fail"

1) Start planning early 3 months before is usually a good guideline in some rare cases you may need to book certain facilities as much as a year in advance. This is where you can really involve your child. Kids like to get involved in planning, and this is a time when the kids are motivated to be especially helpful. They can help pick the theme, venue, games they want to play, food items, and Guest list.

2) Setting Limits: You may want to set some limitations up front such as Number of guests, a few options for venue and duration of party otherwise you may wind up having your child suggest A Disney themed party for 20 at Disney World for 5 days.(I know my budget can't accommodate that)

3) Set a Budget and stick to it - By determining how much you are going to spend you can prevent yourself from going overboard. By not doing this step you most certainly will spend more than you originally anticipated. Before purchasing items make a list of what you need and stick to it you can also have an allowance for impulse buys when you go to the store but stay within this amount. You can also use your budget as an opportunity to be creative in how you spend your money by making items like some of the decorations and party favors. One thing that I have used is instead buying themed plates and cups get generic colored plates, cups, and napkins and put themed stickers on the cups. They will look nice and the stickers help pull
it all together. Many decorations can be made on the computer and printed on a color printer for Banners you can design them and have staples print it for you.

4) Confirm you’re Schedule and resources - If you or your spouse travels for business or has conflicting projects at work make sure you take that into account. Dumping your tasks onto your spouse because you are out of town or at work late will more than likely add some tension to the party planning and may make the other person feel overwhelmed. If you both have limited time you may want to consider a party package at one of the many venues that host children’s parties (Such as Kids play centers, The Zoo, Aquarium, Museum, or Theatre).

5) Divide and conquer - This tip is a corollary to #3 here is where you decide what each of you does best and exactly who will do what. (If one of you is a good organizer you may want to handle the planning activities such as Booking the Venue, and entertainment, Sending invitations, and other party logistics. On the other hand if you are creative you may want to handle the decorations or cake design. Here is where you will also want to decide what you want to involve your child in. Sending out invitations or making and setting up decorations are ideal for younger children. As your child gets older he/she can become more and more involved in planning and
activities. Beware: Having them go to the store with you to buy items for the party is a good way to go over your budget.

6) Too much Birthday: You may want to have to separate parties; one kid’s themed party and
another one for family. Don't get carried away here you don't need to have a party for every one of your child’s social circles but sometimes dividing certain groups makes sense. For example you may have a party for your child’s close friends and relatives, Send Cupcakes to school, and have
pizza for your child’s Soccer team after practice.Instead of having one party with too many guests to manage.A good guideline for the number of guests for a children’s party is the child’s age +2 or just the child’s age i.e. If your Child is 6 you may want to limit guests to 6-8 of your child’s friends.

7) Plan a contingency (risk management): If you are planning an outdoor party make sure you have an indoor option in case of bad weather. If you want to have a pool party/BBQ at your house for 15 people Make sure your house can accommodate 15 people comfortably inside, that it is safe for all ages, that you are able to prepare the menu you have planned indoors, and that you have enough activities to do indoors to keep guests occupied.

8) Use your computer - Your computer can be invaluable for planning and executing your Childs party from Picking a venue, Buying party items, Making decorations, Sending invitations (eVite, Google Calendar), Finding Games to play, recipes, and keeping track of expenses and planning items.

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