10 Tips For Hosting A Child's Birthday Party

Even though this was Ollie's 2nd birthday, it was his first actual birthday party. Last year FTD and I decided doing something massive for Olli's first birthday would overwhelm him, so we kept it small, just us and my mom. So, when his birthday began to roll around this year, FTD and I toyed with the idea of having a large party for him.  When I say "toy"  I mean, agreed that we didn't need to spend the money on something big.  BUT!  We did want to do something. We just couldn't decide if it would be a small party at our house, take the little guy to a play land type place, or drive up to an Aquarium that is about an hour away for a family fun day.  In the end, and thanks to a winter storm that dropped 5 inches of snow, we opted for the small party at our house. Silly me, I thought this would be low key and easy...

My friends, I made a few mistakes my first time out hosting a child's birthday party, and as always, I am going to share the lessons learned, so you will not follow in my footsteps.  So, without further ado I present to you, 10 lessons I learned the hard way hosting my son's first birthday party At my house...

1. Make a birthday party room. If you are going to host a child's party at your house, start with prepping your house for maximum distraction.  Think, Dexter Kill Room.

You might think I am kidding... I am not!
Cookies, cake and chips crumble. EVERYWHERE!!
If you are not going to make a kill room...
Trust me on this, prepare a Cake Killing Spot.

2. Only invite enough kids to fill a police line-up.  Actually, maybe only half of a line-up.  There is NO reason to invite the whole freaking neighborhood and class!  I invited TWO kids, aged 7 and 8 and nearly lost my shit twice! Between the excitement of the party, and the fact that ALL of Ollie's toys were like brand new toys to them... It was like they were going to win a prize for playing with EVERY toy in the house. Every. Freaking. Toy.  

Bottom line: Think about how many kids you think you can manage, then invite HALF that number.

3. Hide the good toys.  There is no, "You break, you buy," at a child's birthday party.  It's more like, "Leave out, you cry." 'Nuff said. 

4. Have a clear idea of activities.  A three hour free-for-all will not go over very well on your sanity.  30-minutes into the free-for-all the house was a mess, and the boys were getting bored looking for things to break.  I lost it, and got out a coloring book... the only one I had...

OK, not a total fail, that is super sweet.
Ollie was so excited he colored with TWO crayons!
5. Serve Sugar-Free Food. You are dealing with kids. Sugar is BAD! BAD! BAD! Fruits and veggies are GOOD! GOOD! GOOD! 

See.  As promised, I know what I am talking about because I learned the hard way...
Cookies and "Fairy Bread" (It's an Australian thing) were foolish.
Within 20-minutes I saw perfect little boys turn into crazy ass Gremlins!

Give them sugar... Get this! 
6. Give out cups with lids. Go to the 'everything is a dollar' store and spring for a few cups with lids and straws.  Then write a kid's name on it and maybe even throw a sticker or two on it for some fancy fun. DO NOT screw this up, these cups will be GOLD!  

7. Have a separate cake for the birthday boy/girl. OK, Maybe this is just my kid... so if you are a gambler then go ahead and skip this lesson, but before you go, allow me to tell you a little story...

Picture it: The lights are low.  The excitement in the room is bubbling over.  The cameras are ready to go off in a seconds notice.  Mommy (me) turns the corner with a cake lit up like a Christmas tree.  Haaappppyyy Birrthday Tooo Youuu... (Fast Forward) YAY!  Blow out the candles... Candles are out.  Before I can even make a move, this happens....

So, let me ask you this again...
Are you a gambler?

8. DO NOT OVER DO IT. My biggest regret from Ollie's birthday party was not slowing down to actually enjoy the party. I was so concerned with keeping things in order, food on the table, the cake and cookies off the floor, and staying on track...  FAIL!  

Take time to stop and look around. To watch your child having a blast on his day.  To stand by your partner in parenting crime and say happy birthday to each other.  This day is for you too, don't waste it sweating and stressing!

9. Throw the party away. love the dollar store when it comes to throwing parties...AWAY! While you are there buying cups with lids and straws, for ten bucks you can buy all you need to decorate like a Boss too! Including, TWO massive cheap plastic table cloths.  Get one for the table and one to cover the floor underneath it.  Then buy as much paper and plastic crap bowls and serving trays as possible, so when the party is over all you have to do is remove the things you do not want to throw away from the table, then take each corner, tie them together and drag that shit to the garbage!  Then, sweep all the crap onto the the table cloth underneath the table, then throw it away!  This made clean up a Breeze.   Do. This. 

10. Save your pennies in a jar labeled, BIRTHDAY, so next year you can pay someone to host the party. Now, I totally get why people pay the big bucks to host their child's birthday party sat a venue. After you spend the money on decorations, food and post party therapy, you might as well just pay someone! You get in and out, no lingering friends or family to throw out of your house, no carpet cleaner to pay for getting cake, chocolate milk and gummy bears out of the carpet, no toys to stash and then get back out... Yes, we will definitely be saving our pennies for next year!

Side Note:  For those of you wondering if I gave Ollie's toys to charity as promised in my post on the Huffington Post, I did!  I donated three massive bags of gently used toys to the local church and orphanage. I went through all of Ollie's toys and donated the ones he has outgrown or no longer plays with.  I plan to do this every year.  When we have larger parties at larger venues, I will send out the option to buy something on the "needs list" from a charity of Ollie's choice. To read the article I am talking about, click here.   

April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com