Tips for Planning Birthday Parties

Are you the kind of person who likes to go all out?

Cherylyn Feierabend
5-minute read
Episode #25

Hey there!  You’re listening to the Mighty Mommy with some Quick and Dirty Tips for Practical Parenting. Today’s Topic:  Party Time

Planning Birthday Parties for Your Child

Are you the kind of person who likes to go “all out” when it comes to throwing a birthday party for your kid? I felt that way until my daughter was approaching her first birthday. Parties can be expensive and party planning can be exhausting. I’ve received many great tips from fellow parents on how to save your money and some of your sanity when throwing a birthday party for your child. I’d like to share some of these tips with you.

When it comes to party planning, there are three main areas I like to focus on: the theme, the guest list, and the activities. Each of these items can be altered and adjusted to suit your budget. You’ll find that when you have a plan of action, the task ahead will seem much less daunting.

Create a Themed Birthday Party

Let’s start with the theme. One of the best tips I’ve heard about executing the theme of a child’s birthday party came from one of my favorite podcasts, The Manic Mommies. The tip is to save money by matching colors associated with the licensed character your child has chosen for her birthday party theme. For example, my daughter is crazy about Lightning McQueen. He’s a red racecar from the movie Cars. There is an entire line of Lightning McQueen party supplies available at just about any party store. I’m sure my daughter would have loved all of it. When I went shopping, I remembered the tip I’d heard from The Manic Mommies and I bought the licensed tablecloth and small napkins only. All of the other supplies I purchased were solid red and yellow. The colors matched the licensed merchandise and when my daughter saw the tablecloth she was delighted because she was having the “Lighting McQueen” birthday party she’d requested.  

Older children are likely to demand more products specifically related to their theme of choice. If this is the case with your child, I recommend that you set a budget for the party supplies and have your child go shopping with you. Together you can keep a running total of the cost of all the items and your child can choose the supplies that are the most important to her. She might be more willing to use the solid pink plates instead of the princess plates if it means each of her guests will get to have their own tiara.

Manage Your Guest List to Stay On Budget

The guest list can be tricky at times. When you are trying to stay within a budget, you need to set a limit on the number of people attending the party. During the toddler years, birthday party guests are almost always close friends and family. This can include adults with and without children as well as your child’s friends and their siblings. If you do want to include everyone, you can keep the cost down by choosing a time of day that falls between mealtimes. By having your party at ten o’clock or two o’clock, your guests should understand that food will not be served. Stating on the invitation that cake and ice cream will be served will also alert the guests as to what you will be providing. Always include an end time on your invitation as well as the start time. When the children are younger, you will want to schedule around naptime as well.  

Older children will want to choose their own guests. It’s your choice to set a limit to the number of people your child may invite. If your child has one or two extra friends he really wants to invite, try to accommodate the best you can. It is his birthday after all. The best part about the older kids’ parties is that you don’t have to entertain the parents and siblings of the guests. Be sure to indicate on your invitations what time the guests should be dropped off and picked up. When the guests are dropped off, ask the parents for a phone number where they can be reached and politely remind them of the ending time for the party.

Keep costs down by choosing a time of day that falls between mealtimes.  By having your party at 10:00 or 2:00, your guests should understand that food will
not be served.


All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own mental health provider. Please consult a licensed mental health professional for all individual questions and issues.