Birthday Party Checklist for Moms and Dads

If your child's birthday party is on the horizon, we have help!

By FamilyTime


If your child’s birthday is coming up, chances are your house is soon to become birthday central. Even if the big day is a few months in the future, it’s not too early to start planning the party.

You’ll be glad for the advance work. In the hectic world most of us inhabit, this is your safeguard against chaos and your child’s disappointment.

Six Weeks Before the Party
Set the date: Most working parents prefer weekends for parties. Saturday or Sunday afternoon is a good choice to avoid conflicts such as sports and lessons.

Decide on the length of the party: Most kids’ parties last for two to three hours. When deciding on length, decide on the hours, too. Do you want to serve a meal or just snacks?

Make the guest list: Decide on the number of children you can accommodate or want. Let your child help with this and keep it reasonable.

Call “best friends”: Before you finalize the date, check with your child’s best pals’ parents. If these key children cannot make it, move the date.

Reserve a space: If you don’t want to have the party at home, reserve space at a child’s museum, gym, fast-food restaurant, arcade, or bowling alley. Call the venue and find out what is required (some places don’t accept reservations). Playgrounds and parks are wonderful places for parties. Call your town’s recreation department to find out if you can reserve space.

Book talent: If your child wants a clown, juggler, or magician, book him or her now.

One Month Before the Party
Plan a theme: Themes make parties easy. Decorations, food, and goodie bags fall into place. Some ideas include: a Harry Potter party, a Hawaiian party, a pirate party, a western-style party, or a princess party.

Plan activities and rough out a schedule: Talk with your child and decide on activities and games. Plan how long each will take. Make a list of what you need for these activities and for decorations.

Begin shopping: Buy party items as you see them. 

Three Weeks Before the Party
Mail invitations: Make sure you include an RSVP or Regrets Only.

Elicit help: Ask relatives, neighbors, or local teens to help. If you hire help, be sure to set an hourly fee.

One Week Before the Party
Order the cake: If you are not going to bake the cake, order it now from a bakery or ice cream shop.

Order balloons: Order helium-filled balloons from a party shop.

Check house for safety issues: If you are having the party at home, make sure the space you will use is safe. If you are visiting a park, check out the area to anticipate any hidden dangers.

Check with invited kids: If there is a child or two who has not answered the invitation, call their parents to find out if they are coming. You need a head count.

Three Days Before the Party
Finish shopping: Make sure you have everything you need to decorate, fill goodie bags, and serve to the kids.

One Day Before the Party
Prepare goodie bags: Fill and store these safely away from younger siblings and candy-sniffing dogs!

Tidy up house: Neaten the house so that the kids can participate easily in games and fun. Full-out housecleaning is not necessary.

Implement safety measures: If you need to block off steep stairways, remove breakables, or secure an open window, do so now.

Pick up cake and balloons: Pick these up now unless you can wait until early in the day tomorrow.

Morning of the Party
Order pizza: if you plan to order pizza, put the order in as early as can.'

Set the table and organize the games: Get these tasks done early in the day. Ask for help; you don't have to do everything yourself.

Have fun!