Planning your child’s birthday party can be lots of fun, but let’s face it, it can be really stressful, too. That’s especially true if your child has her heart set on a certain type of party or a particular venue, but for whatever reason, it’s just not feasible. Here we’ve listed some common birthday party planning scheduling dilemmas and what to do to make sure the day is still a success for your child.
Same Friends, Same Birthday
Dilemma: The invites have all been sent and the venue has been booked. You drop your child off at school a few days later only to find out that another child in his class has scheduled a birthday party for the same day.
Solution: Ask the parents if they are absolutely set on that date. If so, suggest a change in time, and if they still won’t budge, see if your venue will offer a change in time. After all, two parties in one day is a dream for kids, even if it’s a nightmare for most parents.
The Venue Has No Openings
Dilemma: You thought you were being a good parent by trying to book your child’s birthday party venue of choice months in advance. Or maybe you’re a last-minute person, and despite the best intentions, are calling just a little too late to schedule it. Whatever the reason, it turns out the place is all booked up and so are similar venues in the area.
Solution: Try holding the party a few weeks earlier or later, or look at venues just a little further away. Your child might be disappointed at first, but ultimately, she’ll get on board, because after all, a party is still a party, no matter when it’s held.
Alternatively, you can plan to hold the party at home. Your first step is to get on Pinterest ASAP and give it your best DIY try. Or get an assist from a party entertainer—think clown, face painter, or costumed character—who makes house calls. If a spa party is what she had in mind, recruit family and friends to act as estheticians for the day. If she had her sights set on something more elaborate, such as a club-themed party, turn the lights down and pump up the jams, or hire a musician or DJ to handle the tunes. You can pretty much MacGyver your way to a successful birthday party with a little planning.
Birthday On or Near a Holiday
Dilemma: If your child’s birthday is a week before Christmas, falls on Leap Day, or is July 4 or Jan. 1, fear not. You’ve probably already heard the stories of slighted kids who share their big day with a national holiday, but that doesn’t mean it has to be lacking in fun or that your kid won’t get all the birthday attention he deserves.
Solution: Try moving your kid’s party a few days after the big holiday; that way the holiday is in the past and everyone can be completely focused on the birthday boy or girl. If that won’t work, try incorporating the holiday into your child’s party to make it all about her. Vicky’s Valentine’s Birthday Bash or Steven’s 7th St. Patty’s Day might be a great way to celebrate your child’s birthday without ignoring the big holiday elephant in the room. And families that have late-afternoon or evening get-togethers—such as Thanksgiving dinners or Memorial Day barbecues—might appreciate a morning activity that gets the kids out of the house and allows them some fun.
Siblings Who Have the Same Birthday
Dilemma: Your children have the same birthday or their birthdays are only a few days apart. While it may be convenient for you (no need to remember multiple dates!), your kids aren’t too keen on sharing a party.
Solution: You can get really crafty here and try to convince your kids of all the great reasons to have a shared party. Or you can choose to split the parties, which means more work for you. If you choose to split them up, try to keep each party small and ask each child for one special thing she would like to include.
If two parties are just not in the budget or schedule, try to arrange for separate events at the combined party. Perhaps have each child open presents in separate rooms, or split off for certain games. Each child can choose a favorite food, and you can have separate, smaller cakes for each, so no one feels slighted or has to compromise on his favorite flavor or decoration. Everyone can come together for cake and playtime—just make sure each kid has her moment in the spotlight.
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