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Children's Birthday Party Planning Tips

By Brian McGovern

Are you stressed out trying to plan your child's birthday party? To many parents the idea of hosting a children's party is a nerve-racking concept. You imagine a swarm of children wrecking your living room. You can picture the chaos. But don't despair; hosting a birthday party is child's play! Just follow some simple rules and you're all set.

First, the younger the birthday child is, the fewer children you should invite. A simple rule of thumb is take the birthday child's age and multiply by two. That tells you the maximum number of children you should invite. If your child is turning two, invite four two year olds and their parents. Your ten year old gets to invite a maximum of twenty guests. Have at least one adult per five children at the party.

The younger the birthday child is, the shorter the party. I'm a big believer in the three hour party for children ages eight through fifteen. They're old enough to enjoy socializing and three hours is easy to map out to keep everyone amused. For younger children, go for a two hour party. A half hour to arrive and settle in, followed by a one hour magic show or other planned activity and a half hour for cake and gifts.

What about birthday presents?  I suggest you include a note in the invitation about gifts. Help the other parents out by giving some suggestions and a reasonable price range. A note that says "Emily loves books about science," or "Timmy enjoys model kits, the Yankees and collects dinosaur toys," makes shopping easy. When it comes time to open presents, avoid a catastrophe. Don't unwrap gifts at parties with children less than four years of age. You don't need the stress of having to teach other people's children how to share.

Finally, remind your child the purpose of a birthday is to celebrate and share. A party is a time to express our love for our family and friends. Remind yourself why you're having the party. Remember the most important ingredient for a great party is your attitude. Don't worry about impressing guests, just focus on helping them have fun. After all, parties are all about fun.

Brian McGovern heads up Hijinx,, a New York party entertainment company

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