Home > Planning a Wonderful and Memorable Party For and With Your Child--Posted 8/3/09
All parents strive to create celebrations for their children that are "fun and exciting in the moment, and that are memorable. As you organize a party for your child, many parents like to enlist the child’s help, unless a surprise party is planned. Involving the child early on is both a bonding process and insurance that the child will enjoy the event.

Let your child choose a favorite theme he or she would like to have on that exciting party day. Some children will focus on every detail, and most are ready to hear your ideas as well. You can demonstrate them (without saying so directly) that the process of planning is a valuable adult skill that can serve them well later. Discuss not only theme but location, food, games, activities, and invitation list.

Make sure that all your ideas would fit the budget you have in mind. Recognize that one of the most important elements for a successful children's party is the need for a good-sized wide open space. This puts a premium on planning for weather contingencies. And make sure that the location is very comfortable and entirely safe for the kids.

It is also important to put together the birthday party invitations. We suggest making an invitation that is both creative and has a "souvenir" feel into it. It should incorporate the party theme you have planned. Having the birthday girl or boy help or entirely design the invitation will substantially increase his or her ownership of the planning process. Next comes party favors—a small but meaningful tradition that helps people remember the celebration, at least for a bit. We like to include an inexpensive picture frame in the party favor bag, for reasons explained below. Make sure to personalize this souvenir as your kid wants. It is also important to follow the theme you have already set and use wording and packaging appropriate to the souvenir.

It is a good idea to plan decorations, so the event has the feel of an outright celebration. Balloons, glitter, banners and confetti are among the things you need to liven up the party's decoration. Also, try to fit the decorations into the theme of the party. Some parents hire a professional or amateur entertainer or magician to keep the event lively from start to finish. It will also be important to take digital pictures of the entire event.

And how to keep the party memorable? The best way we have found is to include a framed photo of the event in every party favor bag. You’ll have to purchase the frames in advance, of course, and also decorate them if your child wants to add this step. Then, you’ll need an assistant (spouse, sibling or neighbor) to take the best digital picture of the group and print it up on a computer printer during the party. Ask your assistant to slip the photos into the picture frames before the guests take their leave and you’ll enable the memory to stay alive forever, especially in your child’s heart.

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