Birthday Party Planning for the Lazy Parent

One of my first and clearest memories is running around my house with my friends during my fifth birthday party. Therefore, with both of my kids, I felt a bit of extra pressure to make extra sure that we had a super cool fifth birthday party. Unfortunately, I always seem to forget that all the kids want is to play with their friends and drown themselves in frosting.

This year I didn’t have as much time on my hands as I usually do. We had recently moved their were many boxes still waiting to be unpacked. And to further distract me, we had a guest who is allergic to nuts. At first I thought it would be no problem to keep things safe for him. But if you spend enough time reading ingredient labels and worrying about whether or not your mixing bowls are clean, you start to get a little loopy. Lucky for me, the child’s mother was a real rock star helping me through the menu and responding to all the crazy little questions that came up at the last minute.

What I’m getting at is that the move and a guest’s dietary needs helped to keep me in check and compared to the some of the super high-stress, non-stop, cram-it-all-in parties I’ve planned, I was downright lazy. And you know what? I think it was the best party we’ve ever had.

I’ve made a list of tips to remind myself how to throw a non-crazy kid’s birthday party next time:

Keep the guest list short. We had a total of five kids, including my two girls.

Encourage any older kid(s) in your family to contribute heavily to the party’s decor. At the very least, make some tissue paper flowers together a few days before. Thank you Martha Stewart.

Steal cute and simple food ideas from genius bloggers.

Make exceedingly simple food and make of as much of it ahead of time as possible. We served crudities and deviled eggs as appetizers. Then the kids sat down to eat popcorn, fruit, and cheese strombolis before the cupcakes descended. More than one of the recipes came from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook which I love.

Keep activities and games to a minimum. We did a pinata and that’s it. The two hours flew by. Most of the time I was hanging out with the grown ups. The kids were running amok all over the house.

Have the kids decorate their own cupcakes! This saved me a ton of work. Best of all, it was the birthday girl’s idea. We stuck a candle in her creation and she could not have been more pleased.

Feel free to add your genius ideas for making kids’ birthday parties easier and more pleasant in the comments below. : )