family fun

Parties: How to Plan a Party When You’re Pressed for Time

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I have always loved parties and entertaining. Now that I’m a mom and I’m running my own company, I no longer have time to entertain as much as I would like—the big exception being birthday parties. With four boys under the age of eight, I find the time for birthday parties!

How to Plan a Party When You Have No Time

This is what I’ve learned about planning parties when I’m pressed for time:

  • I always ask my children what they’d like to do and whom they’d like to invite. I’m often pleasantly surprised by their creative ideas. Over the years, I’ve found that it’s really nice to invite all their classroom friends so we can get to know the parents and the children all in one go, but this does make the party quite large—usually 25-30 children.
  • Because we often end up with large parties, I’ve found hosting them at a venue other than our home is much less stressful and easier on the budget. To date, my boys’ favorite parties have been:
    • Ages 4 - 6: Chuck E. Cheese, BounceU, and pony riding parties
    • Ages 6 - 8: laser tag (They just LOVE Laser Tag!)
  • Being organized is critical, even when you’re hosting at an outside venue. Besides creating the guest list, sending out the invitations, planning games, remembering to bring the party supplies, and being prepared to record the memories made, I always make note of our guests’ allergies as well. The new release of AboutOne will make all of this easy to do.
  • Party favors can be a frustrating and expensive topic. Children love them, but I’ve found that the items are often thrown away, so I try to make our favors educational or useful activities that occupy children's time. Some of our more successful/popular favors have been bubbles, play-doh, small boxes of Legos, or coloring books and markers. I recently stumbled upon Target’s dollar section (Who knew?!) and it’s been a great source of packs of coloring books, crayons, and other nice favors.
  • As my boys have gotten older, parents have started to drop their children off. Since I’m then responsible for taking good care of all the children, I always make sure we have enough adults present—usually at least one adult to eight children. Because I don't always know the children or their parents, I use sticky labels to make name-tags when the children arrive and I include the parents’ names. I also bring a guest list, so I can check their names at drop off and pick up and I can keep track of the children during the party when they are moving between activities or taking a bathroom break.

Do you have some great party-planning tips? Please share!

Joanne Lang is a mom of 4 boys, a wife, and the founder and CEO of AboutOne, an online family organizer that turns your phone into a remote control for your life, working with your existing calendar and contact tools so you can automatically organize, store, and share family memories and household paperwork. Through web and mobile apps, AboutOne guides you along the path to organization, rewarding you along the way for meeting your organizational goals.


Featured image courtesy of Flickr. Photo from flickr.


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