Checklist For Planning A Young Child’s Birthday Party

By Jessica Otte, January 24, 2014

Planning your child’s birthday party (especially that very first one!) can feel very stressful and time consuming, but can be fun and rewarding especially when well planned. Stay organized and stress free with this birthday party checklist.

Baby Birthday Card

One to Three Months Before

1. Choose a theme for the party (Party City is a great place for ideas)
2. Decide on a budget
3. Set your party date and time
4. Before setting a date, check with essential guests to make sure they’re available
5. Write an guest list
6. Create, order or buy invitations
7. Don’t forget the matching thank you cards for later!
8. Line up any entertainment you may want (DJ, bounce house, face painter, clown, photo booth, etc.)

Four Weeks Before

1. Send invitations
2. Make a schedule of activities for the party
3. Order any food needed for the party (not including the cake) and plan the menu
4. Rent any tables or other equipment at this time
5. Buy or order any unique party favors for the goodie bags and any prizes for the games

Two Weeks Before

1. Make a grocery and supply list (Target, Party City & Publix may be good spots to get started)
2. Line up any assistance you may need from friend or relative
3. Decide what games the kids will be playing, and which prize they will win

Tip: By actually making a schedule ahead of time, larger parties will likely run more smoothly.

One Week Before

1. Thoroughly clean the house
2. For an outdoor party, complete any major yard cleanup
3. Get a final head count of guests
4. Order the cake
5. Don’t forget balloons!
6. Check your supply list and pick up any items that you do not already have

Three Days Before

1. Go grocery shopping
2. Do a safety check of the house and yard especially if there will be young children
3. Prepare the digital cameras with fresh batteries
4. Officially declare someone primary photographer
4. Assemble the goodie bags

One Day Before

1. Arrange the dining and gift table
2. Set up the activity stations
3. Decorate! This can be finished this evening or next morning
4. Finish as much of the cooking, if any, as you can
5. Do a touch-up cleaning through the house

Day of the Party

1. Finish any last-minute cooking
2. Pick up cake
3. Inflate balloons
4. Display and prepare food
5. Designate tasks for the parents/helpers to oversee (trash collecting, serving etc.)
6. Make a list of gifts and individuals who gave them
7. Send everyone off with the party favors

Two to Three Days Later

1. Help your child write thank you notes

We provided this essential checklist to relieve some of the anxiety of planning the big day. Remember, this is suppose to be fun for you too!