This is not necessarily a list for kids of all ages. Keep in mind, I've only hosted and thrown 2 birthday parties for Duke at this point. I'm not an expert, but in my limited experience, these are just a few pieces of advice I have to offer on the topic of birthdays.
GET A PHOTOGRAPHER
This is one thing that is definitely for the really young ages. (Like 1-3 years of age. Maybe after that it's easier? I'll let you know when I get there.) Trying to host a party, serve your guests, feed your child/make sure your child is eating, and do everything else that a party-thrower does is enough to think about. Taking pictures is last on your mind. In fact, it's kind of an inconvenience for you as the parent.
For Duke's 1st birthday, my mom volunteered to take pictures throughout the night. It was really sweet of her - except that she's barely in any photos and that makes me sad. For Duke's 2nd birthday, I had one of my friends, Makenzie, be our official photographer. (We trade photography for piano lessons and it's a wonderful deal. So if you're thinking this has to be a huge expense, maybe there's a photographer you know who would be willing to trade something with you!) It's so nice to be in all of the moments 100% while someone else is capturing them. It may seem dramatic and unnecessary to hire someone to be your kid's birthday photographer, but in my opinion, it's worth it.
LET STRESS BE YOUR GUIDE
If it (whatever "it" is) stresses you out, then you probably shouldn't do it. If making a bunting to hang looked fun in your head but is turning out to be the equivalent of getting drilled on at the dentist, then it may not be your cup of tea. If trying to mimic those awesome cupcakes you saw on someone's blog appeared to be a great idea but is actually making you feel like a huge failure and like you'll never measure up, then you may need to take a step back. Once things become stressful, you may need to question why you're doing them.
Now, if creating and cutting and gluing and party-designing and all of that is fun for you, then press on! But let's all just know that there are some people in this world that are not meant to throw Pinterest-esque birthday parties and that's okay! I'm one of those people and I've embraced it. Having food/dessert that is edible and a clean house to be in have pretty much been my goals.
ASK FOR HELP
I didn't really do this for Duke's 1st birthday, but for his 2nd birthday I was incredibly nauseous from this pregnancy. I had invited only family members and planned on having a nice dinner altogether. I knew there was no way I could physically or mentally do it alone. In each invitation I sent out, I asked the family member if they could bring something specific to contribute to the meal. (With 3 great-grandmas and 2 grandmas that are all really great cooks, how could I not beg them to?) I think we ended up only preparing 2-3 things food-wise. It was a huge relief for me and it turned out so well.
What are some things you've learned about throwing birthday parties for your kids?
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