Party Planning Checklist for Busy Moms

Stay organized planning for your child's birthday with this sanity-saving checklist.

4 weeks before the party...
• Choose a party theme with your child.

• Create the guest list. Enlist several adults to help the party run smoothly. For three- to five-year-olds, you'll need one adult for every four children, and for six-to ten-year- olds, one adult for every six children.

• Pick the party date and time. Parties are generally 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours long.

3 weeks before the party...
• Make or buy and send the invitations.

• Make or buy decorations, favors, and prizes

2 weeks before the party...
• Decide on activities and games to play. Consider the age of the children and plan games and activities accordingly. Plan more games than you expect to use in case you run out of activities before the party is over.

• Plan your menu. Remember that parties are not a good time to introduce new foods to children. Fix familiar favorites.

• Arrange for extra help on the party day from friends or relatives.

1 week before the party...
• Order cake from a bakery if you are not baking your own. Bake cake and freeze it, if making your own.

• Make any other foods that can be made ahead of time and store foods in the freezer.
1 to 2 days before the party...
• Write out a final schedule of activities for the party.

• Buy remaining food for the party. Buy film and videotape. Check batteries for the cameras.

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