Birthday Party Tips For A Stress Free Day

Recently Lily turned 3 and I cannot believe how fast she is growing up! We threw her a small birthday party to celebrate and much to my relief it was a total success! Truth is though, I didn’t have to spend much time or effort planning it! That sounds awful, but I mean it in a good way. It was simple but effective, and stress free.
In fact her birthday itself was great fun too, as we took a trip to the zoo with some of my family. With pre-school children I know some parents don’t go the whole hog with birthday parties, but if you do want to I thought I would share a few tips. There’s a few tips for children’s birthdays in general as well.
I would love to hear your tips in the comments.
birthday party

Keep it simple

Don’t over complicate the party with multiple venues, for example soft play and then back to yours for food. Instead find a venue that covers all your requirements so you can stay put. Self catered places where you need to sort out all the food as well is a big no no for me. The place we threw Lily’s party provided a good spread for the kids for a reasonable price. The kids are always too busy running around to eat much anyway! Find somewhere that will do it all for you whilst you just worry about everyone having fun!

Keep numbers small

Especially for younger pre school kids. Immediate family and a few of their friends from a baby group you go to is fine. It will keep costs down as well as not being to big and overwhelming for your child.

birthday party

Party bags

Keep them simple. A piece of birthday cake, a small bag of sweets and a small toy is fine. Something like these 12 x Mini Smiley Springs. I know it can feel like a party bag competition among parents, but nobody will remember within 5 minutes what was in the last one they had. (Or better yet, accidentally forget the party bags all together, as I did at Lily’s party, I now have 10 mini slinkies I don’t know what to do with!) 

Designated Photographer

At the party ask a certain friend or family member to be in charge of taking photos. Ask them to make sure they take a snap of the birthday cake when it comes out and any other shots you particularly want. Otherwise you will come away realising you have no photos of the big day!

birthday party


When opening presents make sure the card and presents are together from each person. If possible tape the card to the present. Then when your child is opening each one make a note of who got what. It will make thanking people a lot less awkward!

And more presents…

Split up the presents in to manageable chunks. Open presents from friends on the party day instead of the birthday itself (unless the party is on the birthday in which case save them for the day after). Open presents from you and your OH in the morning, then other family after lunch. It also saves the lounge turning in to a toy shop with new toys flying everywhere.

birthday party

Keep the routine

It can be tempting to let the routine slip on birthdays, and of course it’s fine if it does! But if your just turned 2 year old goes all day without a nap and has feasted on chocolate you can’t blame them if they’re a little unpredictable in mood, hyper and then later on tired and grouchy. We try and stick loosely to Lily’s routine no matter what the day is as it keeps her happy (and us!)

Quiet Time

It can be overwhelming for little ones on their birthday. New toys everywhere and more people about than usual. Try to break the day up and include a little calm time, even if it’s just a quick nap for them in the car in between places so they can recharge their batteries.

birthday party

Bath Time

Dragging your child upstairs for bedtime when friends/family may still be at yours can be difficult. Include a new toy that they can play with in the bath in their presents. For example we gave Lily bath crayons for her birthday that she was very excited to try out!

Toy Rotation

Use the new presents as an opportunity to start rotating your child’s toys. You’re going to feel like your house is overflowing with toys now there are all these new ones around. Box up some of the older ones that they haven’t played with recently and pop them away for a while. You can get them back out and swap them around in a couple of weeks and they will have the same appeal as if brand new again!

As you may have read in my previous posts I’m some who stresses about most things, but by doing the above I didn’t stress at all about Lily’s party, and her birthday went very smoothly too. As I said I would love to hear any other tips you have in the comments!

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