Checklist: Birthday Party Shortcuts

Try these sanity-savers and shortcuts for a blissful birthday party!

___ Narrow down the theme or activities to what your child loves. Open-ended themes such as wheels, a garden party, or under the sea, allow you to mix up decorations and colors.

___ Go with your strengths. Do what you're good at and get help for the rest. If you're not such a great baker, buy the cake or cupcakes, and lead the kids in a rousing sing-along.

___ Ask a friend to take photos or videotape the event so you can be in the pictures, too.

___ Do as much as possible of the prep work and decorating beforehand.

___ Decorate the cake with small plastic figures of your child's favorite characters.

___ To prevent choking, avoid serving young children popcorn, hard candies, hot dogs, raw carrots, grapes, and nuts. Opt for Mylar balloons instead of latex ones.

___ Polaroids, board books, rubber duckies, bubbles, or even favorite song lyrics (printed and stapled) can add splash to goody bags.

___ Keep it simple. Remember: Your child's life will be full of birthdays. If you don't get it perfect this time, you can try again next year!

Excerpted from the Ages & Stages weekly baby newsletter, Week 51.

Originally published on, July 2006.

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.

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