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Birthday Party Planning Guidelines

Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,

I've lost about 20 pounds, which was my goal. But, my stomach area is still flabby. I do stomach crunches, so what more can I do?

Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,

I am planning our very first birthday party for our soon to be five-year-old. My son wants to invite his whole class of 15 kids, but I don't think that I can handle that many in our house, or do you have any suggestions? Also, should I serve lunch, how long should the party last, do we open presents before or after cake?


Planning ahead

Dear Planning ahead,

A general rule of thumb about the number of children to invite to a birthday party is one more than the age of the child. So, ideally, you would invite 6 children. However, if you wish to invite the class of 15 kids, but don't have the space in your home, then you can have the party at local venue, i.e. roller skating rink, pizza place, fast food, children's museum, science museum, toy shop, or movie theater.

10 Basic Children's Birthday Party Guidelines:

1. Number of Guests: for young children, one more than the age of the child.

2. How Long: about 2 hours. Be sure to write on the invitation the time frame such as 2-4pm so that parents know when to come back and pick up their children. Or, prearrange for parents to stay at the party and help.

3. Invitations Sent: mailed 2 to 3 weeks in advance. Be sure to find out beforehand if your child's best friend will be able to attend on that date.

4. Food: keep it simple and somewhat healthy. Pizza and fruit juice are very popular. In addition, have a few healthy snacks, i.e. pretzels, fruit, cheese, baby carrots, and popcorn. Cake usually served after games or entertainment.

5. Decorations: optional, but often nice to have matching theme invitations, plates, cups, and napkins. Crepe paper and balloons add a festive touch.

6. Games: plan several simple games if the party is at your home. Prizes are optional, but children often expect to win something.

7. Magicians or clowns: optional and can be expensive, but students who are budding magicians can be recommended by your local game or magic shop.

8. Presents: Opening gifts is best saved for last, after cake and ice cream. Be sure and coach your child to be appreciative and happy about each gift received and to thank each person. Jot down each gift received and who gave your child the gift; helpful when it comes time to write thank you notes.

9. Goodie Bags: Remember to have little party bags for the kids to take home as they leave.

10. Thank you: Your child needs to thank each person for coming as they leave. In addition, your child needs to write a thank you note for each present received. Including a photo of the party would be fun, too.