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Your Personal Party Perspective

Do you want it all or do you want it all the time?

A mentor of mine once explained to me the story of the Four Tops and the Temptations.  Both were really successful bands in their time.  Each however chose very different approaches to performing.  Both approaches reflected how much time and energy each group wanted to put into their performance schedules, how they wanted to earn their living and give to their fans and audience.

The Four Tops chose to work anywhere anytime because they loved to be in front of an audience.  They took any gig.  No gig was too big or too small.  They are still performing to this day so you can say they chose to have it “all the time”.

The Temptations chose to work on their studio work and perform for mainly big time performances.  They took only bigger paying gigs making their schedule a little lighter so they could work in the studio & produce music.  You could say they chose to “have it all”.

It’s a matter of personal preference.  Each group is equally successful.  One group just loved to perform and wanted to keep doing that.  The other only wanted to perform when it was right for them.

You can look at planning your child’s birthday party the same way.  Do you want it all?  Or do you want it all the time?

Huh?  What is that clown saying?  Hear me out.

Do you want to throw THE once in a life time blow out of party for your child that they will never forget?  Or do you want to have a life time of multiple party memories for your child to collect? 

Each can be equally successful and creative and fun.  To save yourself some cash and burn out you might want to put some thought into your party perspective.  Make your choice, discuss it with your partner and make a plan.

The once in a life time blow out party for your child.  This will be the go big or go home party.  First you have to choose a special age. 1 year? 5 years?  10 years? 16?  Which milestone do you really want to pool your energy and time and money into?  The age your child will be will determine the price & type of entertainment, theme, food, clothing, invitations, location, cake, present etc. you will need.   The good thing about this type of party is that once it’s done- it’s done!  Then the next successive birthdays can be spent with cake and family or a few friends. 

The once in a life time blow out party for your child is a big shindig so you want your child to remember, participate and enjoy this party.  Most children under the age of five will not remember or completely appreciate too many activities.  Once over the age of 5 years old a child will remember and appreciate this party.   

At any age be sure to document this once in a life time party.  Hire a videographer and photographer or hand out cameras to the guests to take candid photos for you.  You want to be part of this party you do not want to be stuck behind a camera and not be fully present for your child.

 The once in a life time blow out party for your child can be expensive, have large numbers of guests and require a lot of entertainment ideas.  So you can consult a professional like…I don’t know say a clown, or event planner, or someone who has access to putting together the pieces of your party, or you can be the person who is in charge.   It’s like getting construction done on your house.  You can hire a General Contractor or you can act as the general contractor. It all boils down to your budget and your vision, how much work you can put into creating this event (oh yes!  It is an EVENT) and then your budget once again.


The All the Time Parties:  These are great parties but you need to do some PPP.  Pre-Party-Planning. 

Firstly, you’ll need to think about what type of party is appropriate for each age and stage for your child.  You will also need to search out some resources for venues, activities, entertainers, and things to do until that date when you decide you won’t be throwing parties for your child. 

Yep that’s another important decision to make with The All the Time Parties.  When will you stop throwing parties for your child?  BIG NOTE:  It’s a good idea to let your child know in advance (when they are old enough to understand) that “after you turn 15 we’re not going to have any more parties like we’ve had in the past.  We’ll still celebrate your birthday but they will be more for our family to celebrate.”  Phrase it however you like just remember it is good to let them know that the party train will eventually stop and if so when.

The All the Time Parties are difficult for parents to plan. Most often I see parents doing things with the children too early in their child’s stage of life.   Then by the time their child is 8 – they’ve done every type of party imaginable and then they call me and ask for ideas.  Likewise they’ve oftern combined too many activities for one party and then are left with no options for the next birthday. 

Here is a list of party activities that I’ve found work best for different ages.  Of course being the author and rather biased …you COULD have a clown at any of these parties.  Needless to say I’ve indicated the true honest to goodness age where having a clown at a party truly becomes magical. 


The All the Time Parties  number of guests rule.  A good rule of thumb to keep your guest list manageable is to invite the number of children for your child’s age plus one.  For example you child is turning 7 then you would invite 8 children.  Mind you the type of party also predicates the number of guests you invite.  You may not want to pay for the whole class to see a movie, but you may invite the whole class to your house and rent a pony.

1 Year:  Family & friends party, cake, keep it simple and after nap time.

2 Year: Family & friends party, cake, food, keep it simple, after nap time, play with toys time.

3 Year: Family & friends party, cake, food, keep it simple, after nap time, play with toys time, and introduce a few young guests with their parents and perhaps a small activity i.e. decorate cookies or cupcakes.

4 Year: Friends & some family party, cake, keep it simple, entertainer such as a clown or introduce simple party games; duck duck goose, shoe toss, pin the tail on the donkey.

5 Year: Friends, cake and food, entertainer such as a clown, games.

6 Years: Friends, cake and food, indoor playground party.

7 Years: Friends, cake and food, bouncy house.

8 Years: Friends, cake and food, pony rides.

9 Years: Friends, cake and food, Movie party.

10 Years: Friends, cake and food, indoor swimming party followed by a sleep over party (believe me they will actually fall asleep!)

11 Years: Friends, cake and food, skating party.

12 Years: Friends, cake and food indoor goofy golf.

13 Years:  Friends, cake and food craft party i.e. pottery or at local craft store.

14 Years: Friends, cake and food Magician party.

15 Years: Friends, cake and food, Paint ball.

16 Years: Friends, cake and food Laser Tag.

So there you have it.  All you have to decide is…

Do you want it all?  Or…

Do you want it all the time?



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