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Parties for kids can be stressful to plan. Let’s face it — there’s a lot that can go wrong! But you don’t need to worry, because you’re one of those wise people who learns from the mistakes of others. Let’s take a look as some of the worst mistakes that parents make when planning their kids’ parties, so that you can be sure not to make those same missteps in your own planning.

You start planning too late

Yeah, yeah, you know — you’ve heard from every party planner on the planet that planning early is the surest path to a successful party for any age group. But you’re busy, and you have to prioritize. You’ll get to this soon!

Get to it now. There’s more stress involved in planning a kid’s party than you might think, and if you’re not careful you could end up really working yourself up. You want to get the guest list done and the invitations out early, before some other kid steals your kid’s big day. You’ll want to have lots of time to get the party supplies you need, because you know the stores will be out of something. Give yourself more time than you think need, and then you won’t have to be upset when it turns out that you need every bit of it.

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You give your kid too much — or too little — control

It’s your kid’s party, so they should have a say in how it goes down. But, as a parent, your role is to incorporate your child into the planning and negotiations in a healthy way. This probably won’t come as any shock to you, but kids are not always the most realistic of people. And if you let your kid draw up a dream party from scratch, there’s a good chance that it is going to include some things that are outside of your price range and some other things that are outside of the laws of reality.

But kids are better planners than you might think, and their input is valuable. You just need to get that input without setting expectations too high.

Try giving your kid choices. Ask them about things that you’re ready to deliver — for instance, you could ask them if they’d like baseball- or football-themed plates and cups after you’ve made sure that both of those things are available for order at your favorite online party supply store. Strike the right balance, and your kid will be an invaluable advisor.

You don’t rent anything or hire anyone

Ah, look at you! You’ve managed to pull off the perfect kids party without the help of anyone else. Only, no, you haven’t, actually, because your kid wanted a bounce castle and the princess lady from Frozen, and you do not own a bounce castle and are not the princess lady from Frozen.

Here’s what you should do: You should call up the pros. Call the people who can offer you moonwalk rentals and bounce castle rentals. Call the people who can be the princess lady from Frozen (her name is Elsa, by the way, and she’s a Queen — but you don’t need to know that, you just need to make the phone call). Call in the clowns and the magicians. While you’re at it, call someone for catering and someone else for a cake.

Then sit back and relax, because your perfect kids’ party is going to be a whole lot easier when you have a lot of professionals on your side.

You don’t talk to your kid about party etiquette

Birthday parties are fun because they put us at the center of attention. But that can be overwhelming for kids, who can get worn out or act up. And kids don’t always know how to handle their birthday powers gracefully. Nobody likes a spoiled birthday kid, so don’t let your kid become the tyrant of the party.

If you want to avoid having to discipline your kid at their own birthday party, talk to them ahead of time about the party. Remind them how to be kind to their guests, and prepare them for the reality that there will be a lot of stimulation. It won’t prevent every incident, but it will help!

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