Go through the planner below, dividing the jobs as you go. You should also discuss any other rules you will have for your teen and his/her party guests at this time. Open communication between you and your teen will make this time a memorable event instead of a huge headache.
Three Months Before the Teen Birthday Party
Make the basic decisions:
* How large will the party be?
* Can you have it at home or do you need a bigger space?
* Secure the location. What day and time will the party be?
* What does your teen want?
* What are the rules?
* Are guests bringing gifts?
* Are family members going to be a part of this party, or is it a friend's party with a family get-together at another time?
These questions need to be answered before you plan anything else.
Plan the budget. How much will your teen be allowed to spend totally? Do this job together. Take that figure and split it between the expenses for decorations, food, and activities, plus the location if the party is not at home.
Choose a teen birthday party theme. Is your party going to be a spa sleepover or a pool party? While a theme isn't always needed, it can help you and your guests choose what to wear and sets the tone for the teen party.
Invite the guests. After you have confirmed the date and time for the party, your teen will need to get invitations ready. Be sure to make a list of all those invited complete with phone number and column that can be checked off if they are attending or not. Send out the invitations at least two weeks before the party, but four weeks is best.
Have the invitation list readily available at your home phone so that anyone can check it off when someone calls. Parents should be ready to answer questions that other parents may ask. You'll want to keep this list handy at the party too, in case you need the phone numbers.
Four Weeks Before the Teen Birthday Party
Decide on a menu. Will your party include a meal, like pizza, or just finger foods? Either way, there are so many fun party recipes you can use. Pick foods that you can prepare before the day of the party so you can free up time for decorating and getting ready. Decide on the teen birthday party activities, games, and decorations. Having games and activities that teens can do when each finds time during the party works best. Things like sign-in boards and don't-say-these-words games free up those who just want to chat and entertain those who need it. Decorations should go with the theme, if you have one.
Note: If you are ordering supplies through a catalog or online, do so now. You'll want to be sure you have the order in plenty of time. Make a list of everything you've ordered and who you ordered it from complete with phone number. Keep this handy in case you need to call the company.
The Week of the Teen Birthday Party
Tie up any loose strings for the party and the guest list. Ask your teen to call the guests who haven't responded yet to get an accurate account of who will be attending. You should also touch base with the chaperones. If the party is at home, do any outdoor and out-of-the-way decorating. Did your teen order something and it hasn't come in yet? Call the company and be sure it's on its way. Purchase supplies that haven't been ordered. Make the lists by store (party store, grocery store, etc.) and write it all down - it's easier than forgetting and having to go back to the store for a much-needed recipe ingredient.
Take the time to get ready and delegate jobs. Be sure there is enough time and help on the big day to get the party area ready and yourself ready. Have your teen enlist friends who will be attending, older siblings, and other chaperones. Anything that can be prepared ahead of time should be. This is also the time to set up a cleanup crew. Of course, if this is at a different location you will want to take things over early, to set up.
At the Teen Birthday Party
Relax and enjoy the birthday party. Help your teen greet guests and start activities. Chaperones should 'be around' but not be obtrusive. Keep the food table stocked, the supplies for activities available, and send gate crashers packing. Be sure to have your camera ready and snap as many pictures as you can. In a few hours, help the cleanup crew clean up the mess.
The writer is a freelancer
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