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Six Tips for Surviving the Kids’ Party Circuit

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Since my daughter started kindergarten last year, I have turned into an escort service. Paris Hilton she is not, but it seems like I am RSVP-ing to something for her every week. She’s been to skating parties where I had nightmarish flashbacks of preteen angst and fretting over watching the couples’ skate from the sidelines, inflatable jump up and down in your sock feet/give mama a heart attack parties, and junior miss diva-in-training karaoke makeover parties.


Here are tips for managing the kids’ party circuit relatively stress free:


RSVP promptly.
If your house, car, and purse are like mine, a paperwork black hole trifecta, you should RSVP as soon as you open the invitation. Plus you’ll earn brownie points with the mom organizing the party.


Record the date in your planner.
As soon as I RSVP, I add the party to my planner, along with the RSVP info (phone number and/or e-mail address). I can’t tell you how many times that has come in handy when I am searching for one of my daughter’s classmates’ phone numbers because I always carry my planner with me.


Use the invite as a shopping guide.
A lot of times we get somewhat generic invitations in the mail with balloons and no hint at what the birthday child likes. However, if the invitation is a theme invitation, you know you can’t go wrong with selecting a gift that goes along with the theme (e.g., Spiderman, Barbie, High School Musical, etc.) You can also ask what types of things they like when you RSVP, provided you don’t get voice mail. Gift certificates are a good choice for last minute gifts.


Buy duplicate gifts.
If your six-year-old is like mine, she is probably obsessed with Barbie, My Little Pony, Littlest Pet Shop, Hannah Montana, or some other girly girl character. When you’re out shopping for your child’s friend, go ahead and pick up two of whatever item you buy if it is on sale. Webkinz are also a great choice, since they are usually less than fifteen dollars. You could also toss in a pack of stickers or temporary tattoos or lip-gloss from a dollar store. I typically will not spend more than twenty dollars on a child’s birthday gift.


Be prepared to hang around, or not.
My daughter is still at the age where she wants me to hang out at the party. As luck would have it, the one time I left to run a few errands (always check with the parents first and make sure they have your cell phone number if you drop your child off) while my daughter was at a party, she wasn’t able to participate in a rock climbing wall because the facility required parents to be present. She was crushed, and I felt like a jerk.


Save on birthday cards.
My daughter always makes a homemade card for her friends. It’s cheaper than buying a greeting card and it helps reinforce the positive nature of a handwritten sentiment. We also recycle gift bags.


Do you have any tips for surviving the kids’ party circuit?

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