How To Plan a Kids Birthday Party When You’re Neurodivergent

young girl about to blow out candles on birthday cake at a birthday party with neurodivergent parent

Last Updated on

May 3rd, 2024 08:35 pm

There’s nothing worse than the impending doom of knowing you have to plan ahead for the onslaught of adorable tiny terrors causing chaos in your house.

But for many neurodivergent parents, especially those with ADHD and ASD, the anxiety is often unbearable. As a result, spending weeks obsessing over a birthday cake and candles only to forget to buy anything to light the candles with is a headache we can all relate to!

So we’ve compiled a few tips, party ideas, and coping strategies that’ll help make the planning process a piece of cake for everyone involved! What’s more, you can use many of these tips as a birthday party checklist in other events too, like baby showers and even adult party planning!

Start by Deciding on a Date for the Party

One of the first things you’ll want to do when planning a successful birthday party for kids is deciding on a date. This can be tricky because you’ll need to work around kids activities that are already scheduled. Consult with at least 1 or 2 of your child’s friends’ moms to get a good idea of what date works for everyone.

Once you have a few potential dates in mind, pick the one that would work best for you and your family and go from there! Don’t worry about finding a date and time that works for everyone, an almost impossible feat. Just try to find one that will work well for most people (well, the ones you want on the guest list to actually turn up!)

Before booking a venue, make sure that the date is available. Venues tend to fill up quickly, so it’s important to reserve your spot as soon as possible! One thing to keep in mind is that if the party is going to be held on the upcoming weekend, it might be a good idea to order extras the venue has to offer in advance.

Decide on the Theme of the Party

After picking a date, it’s time to start thinking about a birthday party theme! Your child may have ideas of their own or they may not be interested in having a theme at all. Either way is okay. If they’re not interested in any themes, consider going with something general like ‘Jungle Animals ‘ or ‘Outer Space’. But if they are interested in specific themes, take their suggestions into account and go from there.

When planning your child’s birthday party scene, it is important to decide on the theme before you start shopping, preferably several weeks in advance. This will help to guide your decisions and make the process easier. Plus, it can be a lot of fun for your child to choose a theme that they love!

Some popular themes include superheroes, pirates, undersea adventures, princesses/castle parties, and trains. You can also go with a more general theme like “birthday bash” or “celebrate.” Once you’ve decided on a theme, start looking for party decorations and supplies that fit the bill. Amazon offers a variety of decorations and party games to keep your guests entertained.

A themed party is a great way to get the ball rolling and set the tone for an exciting celebration. It can also make things easier for you when it comes time to decorate–you’ll know exactly what look you’re going for! And don’t forget about personalized touches; monogrammed napkins and creative photo ops are easy ways to make your guests and the birthday person feel special.

Bunting birthday decorations on a yellow wall

Bunting is a cheap addition that brings a sense of celebration to any party!

Send Birthday Party Invitations

The best way to send birthday invitations is through a mix of methods. You can send snail-mail invitations, email invitations, social media invitations, or text messages. It all depends on your audience and what you think will be most effective.

If you want to make the invitation more personal and cohesive with the event, consider sending out themed invitations. This can add a special touch that people will appreciate.

Another option is to use digital invitations. They are more environmentally friendly than physical invitations and they take less time to create. You can also track RSVPs and send reminders through digital invites via special party planning apps and websites with built-in guest lists.

Two young brothers smiling at the camera with their arms around each other celebrating at a birthday party

Plan the Food and Drinks

When you’re planning a birthday party, think about what food and drinks you’ll serve. You don’t want to be running around at the last minute finding a party venue, trying to price out party items, or scrambling to put together a meal.

One way to make sure everything goes smoothly is to plan out your food options and drinks in advance. That way, you can shop for groceries and have everything ready to go when the party starts.

Here are some tips for choosing birthday party food and drinks for your child’s birthday party:

  • Price out all the food and drinks before the party begins. This will help you stay within your budget.
  • Plan for last minute purchases like ice cream in a heat wave. You never know when you might need them!
  • Select foods that can be prepared in advance or easily put together on-site. This will save you time on party day.
  • Food for a kid’s birthday party should be interactive, such as making your own pizzas or decorating cupcakes. It’s more fun that way!
  • You can also include juice and water served in fun straws that bend or have stripes on them!
Young girl in dungarees blowing out candles on a birthday cake with cherries on top

The most important thing to remember is that the birthday person is with those they love the most

Plan the Games and Activities

When planning your child’s birthday party, it’s important to have a few extra games or activities planned in case things go more quickly than planned.

That way, everyone can enjoy the party! If you are hosting a birthday party, it is best that you get creative with the game or activity name – they don’t have to be Pinterest perfect! Remember that all parties should be fun for everyone!

Games, crafts, and activities are a fun option to keep guests entertained, whether you’re having an outdoor party or an indoor one. Take note of the weather on the day to adapt for any last-minute changes (hello Summer rain!).

Also don’t forget the all important party favors! No party would be complete if party guests didn’t have a party bag of party favors to go home with!

Kids on a bouncy house castle

Kids love a bouncy house or castle, but you’ll need to book early to get one!

Set Up a Gift Table

When you are setting up your gift table, make sure to have plenty of wrapping supplies on hand. This will include paper, bows, tape, and scissors. It’s also a good idea to set out a few large baskets or bins to collect the gifts as they are opened. This will keep the wrapping area neat and organized.

It’s also a good idea to set out a few large baskets or bins to collect the gifts as they are opened. This will keep the wrapping area neat and organized.

table of party favors for a little girl's birthday party

Don’t forget the party favors!

Consider Hiring Party Planners or a Backup Plan

If you find you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry – there are ways to make this process easier. One option is to borrow decor from another event and simply style it to suit the mood and feel you want to create for the perfect party. Another option is to put out all the decorations beforehand so that guests will be able to enjoy their meal before final touches are put on the venue.

Another option is to hire a party planner. A dedicated event planner can organize the whole day for you from start to finish so you don’t have to worry about missing a thing! It also means you can become the ultimate party host and enjoy the special day with your loved ones without having to worry about burning the pizza in the oven!

If you can’t afford a party planner, then not all is lost! Have a friend help you create a back-up plan in case anything goes wrong!

Young adults enjoying a birthday party, amazed at the chocolate birthday cake that's presented to the birthday girl.

Planning a party for adults can be just as stressful as kids!

Final Touches for the Most Successful Party Ever!

The final touches on planning the perfect birthday party for kids (and big kids!) are non-negotiable. This means that you should have everything prepared before the guests arrive. Whether this means putting out centrepieces and flowers beforehand or setting up the food table. These details need to be taken care of with plenty of time left over.

Creating a timeline for every 10 to 15 minutes can also help take some pressure off the planning process. This way, you’ll know what’s happening and when it’s happening without having to constantly check in on things. And if something does go wrong, don’t worry – as long as you’ve planned well, your guests will never know!

Keep reading for more amazing tips to make your neurodivergent life that little easier!

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Rob Butler
30-Something Millennial with ADHD and suspected Autistic and Dyspraxic. Thought leader behind this website. Big visions of a better future for everyone, but forgets where he is half the time.Loves Rugby, his kids, and anything silly. Hates U2 and Marmite.

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