Party invitations are typically the last thing on my mind when I start the planning process for a birthday party for one of my children. I know this seems counterproductive, especially considering the fact that the invitation is the first thing the party guests see. But that’s how my brain works…a bit backwards.

It’s usually my goal to involve my daughter (my son is a bit young at the moment) in the decision-making process when it comes to certain aspects of her party. She is pretty good at helping come up with ideas for decorations and food, but usually leaves the games and activities to me. We don’t always craft physical invitations, but when we do, I like to work on them together. Creating art with her is one of my favorite things to do, and I don’t get the chance all that often.

The tips I’ve provided below are based on lessons I’ve learned over the years. I hope you find them useful.

Let go of your perfectionist nature

I am a perfectionist. I know this and will openly admit it to anyone who wants to know. Most people figure this out pretty quickly when they attend one of my parties. My daughter is currently 11. She…is not a perfectionist. And that’s OK. When I work on a project with her, I have to physically (and consistently) remind myself of this fact. Life is not perfect. And it shouldn’t be, so if you’re a perfectionist like me…let it go. Well, at least for a little while…

Ask your child for input

I usually present my daughter with a few suggestions from Pinterest to give her some ideas to work with. She’s pretty good about finding something she likes and sticking with it. I’ve discovered if I give her some input authority, she’ll be more invested in the project, and things will run pretty smoothly.

Shop for party invitation supplies together

Go shopping together! Let her help you pick out stickers or paper. Even a perfectionist like myself can handle that one. My daughter picks out the colors for her invitation background as well as any stickers to complement the theme. It’s actually quite helpful in the design process to have her there to make those kinds of choices.

Schedule a time to work on party invitations

My child does not respond well to, “Hey, kiddo! Wanna work on your invitations…right now?!” She is one of those kids that needs structure in her life. As a result, we give her advanced warning for everything, including when we want her to help us with something…like crafting her party invitations.

Plan out the party invitation construction before you start

This will alleviate confusion later on in the crafting process. If you take a look at the different components of the invitation and discuss any potential construction obstacles before you dive in head first, you’ll both have a better understanding of how you want it to look. And you’ll get along better as well.

Divide and conquer

Create an assembly line of sorts for your invitation construction process. This allows you to hold onto some of the harder parts of the process yourself…you know, those things you just can’t let go. That’s OK, but make sure your child doesn’t think you don’t trust her abilities. Honestly, my daughter is much better at drawing than I am, but she’s not all that great at minute details like cutting straight lines. Dividing and conquering is the best solution for our partnership.

Put on some fun music

Let your child choose some favorite music to listen to while you work. It doesn’t seem like work when you’re singing along to your favorite pop artist!

Talk while you work

Hey, Mom (or Dad)! This is a great opportunity to talk to your kid! Seriously, use this time to grow closer. Find out how school’s going; ask her if there are any boys she likes; quiz her on what she wants for her birthday. Make sure all is well in her world, and it’ll be better in yours, too.

Don't be critical of your child's work

It’s her party, so once again…let it go. If she makes a small error (in your mind anyway), forget about it. It’s just not worth it. Perfection in this situation is not necessary. As long as the information is correct, you’re good to go. Everything else is just icing on the party invitation cake, as it were.

Relax and enjoy

Above all, try to relax during this experience. My husband and friends often comment that I get really focused when I’m planning a party. In fact, sometimes I miss out on other fun things in my life because I’ve got a serious case of party tunnel vision going on. As this hobby has grown over the years, I’ve learned to spread things out more. I suggest you take the same approach. Make sure you have plenty of time to put the invitations together. Don’t start working on them the day before they need to be mailed out. Plan ahead! Things will go much smoother if you give yourself enough wiggle room to enjoy spending the crafting time together.

Celebrate Success!

Once you finish your invitations, it’s time to celebrate! Take your child out for some ice cream and commend her for doing such an awesome job. Then go home and check that task off your party plan. Go YOU!