Children’s birthday parties might be fun for the kids, but they’re a whole lot of work for the parents. Parties are becoming more and more stressful and expensive, with research showing that seven-year-olds have the most extravagant soirées, costing £188 on average. So if you’re feeling the pressure to throw a Pinterest-perfect bash, here are a few tips to make the planning stress-free.

Book the main event or entertainment first

If you’re struggling to organise the event, it’s a good idea to start with your main event or attraction. Expert planners of luxury children’s parties, Snapdragon suggest building your day around the times of the main event, letting you work out realistic times your child’s party can start and end. This can also help you figure out how long you’ll need to hire your venue for—you may be able to get away with hiring it for half a day, rather than a full day, which can save you money.

You may even choose to have your main event or entertainment at a venue, such as Kidzania in London. Most of these venues will have an area for parents to wait if they choose, so you won’t be left in charge of all the children at once. They will also have trained staff on hand to help keep the children entertained, rather than leaving it your family’s responsibility.

Host your party at a venue

Hiring a local venue takes the stress out of your home for the day. You won’t have to worry about cleaning and preparing your house for a classroom of children, and the venue may even take care of the post-party clean up, depending on what you pay for. Local venues are likely to be cheaper to hire for the day, and will often include parking spaces for the parents, however may not offer a clean-up service.

This also allows you to arrange your own entertainment, and tailor the day specifically for your child. Hired venues will often include set times that you will need to stick to, so it’s important to let other parents know. Once the party is finished, you’ll be able to go back home to relax with your family.

Bring out a buffet with finger food at the party

Food at a children’s party can wind up stressing you out. Research has shown that around 8% of children have a food allergy, and around 40% have had a history of a severe reactions. On top of this, 30% of children have multiple food allergies, which you must take into account when planning food for the party. Find out about any allergies your guests have before the party, so you can accommodate for this. However, you should also try and offer substitutes if possible, and work around some of the more common allergies, such as: peanuts, milk, shellfish, eggs, nuts, soy, wheat, and fish.

Rather than organising a sit-down meal with all the children, it would be better to simply lay out the food in a buffet style. Children can be notoriously picky eaters, so it’s best to let them pick their own food—within reason. Finger food is also much easier to eat, and leaves minimal mess behind. Try and avoid too many sugary treats where possible, which can make the children hyper—except for, of course, birthday cake.

Make sure you’re prepared for any minor accidents

Regardless of the type of party you’re having, you should prepare for any minor scrapes and bruises. Keep a first aid box to hand, and if you’re hosting your party at a venue, adequate medical equipment should be provided and trained staff should be on hand. Things you should remember to pack in your first aid kit include plasters, small bandages, cotton wool, and antiseptic cream. Any small bumps and cuts will be quickly forgotten with a bright plaster on top, and the children can go back to enjoying themselves at the party.

Have a relaxed morning with just your family

Planning ahead gives you the chance to have a quiet morning in with your family, rather than doing last minute party-planning bits. It also gives you the time to get the birthday boy or girl ready, as well as yourself and the rest of your family. This will create time to have a sit-down breakfast with your whole family, allowing your child to enjoy a small gift exchange before the party. Having the whole family relaxed in the morning can help them stay calm for the rest of the day, rather than be stressed.

Whether you’re hosting the party at your own house, or hiring a venue for the event, it’s important to plan ahead so you don’t spend the day stressed out. This can help you enjoy the party along with your child, and let you spend some much needed quality time with your family for your child’s special day.