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1. Pick a time.
For preschool kids, schedule parties for a maximum of two hours, sometime between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. This way, lunch has been served and you only need to serve light snacks. Plus, they'll still have room for dinner later.

2. Let the kids help.
For happy, not overwhelmed kids, let them help with the invitation list. You want to invite friends they already know and are comfortable with. The typical suggestion for the number of guests is to take the child's age and add one or two for small parties.

3. Don't leave anyone out.
If your child has a large class, you may want to have a small celebration at school. This way, you can ensure a celebration for everyone while still keeping your home party small.

4. Think ahead.
Set up as much as you can ahead of time a few days before the party. On party day, ice down drinks and set up crafts before guests arrive. Enlist a teenager or good friend to help. That way, you can relax and enjoy the party just as much as the kids will.

By Cathy Still Johnson

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