For most children, their birthday party is the highlight of their year. They get to be with all their friends, have a great time, and get cake and presents to finish off the day. But to make sure everything goes off without a hitch, you need to know how you can plan your child’s birthday party the right way.

It can be deceptively complicated, and putting it off until the last minute can have disastrous results. Start planning and preparation early so that all your ducks are in a row when the big day comes.

Know the Guest List and Plan Accordingly

Every birthday party starts with a guest list, as it will inform the rest of the planning process. Ask your child who they want at their party and write down all the names that come to their mind. If they have an exhaustive list of people, be ready to cull it to a select few; they may want to invite everyone they know, but you still have a budget to keep.

Once you have the completed guest list, the next step is sending invitations. You can either give them to your child to hand them out at school or, if you don’t trust them not to lose the letter, consult the school’s student directory for all their friends’ addresses.

Be Careful of the Food

Kids can have all sorts of reactions to every type of food, so it’s essential to take that into account during the preparation process. It’s up to you to find out the kids’ food allergies and make your food decisions based on those dietary limitations.

Obviously, you don’t know who’s allergic to what, so you can find this out when sending out the invite cards. Have a space where parents can write any allergies or sensitivities. Nothing ruins a birthday faster than exposing a child to something they’re allergic to.

The Presents

For many kids, the best part of any birthday party is the presents. Opening up gifts and finding what everyone got them is an exciting experience that few others in life can match. Of course, you can’t control what everyone brings, but you can give your child presents of your own.

Kids love toys from their favorite TV shows, so SpongeBob toys are always a favorite. Know what they like, and find something they’ll cherish for a long time to come—something they’ll keep on their shelf long after they’ve stopped playing with it.

If you’re unsure about presents, remember you can always give the gift of an experience: Trampoline parks, Putt-Putt Golf, the movies or museums.

Don’t Neglect the Planning Process

Even though it’s a party for children, the logistics and effort necessary can be crushing. Know the crucial steps to plan your child’s birthday party, and ensure everyone has a good time. If everything goes to plan, they’ll look back on this party well into adulthood, wondering how their parents were able to pull off such a great celebration.