Before the party, create a birthday party checklist by writing down each activity and estimating how much time it will take to complete it.
Here is a sample plan for a 2 hour Party:
12:00-12:30- Decorate goodie bags and complete Craft Project.
12:30-12:45- Eat Pizza
1:30-1:45- Open Presents
I just leave the paper on the counter and glance at it occasionally to see how the party is progressing and if we are on time. If you see things are taking longer than expected, you can move things along faster by eliminating an activity or shortening one. If the party is moving slower than expected, you can make the activities longer. For instance, give each child two turns at a game that maybe you had only planned on giving one turn.
You will be amazed how a little piece of paper can prove to be so valuable. There is nothing worse than having all the parents arrive at the end of the party to pick up their kids and you have many activities not yet done.