Celebrating a child’s birthday is an important and special tradition, but parties can become stressful especially if you feel like you need to compete or keep up with the other parties you hear about or those your children attend. Perhaps your circle of friends is throwing elaborate and fancy first year birthday parties. Maybe your neighbor rented a tent and a pony last summer for her son’s fifth birthday. Maybe your child’s best friend had a huge party with a band to celebrate his 16th year. Whatever the circumstance, you can quickly feel the pressure to throw the birthday of the year (or your child’s life). Here are some of my ideas on how you might simplify your child’s next birthday party.
- Decrease the number of attendees. It’s normal for a child to want to invite every student in his class or the entire neighborhood. Perhaps larger numbers mean more fun and presents for your child, but it also equals more time, energy and chaos. Consider decreasing the amount of people you invite. Ask your child to choose 2 or 3 special friends. If your child attends school send the invites through the mail or by email to prevent hurt feelings from other classmates.
- Decrease the duration of the party. A party doesn’t have to last the entire afternoon to be a fun. A party that lasts 2 hours is a reasonable and welcome length of time for both the host and those celebrating.
- Forgo party favors. Yes, it has become quite popular to pass out favors at a child’s party, but it isn’t a requirement. I have never passed out favors at one of our parties, and I have yet to receive the evil eye in response to my choice. Do any of us really need extra candy or small toys in our homes? A favor-free party might just be a welcome change for you and for those attending your event.
- Take the celebration to a free venue. There are many places that advertise and rent space for birthday celebrations, but they obviously cost money. If you want to spend your money in other ways think about taking your celebration to a free venue. We have had a number of friends and family host parties at a local playground. We hosted a September birthday party for our oldest at a nearby beach, and everyone had a blast! A memorable birthday doesn’t have to happen at an expensive venue; so look at free options around you, and try something new.
- Skip the party. Two of our children share a birthday month, and this year we decided to skip hosting a party for them. Instead, we made a family trip to a children’s museum and enjoyed a day of fun. We told our children that this was the plan for the year, and they were completely on board with the change. Parties can be fun, but if you are looking to try something new and give yourself and your children a break, perhaps skipping the party is a good option for you.
I hope this post has given you some ideas to inspire your next party. Please know that big, elaborate, expensive parties don’t have to be the norm. A simple, smaller, and meaningful event could be the birthday memory your child talks about for years to come.
What about you? How do you simplify your child’s parties?
Until next time,