When it comes to kid’s birthday parties, there are really two kinds of parents. The first are those who are willing to spend vast amounts of money or spend huge amounts of time in order to create a party that’s so grand it will echo through the ages. Most of us are the second kind. We want our kids to have a good party, but we remember getting some cake and playing pin the tail on the donkey, and we didn’t turn out psychologically scarred.
There’s one thing that parents can sometimes lose sight of when it comes to party planning. It’s not about you. In a way, it’s not even about your child being the center of attention or getting a bunch of presents. Instead, it’s about a group of friends coming together to celebrate their friendship. Yesterday, we shared some tips to make the party planning process a little easier, and today, we’d like to share a few more.
Start off by talking to your child about what kind of party they want. Depending on the age of your child, this process might involve a little…flexibility on your part. A toddler might just tell you they want a chocolate cake. An older child might insist that everything needs to be pink. That’s okay, just take whatever details they give you and run with it.
What if a number of extended family members want to come, and you’re worried about it becoming an impromptu family reunion? Keep the guest list down to a manageable number, and with very young kids, smaller is always better. For family, consider setting up a completely separate family gathering.
What if your child was invited to someone else’s party earlier, but the kids aren’t terribly close? We know, figuring out the guest list can be a little thorny. Remember, honoring the social contract isn’t worth it if it makes your child uncomfortable. Instead, reach out to the other child’s parents and suggest a playdate. Either one-on-one time will rekindle the friendship, or everyone will agree that they’re not too close.
Back in the day, the common wisdom was that everyone in your child’s class should be invited to a party. But with class sizes expanding, that’s no longer realistic. Don’t send invitations to school. Instead, find out who your child wants to invite, and send invitations via the mail or by email. That way, you can keep the size manageable and make sure there are no hurt feelings from anyone who isn’t invited.
For toddlers and preschoolers, always keep it simple. Water play, colorful balls, bubbles, giant cartons, and simple games are good approaches to take. They won’t appreciate or even care about an elaborate setup, so don’t waste your time.
When it comes to older kids, don’t feel like you’re forced to shell out an enormous amount of money to create a great party. Most kids, whatever the age, like making things. You can have them help to make party hats, bake cupcakes together, or creating personalized picture frames that can hold a group shot of everybody that attended.