With four kids, I have done my share of birthday parties. Even with limiting parties to one preschool, one school-age and one teen, I am still doing 12 birthday parties for kids. Good thing we like to have parties at our house.
Birthday parties are fun.
Birthday parties are exciting.
Birthday parties are stressful.
Birthday parties are expensive.
Here are 5 suggestions to make birthday parties a simple, positive experience for kids AND for parents.
Pare down the guest list.
Your child doesn’t have to invite every child in their class. If you can handle five kids, invite five children. If you think 10 would be fun, invite 10. But I would not invite more than 10. That’s when it starts to get tricky.
- Keep the party relatively short.
An 1 1/2 hours or 2 hours is plenty. It’s a party. It’s designed to celebrate your child’s life, not to drag on all day.
- Plan self-directed activities.
For my son’s train party, we gave each of the kids engineer hats and train whistles. Then, we had an imaginary train for them to play with. In another room, we set up the train track and let our guests play with the trains. That was it. No games, no craft. We read a story, ate cake, and opened presents. Then, everyone went back to playing on their own and with each other.
- Pick an location that gives you the least amount of stress.
For some people, the best place is their backyard. For others, the best place is in their house. It’s nice to live in a place that has so many options outside of your house including The Eagle’s Nest, the Firefighter’s Hall & Museum, the Children’s Museum and so many more.
One of the best ways to get everyone in the spirit is by decorating. For the birthdays we don’t have parties, we still decorate whether it’s using streamers and balloons or it’s a cool cake. Parties usually include more decorations, but that can be as simple as printing images off the computer, cutting them out, and hanging them from the ceiling using some curly ribbon or string.
You can make your kids’ birthday parties exciting without killing yourself.