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Birthday Party Dilemmas

How much do you spend on a kid’s gift? Do you invite the whole class? Are birthday parties at home a thing of the past?

Children’s birthday parties almost always generate parental stress regardless whether you are on the giving or receiving end of the birthday party spectrum. Should we invite everyone in my child’s class? How much should we spend on a birthday gift? Do we want to have a party at home? Or, what about holding the birthday party at a special place such as a restaurant or indoor playcentre? These and other questions are foremost in a parent’s mind as the date approaches.

In tougher economic times, the total cost of the event or the gift will be a factor. Peer pressure also plays a role with your child’s desire to have fun and impress their friends. Do you also include parents in the birthday party? On this question, the age of the children and their relationship to your child will likely influence the final decision.

Start by asking yourself reasonable questions: Do we want to have an intimate, at-home celebration? Or should we extend an invitation to my child’s entire class and book a party room or special entertainment for the large group? If your child has been invited to a party, but you are not acquainted with either your child’s friends or his/her parents, you may want to contact the parents to find out the plans and gift preferences.

Depending on the age of the child, the price tag for a gift will change accordingly. Generally speaking, the older the child, the pricier the gift and the more technology will come into play. Older children often want the latest ‘must-have’ toys and gadgets. On the other hand, young children are easier to please and a present can definitely be inspirational and educational, offering the child a learning experience.

If your child is quiet or shy, a smaller gathering is probably appropriate, which will enable him or her to interact with each guest.  Larger parties where a child’s entire class is invited allows the birthday child to get to have fun with different children and get to know them better in a setting outside the school environment.

Home parties are still acceptable and provide a lower-cost alternative. Sometimes young children are happy just to be at a party with their friends. This may also provide the parents with an opportunity to meet each other in a friendly setting. Older children are often harder to please and need more distractions to hold their attention and encourage them to participate. Themed parties are very popular, and events where there is special entertainment, such as a magic show, will be a good choice.

Whichever way you go, try to match the ages and interests of the children with the location and theme. It’s sure to be a success.

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