Kids’ birthday parties – some adults love them and others…not so much.
It comes as no surprise, considering how big birthday parties have grown in the past few years. Each one is bigger, with more handmade touches and DIY decadence. Sometimes it can be a little intimidating to try and keep up with all those artsy-craftsy parents.
But as a parent, there are five simple things you can do to help ease the anxiety other adults and parents may have about attending your kid’s birthday party.
Consider the Scheduling
Because of school and work, most kids’ parties take place on the weekends. To help other parents plan a potential multi-party weekend, give them a tentative agenda. It could be:
- 2 hours at the bouncy house place down the street
- 4 hours of backyard barbecuing
- a sleepover with a pickup time of 11 am
Whatever your plans, give parents a timeline so they can better plan their weekends – they’ll love you for it!
Keep Your Eyes on the Size
This one is tricky, considering many schools have recently instituted an “invite everyone in the class” policy in order to prevent kids from feeling left out. Parents who oppose that type of school policy tend to embrace an old adage – the number of party guests should correspond with the child’s age. So if your child is turning 5, these folks believe the perfect number of guests to invite 5.
In the end, it’s up to you whether to invite your kid’s entire class or limit it to a small number of good friends. But if you do wind up inviting the whole class, make sure that for every 2-3 kids, you have an adult to help you keep the party from going totally wild.
Help Adults Help Their Kids
Unfortunately, not every kid loves birthday parties. Sometimes the idea of a party can turn an otherwise happy child into a nervous wreck.
You can help parents reduce their children’s anxiety by clearly marking important places like the bathroom. You can also play little ice breaker games at the start of the party to help more shy children get to know other kids.
And if you have any special rules in your house, let parents know in advance so they can coach their kids on how to be on their best behavior.
Share What’s on the Menu
It seems like an odd suggestion to share your menu in advance, especially with the typical menu consisting of simple things like pizza and cake. However, with food allergies becoming more prevalent, sharing what’s on the menu will help parents better plan for your day.
After all, if pizza and cake are the only things on the menu, a gluten-intolerant guest may go hungry while everyone else gets to eat. By knowing the menu in advance, parents of children with food sensitivities can pack them a special meal or feed them in advance so that no one has to feel left out.
Be Crystal Clear with Gift Policy
The gift-giving problem often pops up when parents send invitations with vague messages like “please, no presents”. Most parents wind up wondering if that is some meaningless formality that will leave them looking cheap if they neglect to bring a present. To make it more clear to guests, tell them if they bring gifts that they will be donated to charity. Or ask them to donate to a children’s charity in lieu of gifts, if they so choose.
***A note on party favors: many parents see party favors as additional clutter they’ll have to take home. If you really love the idea of giving everyone a little something special to take home, consider giving them practical kids birthday favors that they can use over and over again once they’re home.
Optional: Have Something for Adults to Do
If you’re hosting a huge party and are asking parents stay to help out, try actually giving them something helpful to do! Many parents feel really uncomfortable with the idea of making small talk with people they don’t know well. By asking politely for their help, you give adults a way to occupy their time.
Have an outgoing parent? Let them run the next game.
Have an introverted parent? Ask them if they’d mind helping you make coffee in the kitchen.
It’s a little extra work to come up with activities for both the adults AND the kids when putting together a kids’ birthday party, but the parents will be eternally grateful and some of them may even have a great time!
What are your suggestions for having the best kids’ birthday party ever? Thinking of trying some of our suggestions at your next party? Share your thoughts in the comments below, or click “Like” to get the conversation started on Facebook!