A Party for kids. Sometimes there really is pressure to throw the best one!
Helen wrote a post last week about the pressure of throwing a party for toddlers. It reminded me of wedding planning; a minefield of organisation and worry about your guests being happy. If I was a man I’d describe it as a ballache. Where do you have it? Do you hire somewhere? What food do you buy; party rings or hummus and dip? Cake? Party bags but what do you put in? Some people don’t want their children having sweeties (me). Are cheap toys too crap? It starts to become a bit of a nightmare and it is easy to lose sight of what the party is about; getting family and friends around to celebrate another year of this amazing little person being on the planet.
This week in the news I read a little girl had been thrown a Disney Princess Party for her third birthday. Great idea. Sounds amazing. No. This party cost $50,000. You read that right. My wedding was cheaper. How about, crazy people, just going to Disney Land for a holiday? Less money and less mess. This is of course an extreme example but the pressure to throw your little darling a cool party seems to be mounting.
This becomes worse if your child has a group of friends, who all have parties around the same time and your little one is invited to them all. It must start to feel like a competition. Most original theme. Best party game. Making sure everyone is invited who should be. And presents! This is another post in itself.
You worry you will be judged.Your kids will remember (they won’t). What if they see the photos of a boring party with their Nan nursing the Savignon Blanc in the corner with a squashed party hat on their head (they might)?
From going to Alfie’s party at the weekend I learnt a few things from the simple, yet well thought out party Helen threw:
- Although it may be busy, the house is a lovely place to throw a party. It is homely. There are toys and the birthday toddler will feel safe and secure in their own environment. They may be a whole load of mess to clear up afterwards but I’d left by them….ahem.
- Toddlers quite honestly don’t give a crap about fancy games and organised fun. If they have their friends, their toys and somewhere to run about, they are happy. In fact they are downright ecstatic.
- A buffet with finger foods and your typical party foods is really effective. Don’t bother with a BBQ (from personal experience it is way too time consuming and messy). A chicken nugget is completely yummy dipped in hummus anyway.
- As long as there is cake, any cake, toddlers are in their element. As long as there is alcohol the adults are too (not me as I was being good and driving).
- A party bag could contain a hair grip and my daughter would be happy for at least 10 minutes trying to put it in her hair. Bottom line, it really doesn’t matter. Cake and a party hat; sorted.
Having older kids, I have been there many times. Don't go with the pressure. You are so right that it doesn't matter to the kids. Sometimes it is more about the parents than the children. It is just about a bit of fun to mark a special day and I personally don't want to be so stressed at the end of it. Great post. #binkylinky
This is so true. The best party I went to recently for a one year old was a home one. It was so cosy, personal & they all the babies enjoyed themselves. It was fuss free so you could relax.
We went to one a bit more extravagant the week before & although it looked incredible, the little ones had no idea that it was even supposed to be a theme. I understand that turning 1 is such a milestone, so they want to look back to a memorable party. But I think it is so much better to wait till they're older & can understand & remember such great parties.
I'm mid party planning now, God it's so stressful! Great read and tips thanks! #binkylinky x
You are so right. We all know that kids are entertained for hours on end with an empty cardboard box, so it'd be fair to say that they don't need much! Glad you had fun, thanks for sharing with #WotW x
You're absolutely right! We very rarely do organised birthday parties-theyre always much more laid back affairs. Even now my daughter is older, soon to be 9, she isn't too fussed about parties. A day with friends is more her thing x
So very true – the simple parties are often much more fun for the little ones and much less stressful to organise. We had a party at our church hall for both girls when they turned 1 but it was mostly family there and instead of having organised games, we just had lots of toys scattered about and let the kids entertain themselves which they all seemed to enjoy. We've also had an open house for a few hours for birthdays which has worked quite well – buffet food on the table, the kids playing with toys and people just popping in at different times. Definitely agree with you that finger food, good company and cake is really all that is needed 🙂
I agree too. For little ones it's best kept simple. My daughter will be 8 this year and has asked for a party.. local sports hall here I come!
Ahh I hope you enjoyed it, I guess in a few years time we will be heading to a bigger venue which will cost more (boohoo) but it was so nice to see everyone. I'm still so annoyed I forgot to give you the party bag though, grrr!!
Helen – #WotW
We don't throw extravagant parties but DEFINITELY feel the pressure to make them picture perfect! So much stress!! One thing we've started doing is hiring entertainment. We had a "scientist" come to the last one to do a show & lead the kids through some experiments. The kids are entertained, which means the grown ups can relax and nobody trashed our house by running around taking out all the toys and games. It makes party-throwing so easy! We put out some food and just relax!
If I have a party for my 3 guys, I never ever have it in the house, the horror! A couple of hours in a play centre or a trip to the cinema with a few friends is as far as I'll go. They're really not interested which makes it easy.
Its going to be my son's birthday and I cant really throw a party as I am chicken! I think I will have nervous breakdown and theres someone in school who has the same birthday who will celebrate. Who will come to our party when the mother of teh other kid is most liked. So we will just go out and visit a zoo =( #wotw
The simplest parties are usually the best….
My girls birthdays fall in the 6 weeks school holidays so it's hard to organise parties so we just usually have days out….My eldest is planning a sleepover for her 13th in a few months…I am absolutely dreading it! lol
I think people over complicate parties sometimes. All in a bid to impress others. Our twins are three and so far we've just had family over our house for their birthdays. I know when they start nursery it'll be different as we can throw them a proper party, but even then it would be a simple one! Probably a bouncy castle and some music in a church hall somewhere! Of course, we'd have cake too! Thanks for linking up to the #BinkyLinky
Cake and booze- that's how we roll! It's the tot's 1st birthday coming up. The crazy part or me wants to get busy on Pinterest. The more sensible part (aka my wife) is reigning me in.
Great tips – I held O's first 2 birthday "parties" at home as it was just easier. Although the cleaning up is a pain in the butt!! Last year we held his party at soft play though as now both his Daddy and I are working full time and he wanted to invite his nursery pals… A house with 30 kids is not a good plan! At least it would be if you lived in a mansion! x
Ha! It's so true about putting pressure on yourself to put on a 'perfect' party for toddlers but tbh, all they want is some fun with friends, cake and a party bag! I've learnt from experience (my girl is now 7yo) that children's parties don't need to cost a fortune, that you ALWAYS over estimate the amount of food to be eaten – so always halve your initial calculation – and have fun. Children's birthday parties shouldn't be pressurized; if they are where's the fun in that?!
You all look like you had a fab time great post thanks for linking to the Binkylinky
Great post got some great ideas for when Charlotte is old enough for her parties. Scary thought :). x
Great tips as I get so over involved in organising a party I get stressed out. But as you say we have to remember why we are throwing this party and its for the kids!! #bigfatlinky xx
Great post! I totally agree, it's only stressful if you let it be. It only gets stressful and expensive when they get in the tween/teen age. Up until then, the kids are happy with the simplest of things x #WotW
p.s you said cake 7 times, what's my prize? lol
I agree. I think people get carried away with parties for very young children, and it is important to remember that the party is about the child, not the adults. And the kids, frankly, don't care! As long as, as you say, they get to run about! I think on a more serious note, it is really not a good thing, this tendency towards extravagant parties. It is pressure, like you say. And, quite apart from whether you want the stress of it, it is pressure that not all families can financially afford. Children should not get left out or made to feel different because their parents are not able to compete with other families on the birthday party front. That is just wrong, as parties for kids never needed to be extravagant or competitive in the first place. Also: fifty THOUSAND dollars??
Our planner had done an event at our venue last year, and we knew that their experience would be nearly invaluable to our event. We worked with their event coordinator, who totally delivered on what we had hoped for!
Oh wow 50k on a birthday party is wild! I love the alligator cake! You are right, a party is a party and the toddler will love it, no need to stress 🙂 #bigfatlinky
I did parties for the first two years for my now-5 year old. The first year was in a park, the second in one of those indoor playspaces….after that, it has been a yearly trip to Disneyland and we are all happier for it! Nearly all of her classmates have over the top parties – which we go to but it also reminds me what I don't ever want to do…and thankfully neither does my girl. Visiting over from #weekendbloghop