Birthday Parties for Kids

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By Michelle Jensen, Parent Resource Center
One idea is that simple can be better. The younger the child, the simpler the celebration you may want to hold. Who doesn’t want to celebrate their child’s birthday? It’s a time for celebration, fun, family and friends. It’s a time to honor that child‘s special day.
However, many times over the years I have noticed parents who decide to go so overboard that their kids no longer expect small gifts or small parties. Not only that but because there are too many gifts and too much excitement or too many people, the enjoyment and the appreciation are missed. It’s important for a child to have fun and learn to appreciate simple things.
Compare these two experiences by reporter Julie Tilsner.
SITUATION #1:   Brigid Galloway of Grantville, Georgia, couldn’t resist throwing a huge bash when her son, Jack, turned 1. Some 50 friends and family came, but it was too much for Jack, who cried through the puppet show and wouldn’t touch his cake. “Everyone had a great time‚ except for Jack!” says Galloway.
SITUATION #2:    For her daughter Lulu’s first birthday, Julia Regalado of Berkeley, California, decided on a picnic in a local park for 12 of her friends and their kids. She made sure Lulu stayed blissfully unaware of any extra attention. As Regalado nursed her daughter to sleep under a
tree after lunch, the guests offered a hope for Lulu’s future in lieu of gifts. “There were no meltdowns, everyone had a good time and it was such a satisfying way to mark the day,” she says.
It’s important that parents get very clear about what is really needed at a Birthday Celebration. If your child is old enough to notice what other more elaborate parties are like, you may clearly state “Everyone is different and this is what our family does” (In fact, these words may be utilized anytime there is a difference in how someone else does something!)
Kids need to know you care, that you honor them and want to celebrate them. A birthday can be done simply. Use your creativity and make a list of simple locations to hold the party, how many people to
invite (younger kids need less overwhelm) and if the child is old enough to give some of their own ideas or opinions, take that into consideration.
Creating a simple experience that is fun, allows the time with family
and friends to be savored.
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