Mission Impossible: Planning the Perfect Birthday Party for Kids

Themed décor, elaborate cakes, and food that has to be able to please both the kids and the parents. Sometimes it seems like children’s birthday parties are even more elaborate than high school graduation parties!

Now, if you enjoy putting together the perfect theme and menu, that’s great. There is absolutely nothing wrong with going all out for your kids. If everyone is having fun doing it, get those invitations that match the table cloths that match the balloons that match the outfits.

However, if you are a parent who feels overwhelmed by the pressure to create the perfect party… here are some things to remember:

Honestly, your toddler probably won’t remember their birthday parties.

Kids under three years old don’t store a lot of memories long-term. They also usually prefer to be around the people they are most comfortable with, get hyper when they eat too much sugar, and get cranky when their schedules are thrown off.

If birthday parties are important to your family and you want to go all out in the early years, that’s great! There’s nothing wrong with the occasional fancy celebration. However, a small family party between naptime and bedtime is just as valid of a choice.

For some kids, large parties are overwhelming.

As a parent, you know how much stimulation your child can take before they become overwhelmed. Don’t peer pressure of all the other kids having big, fancy parties push you to go against your better judgment.

If your kids are older and want to have a day with their friends, consider two days to celebrate! One small party with friends and another with family can keep things less stimulating and still make your child feel celebrated.

The simplest décor is often nature.

If it’s a possibility, public parks can be a great party venue for kids! Playgrounds and nature walks can be just as exciting as bouncy castles and bowling alleys for most young children. Just be sure to check with your local parks and recreation department to find out if you need to rent a shelter or avoid putting up any certain types of décor.

It’s okay to say no to some of your kids’ requests… even on their birthday.

As kids get older and start to get invited to all kinds of parties, chances are they’ll ask for something you can’t accommodate. Whether it’s scheduling, budget, or location, there are things that would just be really stressful for you to pull off!

It’s okay to say no if you need to. You can say no compassionately and ask you kids if they’d like to help you think of an alternative solution together.

Again, if you have a passion for party planning, there is nothing wrong with an elaborate, perfect birthday celebration! Just remember that at the end of the day, your child wants to feel seen, appreciated, and loved on their birthday.

Well… let’s be honest. They also probably do want the presents and cake.

Bethany Robin

Bethany has been blogging about the struggles, pitfalls, and just plain insanity of parenting as a millennial since her oldest was born in 2015. She's also worked extensively as a doula and has four children of her own, including toddler twins.

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