Rethinking Your Kid’s Birthday Party

When the planning process for your child’s birthday party starts to resemble a major military campaign, it’s time to think about scaling back the whole operation. In fact, party planners and child development experts alike agree that it is probably best to keep it simple for the annual celebration no matter what age your child is.

Instead of trying to impress the other parents in the neighborhood and focusing on the materialistic aspects, plan a party that will make your child happy and give them a special experience.

Let the good times roll

Begin the party planning by keeping in mind the developmental stage of your child and his or her personality. Gatherings for ages 1 and 2 will work best when it’s just family and a few close friends getting together over cake. At age 3 and up, you can start involving your child in the process to see what he or she would enjoy doing and which friends they might like to invite—within reason.

And don’t be afraid to make it easy on yourself by sticking to the basics—cake, ice cream and simple, age-appropriate socializing and activities.

Budget-friendly fun

An uncomplicated party may be easier on the pocketbook, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be just as memorable for your child.

The Internet is awash in children’s birthday party theme ideas for the do-it-yourself parent. You may also want to look for inspiration in the simpler party games and themes you enjoyed in your own childhood, such as pin the tail on the donkey, count the candy in the jar, balloon relays and scavenger hunts.