At 45 I’m not having any more children, these are lessons which I sometimes forgot when birthday time came.
As parents we want to do everything possible to make our children’s lives special, we are driven to create perfect memories for them. Parents can be guilty of going over the top when birthdays are celebrated. The cost of outside venues for parties is not in our budget but I still stress for weeks before hosting a party.
Acacia turned 3 last week, of the children who were invited only 8 could make it. Lesson 1, don’t stress about numbers, small children are easily overwhelmed. Instead of a delighted, excited birthday child, too much excitement and too many people can make them grumpy and tearful. Don’t stress if only 2 children can come to the party, it’s not about numbers and they may be more comfortable with fewer guests.
Lesson 2, Surprise parties are a dumb idea for kids. This one I did actually learn from when I made the mistake of planning a surprise party for Heath when he was little, I never did it again. He was totally overwhelmed when the party started and missed out on the fun of preparation. Preparing for a party can be more fun than the party itself. Baking the birthday cake unassisted may be quicker and easier but children love being part of the process! On the morning of Acacia’s birthday we spent ages blowing up balloons, again priceless fun.
Lesson 3, the size and cost of a gift mean virtually nothing to younger children. What they love is the fun of ripping wrapping paper open. Gift bags take half the joy out of a gift for a child. Leading up to her birthday, every time we asked Acacia what present she wanted her reply was “Purple one”, I think we could have wrapped up an old teddy bear in purple paper and she would have been happy.
Most important, do not stress! Relax and have fun.