It might feel like your kids birthdays are every WEEK, not every year. Especially if you have three at different ages. Birthdays are hectic times for all the family, but as the responsibility for the day tends to fall with the parents it can be a stressful time for mom and dad.
Plus, kids are growing up so fast these days what with the rise of technology, so it can be hard to know how they want to celebrate. Get it wrong, and you fear inciting the wrath of the tween-ager! But get it right and the whole family can have a great day together.
Talk to your child about the kind of party they want for their birthday and what is available to them on your budget. If they want to rent out a boat and have the entire cast of Frozen come down to wish them a happy birthday, you’ll need to be able to let them down gently!
But a slightly smaller affair should be easily achievable. Also decide if you are going to have one event for friends and a separate one for family, or if you are going to mix the two. This, however, can often depend on your child’s age.
Set a gift budget for the birthday boy or girl and try to stick to it. It can be tempting to go completely overboard and spoil your little one rotten – after all, it’s a parent’s instinct to do so.
But you don’t want to be eating discount soup for the next month just to make it worth it. Plus, if you bombard your child with too many gifts every birthday, you will set a precedent. Kids often count presents, especially against how many their siblings get.
Choose a unique gift idea rather than hundreds of toys they may never use. Pay attention to what your child is religiously into and what is clearly a fad. Of course, there is nothing wrong at all with indulging a fad – it’s all part of being a child. But if the merchandise your child wants is $70 and in two months they’re not interested in it anymore, it can be pretty frustrating.
If you can tell they’re into something just because it’s new or fashionable, don’t splash your cash. It’s worth spending more money on something they truly love, such as something related to their favourite movie. Plus, if you children aren’t bored with their toys, they are less likely to clamour for new ones.
Throwing the party
Kids parties are some of the most fun to throw. After all, nothing beats seeing your child and their friends enjoying themselves. If you need to cut costs, consider holding the party at your home – after kid-proofing it first, of course!
If you have outdoor space, try and utilise this as much as possible (providing the weather is good). That way, you won’t need to worry as much about your house getting wrecked. Consider running an activity day with challenges and tasks for your child and their friends.
Split them into teams and set them off. Examples of things to do include sack races, apple bobbing and performing a sketch. With younger children, this is a great way to get them off the technology for a few hours too, and really make a party worthwhile. Just make sure it doesn’t get too competitive – everyone gets a prize at the end!
Another type of at-home party you can host is a pool party. Swimming parties are popular with children but often the cost of renting the pool can be sky high, especially if you want to add an inflatable too. Plus you have the added cost of refreshments to think about, either at the pool venue itself or elsewhere. Overall, it can work out cheaper to rent your own pool for your back garden, providing it is large enough. Granted, it won’t be exactly the same experience. But, you can provide a BBQ, make a non-alcoholic fruit punch (popular with younger girls) and play your own music if you do it at home.
If putting on a party at your own home isn’t for you, thankfully there are many great options for where you can take your kids. Older children (boys especially) may enjoy a go-karting party. In fact, high-adrenaline parties are becoming a lot more popular, with everything from dirt bikes to supercars on offer. Laser tag is a failsafe option, especially if the party happens to fall on a rainy day.
If you have a particularly girly girl, book her and some friends in for a manicure – they’ll love the feeling of being pampered like grown-ups. You can often get discount when booking in a large group, so speak with the salon or check discount websites such as Groupon for a voucher.
If you’re a dab hand in the kitchen, you might be considering baking your child’s birthday cake yourself. Exciting bakes can delight and thrill, but make it too ambitious and you could end up with half of it on the floor! Sticking to a simple shape is key.
If your child is a huge fan a Lego, make individual square cakes and coat them in coloured icing to mimic Lego blocks. Get creative with toppings and food colourants to create something magical for your little one. However, baking is not a skill everyone is blessed with.
If you would rather leave it to the professionals, there are plenty of cake companies local to you who can create something amazing for your child. Alternatively, you can order one from further afield to be delivered – although it will mean your cake has to risk the journey.
The good thing about many of these companies is that you can be as involved as you like – so if you still want to design the cake, just not bake it, you can still have some input. Make sure to take a picture once your creation comes to life.