My three year old twins are turning four in February and their birthday party is a hot topic of conversation in our house. I dont think they have any idea that it’s more than 2 months away and we still have Christmas to get through. Both girls are always asking questions about their party and telling me who they would like to invite. If you dare to get on the wrong side of Darling 4, who my father has nicknamed the ‘Velvet Sledgehammer’, her standard response is ‘you’re not coming to my birthday party!!!’
When you’re a carefree child, excited about your upcoming birthday and looking forward to all those gifts, you’re not really thinking about how stressful it is for your parents. While our kids are running around the house with their friends and showing off their best warrior screams, the parents are left with a mix of joy that their kid is enjoying their birthday – and dread that it’s not even halfway done yet.
You can actually start to anticipate your kid’s birthday party without a feeling of dread, as long as you know how to prepare for it and relax with the other parents. That way, you can watch them run around the house and tear the wrapping paper off their presents without worry and enjoy the day as much as your kids.
Here is a handful of ways to help you to achieve exactly this. Spread the news to the rest of the parents, so that they’re able to lower their shoulders too and enjoy that cake as well.
First: Ask for help
While you can certainly invite the other parents of the neighbourhood over to help you out with the preparations as well as the supervisions, it comes with a word of caution as they’re likely to return the favour in just a few months :).
Instead, you should make the kids help out with decorating the house and even the birthday child’s older siblings if they have any. Blowing up balloons, handing out party hats, and hanging up decorations, is just the kind of task that all children are great at – and you can pour yourself another cup of coffee (or wine) in the meantime.
Next: Don’t stress with the games
Another thing that a lot of stressed out parents forget about when planning a birthday party for kids, is that they’re more than able to entertain themselves. Especially when they have all their friends around; chances are, in fact, that those extra games you’ve been arranging will be superfluous when they can just run around and laugh instead.
Luckily my girl’s birthday is in summer so we can have it outside and hire a kids jumping castle to make the party even more fun. What child doesn’t love a jumping castle?, most of adults like them too!!. Other than that, you can easily stand back and hang out with the other parents while the children do what they do best: play together and goof off without any guidelines.
Prepare the food beforehand
When you have already organised a few birthday parties for children already, you probably know very well that easy and simple does the trick in terms of food. Children love home made pizza, chicken nuggets, chips and lollies. Don’t forget the fruit platter and the pitchers of iced water & sugar free cordial also.
Prepare a couple of large pizza bases the evening before, chop up the ingredients you’d like to put on the base, and pop it in the oven twenty minutes before it’s time to eat. The smell of freshly baked pizza will definitely lure the kids inside soon enough so you won’t have to wait too long.
Keeping things easy and learning to relax while your kid is playing is the trick to enjoying these birthday parties as a parent.
Maybe one of them may fall while playing and start crying, maybe one hits another and needs a talking to, and maybe it won’t be a picture-perfect and Instagram-worthy party when all the kids roam freely – but that’s how it’s supposed to be. Trust that they’re safe on your property, grab another piece of cake, and chill out with the other parents instead of worrying.
Don’t forget when it’s time for your guests to leave, to have the lolly bags clearly labelled and ready to go to their new homes.