Some people love throwing lavish parties for their kids. Like, it is their jam! I love the thought of it. But the actual carry through stresses me out big time. Last year I threw a party for both of our girls. We were surrounded by loved ones and an abundance of gifts were received. I was so thankful. I also wanted to puke from all of the presents that took over the room. We already had so many and now we had to find a home for the new ones too. Aside from the presents, if you are like me, you feel compelled to make lots of food and have a super sweet theme to go along with the rest of the party. So, bring on the fun and expense of buying all the food and making it and putting all the party favors and/or games together for the kids. I might be wrong but I don't think the kids care if they have this party or not. It was more for my pleasure than theirs. They couldn't differentiate between a typical play date or their party if someone paid them. (and they are really smart kids) I decided that since we now have 4, yes 4, birthdays to celebrate within a month, we needed to take a minimalist approach to alleviate unwanted stress. Here are my top 5 tips for a stress free kids birthday party.
1. Invite less - We decided to do immediate family only. For some, this isn't an option. For us, we have no family in town. So, the decision was easy. No one had to travel or feel obligated to come. I can't say we will always just do immediate family but when we've got 4 of us celebrating so close together, we decided that alternating the one who get to have a big party is how we are going to roll. The kids didn't mind at all. In this day and age, we can take lots of pictures and easily share them on Facebook. Heck, we even used Face Time during the candle blow out so Grandma and Grandpa could see the girls.
2. Pick an easy cake to make - I let the girls choose the cake they wanted Mom to make from Pinterest. I will tell you, the cake does not have to be hard! My middle child chose the little lamb cake below and boy was it simple! Also, it was one of the cutest cakes I've made. The recipe for the cake is at the bottom if you want to serve a your next birthday party or Easter.
3. Buy less presents - We've all been there. You go overboard and buy a bajillion presents so the kids can go from one to the next for what seems like hours. The result is either they care more about the wrapping paper and boxes, or they get so many that they only play with the last one they opened. This year we decided to give them three presents each. Each present had to be something they could share or we could do as a family. We got our middle child a teepee and a few board games. These are toys that can create imaginative play and endless hours of entertainment. They aren't one and done toys. If you are wondering what to get your kid, think about what would create engagement and imaginative play... books, dress-up, blocks and games are good options!
4. Choose a simple meal - I was willing to make the kiddos whatever they wanted for their birthday meal. The reality is, when they are little, they don't really care. As they get older, there is more of an opinion here but when they are little, the best choice is to go with something you know their picky palette will eat. My little girl chose pizza. Uh, yeah! That is easy enough!
5. End the day with gratitude - Reflecting on the day is the most important part. At the end of the day I asked each girl what they were thankful for. I think it is always a good idea to get your kids to think about what they've been so fortunate to receive. Studies prove that the act of reflection and showing gratitude equate to higher levels of happiness.
What tips do you use to keep parties stress free?