For a 1-yr old child's birthday party, it's typically a family-oriented event. However, at some later age, the child will want to have a 'kiddie party' with just their friends there. What age does this transition typically happen??
And in that case, how can the mom of the child have the extended family on a different day without having to have another whole party (maybe just have the extended family over for dinner on a separate day)? Is that what most people do? What are YOUR thoughts?
...my personal opinion is that i don't think it is necessary to have 2 celebrations..unless of course you can spare the $'s and time...and once you start with 2 then it could be hard to change it, especially when funds/time are limited....too many pressures are placed on parents to follow what others may be doing....
@SomewayOuttaHere, thanks so much for initiating the discussion!! You raise some valuable points here about being careful of setting a precedent, something I hadn't thought of. So all in all, what do you think the best solution is? When you say just 1 celebration, do you mean a combined family and kiddie party, or just a kiddie party??
hi again Giselle..i think family should be the priority...inviting a few of their friends over to join in when children are older is a good thing - if one celebration is the tradition. My memories of bday celebrations were that they were family affairs - one day; one bday celebration. I find some parents feel pressure to do something really different every year when they add kiddie parties to the mix - something bigger and better....i don't get it really.
I think this way (partially) about kiddie parties because i work around many families who do not have a lot of money and feel pressure to 'keep up with the joneses'...when they should just relax and acknowledge a birthday in some traditional way that makes sense for them and acknowledges the love for their children - as a family...family time...quality time...and celebrate the birth date. Primarily my thoughts around this are from good memories of bday celebrations as a kid.
I honestly believe kiddie birthday parties have gone over the top, and starting young (as many parents feel compelled to do), the growing child expects these party extravaganzas every year.
I've seen parents of 3 year olds spend hundreds of dollars on parties, inviting their entire preschool class. The child receives many presents from classmates and family members. I think it's too much, even if a family does have money to spare. It's giving the wrong message to the young child and other children who attend the parties.
Personally, I think kiddies parties are better when it's a handful of close friends and family.
Thanks for the responses, SomewayOuttaHere and rebekahELLE. I agree with most of the things you said and definitely like the idea of having a small, simple celebration. Yes, birthdays these days can be way over-the-top and consist of far too many guests for the child to really understand what is important (togetherness and fun, not the gifts). When I said 'kiddie party' I really just meant a small party with a few close friends and party games, etc.
So now I have a related question: Both of you were in favor of having a 'family & friends' party. I agree it makes a lot of sense for the preschool set, but wouldn't there eventually be a need for a simple 'kiddie party' in later years? Or not? What do people think? Because would an 8 or 9 yr old boy *really* want to have Grandma, Uncle Joe etc over all at the same time as his best buddies for a party?? I mean, maybe the theory sounds great to everyone, but in actuality he'll want to be running around and playing party games with his friends, right?? so how would that work out to include older extended-family members?? HELP! I'm genuinely confused and puzzled. If either of you, or anyone else, has any ideas on this angle, I'd love to hear from you!
I have an 11 year old and a 3 year old. For both of their 1st birthdays we only had close family. At age 2 we did have a little party with only about 4-5 guests, all children of friends of mine and who my children were used to playing with. However, it was really only a glorified 'playdate' - the kids just pottered about and played and there was party food. No games, as kids can't play party games well at such a young age. It didn't cost very much and was informal and relaxed. Family came as well, but not at the same time. They arrived later in the day. Again, not a big thing and 'family' only really consisted of two grandmas plus one auntie. I didn't have a kid's party because I felt pressurised to, more because I wanted to and because we had celebrated the other kid's b'days with them. You do not need to plan that much for a preschool child's b'day. And inviting too many guests can make them feel overwhelmed - remember it is about your child having a good time, not about impressing others.
With my older son, there came a time when he had his own ideas about how he wanted to celebrate his birthday, and I suppose that was when he was at school and had been to lots of other parties. He liked parties held at various venues - soft play centres at first, then laser tag and such. When he reached 10, however, he didn't want a party at all, he preferred to have a more expensive present. My son is quite sociable, with a lot of friends, but I know quieter children who have never wanted to have big parties, because they don't much like being the centre of attention.
To go back to the original question, I don't like mixing family parties with kid's parties. We have family over to see the children, but it low key. They come on the actual birthday. Kid's parties we usually have at the weekend as it is easier to plan around school etc. I don't like mixing the two really, and of course family don't tend to be into laser tag! My oldest son is 11 now and I have noticed that the last couple of years have resulted in far fewer parties, with children just going out for the day with a best friend or two. We are in England, however - from what I understand, parties tend to be more lavish in the US.
I also know that if my son had a party at which family and friends were both present, he would very likely ignore family in favour of his friends as he would be excited to be with them. And boys of 8 or 9 do not act the same way around family as they do with friends!
Polly C, thanks for taking the time to add your valuable insights. Your experience as a mom has *really* helped me with this issue. I see from what you are saying that the ages where the child wants a kids-only party tends to be around the start of elementary school. I'm glad you confirmed my feeling that an older boy would not want to mix family with his school-friends in a party. And no, I don't feel *pressured* to do a 'kids party' right now but I genuinely *want* to do it for when my son is old enough to want a kids-only style of party - however from what everyone is saying, that doesn't have to be right now as he is only a preschooler. Polly C, I also really liked your pre-school years party idea of having kiddie guests early on, then have family arrive later.
As an aside, you raised an interesting point about US vs UK differences in party styles, but I think the US itself varies greatly depending on where/how you live, etc. I have heard of lavish parties being given for very young children.... but this is not the case for the neighborhood areas where I live. Mostly it would be home-made or store-bought snack foods (or hot dogs burgers etc if for a lunchtime celebration), and some kids party games or outdoor games and birthday cake... just good old-fashioned fun.
Anyhow, I was thrilled to get such a good and complete answer that covered so many of my concerns... thanks for contributing to this forum! If you think of anything else please add it in at any time!
What a timely topic for me.. My son is getting ready to turn 6 and I am in the midst of planning a party for him. I guess I started inviting children to his party when he began making friends at preschool. As soon as he hit school he was attending other kids parties too. I am divorced so birthdays are stressful more so for me... I always have a party NOT on his actual birthday. I usually try to do something special with him on or around his birthday. it could be a breakfast out or a picnic.. something with just he and I.
Don't feel pressured though to have a friends party. My son actually asked me last year to have friends over, which surprised me....
Thanks, Ms Chievous. Your experiences are definitely helping me. So from what you and Polly C are saying, it seems that once the child starts making friends (whether it's preschool or school age) then they are more likely to want parties with their friends there. It's great that your son knew what he wanted for his birthday celebration.... good luck with all the planning!
Personally, I actually *like* the idea of a casual 'friends party' for just the kids, but am starting to realize from what everyone is saying that my child is probably too young to have a separate kid's party just yet (he is only turning 3 now & is 'young' for his age, and doesn't have many friends yet anyway).
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