Stay Home Dad's Simple Guide to Birthday Parties
Planning and hosting children's birthday parties can be a stressful responsibility. You must consider who to invite, what entertainment to provide, and where it will be held. Corralling a large group of kids can be stressful in itself! Here are some tips for stay home dads to planning age-appropriate birthday parties that will be fun and low stress!
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Age 1 -3: Children ages 1-3 do not need large parties. They won't remember the party and many typical party games are not appropriate for them yet. For these ages, consider small get-togethers of family members or maybe 1 or 2 playmates. It is not recommended to provide a clown or a lot of games since these can scare or confuse small children. Consider holding on to keepsakes from the parties (such as the “1” candle or photographs) so that your child can enjoy them when he or she is older.
Age 4: By the time your child is 4 years old, she will be ready for a full-fledged birthday party. Again, stay home dads do not have to plan an elaborate event for it to be fun. Invite a few of your child's closest friends and provide food and a few simple games such as pin the tail on the donkey or carrying hard boiled eggs on spoons. Children of this age will tire quickly, so have some of your child's favorite videos on hand to play when they are ready to rest. Provide pillows and blankets to those who are sleepy.
Age 5: 5 is a milestone year, so stay home dads should consider planning a few special things for this party. It is worth explaining to your soon-to-be 5-year-old that “big” parties like this one will only happen on milestone birthdays, such as 5, 10, or sweet 16. Your child's 5th birthday party can also be a celebration of her getting ready to start school. Invite several of her friends to this party and consider holding it at a venue such as McDonald's or Chuck-E-Cheese. Many of these places offer party packages, making your job of planning the event that much easier.
Age 5+: Older kids often like to celebrate birthdays with simple overnight parties, pool parties, or parties at roller skating or ice skating rinks. Older kids are usually less interested in group games (although ages 6-9 likely will be) and more interested in movies, junk food, and video games. At these ages, the pressure is off of you as a stay home dad to provide the entertainment. Snacks, movies, and a place to sleep will do the trick.
Sweet 16: When your child turns 16, she will let you know what kind of party she wants! If she lets you throw her a party at this age, consider yourself fortunate. Meet her wishes as much as you can, though stay within a reasonable budget. Allow her to invite a large group of friends, as 16-year-olds typically have active social lives.