Parenting | Children’s birthday parties

cakeIn the past twenty years children’s parties have become very expensive placing parents under a lot of pressure. Some children have invitations every single week, with every child in the class invited to each party. If they are thirty children in the class this can add up as you will also have cousins, friends outside of school and of course your own family.

What can you do so you can allow your child enjoy the experience of receiving an invite without them hearing you complain, maybe under your breath, but they know.

  1. Get back to basics. When it is your own child’s party do what you can afford. Parents are raising the bar all the time when it comes to children’s parties. Children do not need a big and expensive party to have great fun. You can plan a party at home for children which can be great fun. Children want to play, to do activities, to run and shout and of course enjoy some treats. Planning activities such as a football match, baking time, arts and crafts, and magic clay is great, making jewels, sports day, disco etc. There is so much you can do that children will really enjoy. Parents engaging with children at the party really support children to have good fun. Young children need support to play and play well.
  2. In some schools parents have come together to agree that when children are invited from school that each child gives €5 to the birthday child. This will mean that it is affordable for each child to attend. The birthday child has cash that they will really enjoy spending on something they really want, rather than getting unsuitable gifts or creating competition around who gives the best gift or the most expensive. This can add further pressure to parents when the invite comes in for that child’s party.
  3. Keep it small. Do you really have to invite every child at school. Does your child really play with every child in the class? Can you do something in the park or playground after school, a small but fun affair?
  4. What about when you don’t have the space to hold a party in your home. Many community halls are open to renting space at low cost to families for parties. Many families are using them also for first communion parties. Look around your community to see what you can avail of.
  5. Some crèches and playschools are happy for parents to bring in a cake and have a small tea party with the child and their friends as part of the crèche or playschool day. Children can be really happy with this; they just want everyone to know they have a special day. Young children do not expect presents in this setting. They will have presents from family and that will be more than they can usually cope with.
  6. Many cinemas have very good prices for the kids club. You can make up your own treat bags at home, I know cinemas do not like this but really what do they expect when they charge such high prices. When each child has the same they won’t mind.
  7. For older children it is all about numbers. Two to three friends for a sleepover can be good fun. Boys can enjoy sleepovers as much as girls. Have a day out with an older child with a couple of friends. A day out shopping or a trip bowling are good options for older children.
  8. Watch online for deals and offers. You never know what you will find.
  9. Start off small when children are young so you have room to move as they get older. If you give them it all in the first couple of years, you will have set a very high standard, one you may not be able to maintain, especially if they are joined by some siblings along the way.
  10. Make it special in your own way. Talk with your child and plan it together. Don’t worry so much about what others are doing. Many parents go into debt for parties. Can you really enjoy your child’s special day if you put so much pressure on yourself?

This week’s ’10 Ways ’ parenting tips  is written by Geraldine Kelly, One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services.

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