When it’s your child’s birthday, you want them to know how loved they are. You want them to feel special.
But as a minimalist, you don’t want to go overboard or place the focus on stuff.
- How do you find the right balance?
- How do you avoid the onslaught of gifts and excess that often comes with a celebration?
There are many ways to celebrate and make your child feel special on their birthday that doesn’t involve a huge party with over-the-top entertainment, decorations, “goodie” bags for guests, piles of gifts, or one-upping the previous party your child attended.
You can make your child feel special in simple ways and that can include your child getting to celebrate with their peers. Minimalism means more time for the things that count, like those celebrations.
Most of us, at some point, will allow our kids to have a party with some of their friends. Personally, we do “friend” parties on milestone birthdays-at ages 5, 10, and 15.
So you’ve decided it’s party time
Does this scenario sound familiar?
The party is scheduled and kids are invited. Your goal is to keep it simple, but then panic sets in as the party gets closer.
- What are you going to serve?
- How will you keep the kids occupied?
- How are you going to say “no gifts?”
- What are people going to think about not bringing a gift?
- What if they bring gifts anyway?
- Will you get rid of them soon after? And what will they think if you do?
- You have to give the kids something to take home. Don’t you?
You hop on Google looking for a simple menu, games, and answers to the questions swirling in your mind, and end up on Pinterest, overloaded with 1000 so-called “simple” ideas for the “perfect” kid’s party.
And the overwhelm begins!
Before you know it, you’re buying a store-bought cake, throwing together “goodie” bags full of plastic junk because it’s the “quickest” option, and inviting extra friends because someone was surely left out.
Spending excess money to boot, just to be done with it all. With a little planning and changes to your thought process, you can stop the downward spiral.
Stop the party-planning overwhelm by keeping these three simple guidelines in mind:
There is no “right” way to celebrate your child’s birthday
Let go of all the “shoulds,” “have-tos,” “but what about …,” and any lingering guilt. Decide what’s going to work for your family and your child, and then do it! We’ve decided what works for us, and that’s what we do.
There’s no rule that you have to bring birthday treats to school, have your child’s entire class to a party at the local “Fun Place” whatever it may be, or invite all of your family to your home, including third cousins twice-removed.
While all of those things are fun for some, if it’s causing you stress, recognize that none of it is required! There is no “right” way to celebrate. If you’re stressed out, then the birthday boy or girl will be stressed out. Then no one is having any birthday fun!
Put a group of kids in a room with a few boxes, and they will find a way to have a good time. It’s the adults that seem to have trouble overthinking and over-complicating things.
Remember a simpler time?
Cupcakes, a few friends in the backyard, and a silly homemade game or two-that’s all we needed for a celebration when we were young, and it’s still true today.
Unless you love it (which some people do, I get that!), skip the Pinterest party planning and go for classic, practical simplicity instead.
Thinking “classic” will save you time, stress, and money, and keep your child’s next birthday party super-simple.
Less is more when planning your child’s party
There are several things you need to consider when planning your child’s birthday party, and less is more in each one of these areas.
Invitations: Inviting can be as simple as a text or a phone call.
Fun-time: Plan a classic game or activity. One or two is plenty!
- Here are a few classic kid’s party games and activities to get you remembering:
- Pin the tail on the “you-name-it”
- Drop the clothespin into the jar
- Egg-on-a-Spoon Relay Race (Hard-boiled, of course), or any relay race!
- Treasure hunt
But don’t take too much time thinking about it. Give your child a few age-appropriate options, and let them choose.
Food/drinks: Don’t feel like you need to serve a meal! Kids are so busy having fun that they often don’t eat much at all. Having a cake and punch is plenty. If you want to provide anything else, keep it simple.
Quick tip: Think finger-food to keep party refreshments super-simple
- Cupcakes (Save a step; no need for cutting!)
- Popcorn (makes a quick snack and crumbs are easily vacuumed up!)
- Fresh fruit (strawberries, grapes, or apple slices)
- Cheese and crackers
- Pizza or sandwiches (if you decide to do lunch/dinner)
Gifts: Entirely up to you! Make your preference known, and be prepared to graciously accept gifts because some people will bring a gift anyway. If you want to give something for guests to take home, bubbles make an inexpensive, fun, and consumable, party-favor.
Two final kid’s birthday suggestions:
- Check in to see what your child’s birthday preferences are. Some kids prefer a special activity with a friend or two like bowling, going to the movies, or swimming, instead of a party.
- If your child’s birthday falls in a warmer season, consider having the party at the park. No need to plan games or activities; they will have a blast just playing on the equipment, and no mess left for you to clean up after!