Kids grow up fast. One minute they’re lying on their backs, gurgling and pawing at the air while otherwise sane adults make goo-goo-gah-gah noises at them. The next, they have opinions on clothes and food, and how they would like their bedroom to be decorated. That’s a good thing, of course. It means they’re growing up. But it also means the task of getting their birthday right is made ever more difficult with each passing year.
Is 6 getting too old for plastic figurine toys that don’t do anything? Is 7 too young for a complicated games console? Is 8 getting to the stage where you stop inviting all the other kids from the classroom over to your house for a party? Where do you even begin with 9 year old girl gifts, and 9 year old boy gifts? The ages of 9 and 10 are perhaps not yet old enough for some things like vouchers to be exciting, but certainly too old for things like pull-cord teddy bears to be acceptable either. It’s hard to navigate. That’s why we’re going to look at how to plan your child’s birthday.
Ask your child what they really want – with options
If you don’t approach this conversation with two solid options in your back pocket, your child is likely to become overwhelmed by the world of choice and won’t know what to choose. So, here’s what you do. First, choose a group activity within budget. This could be a bowling party or some kind of gathering at your home, with cake and balloons. Next, choose something a bit further afield, like a trip to a theme park or zoo or aquarium, to which only the family is privy. This gives your child a choice between friends and party hats, or a day out with the family
With any luck, your child will choose the day out with family so that you don’t have to play host to a thousand screaming children, but in either case, you know you’ll have picked the right option because your child gave you the indication that this is what they’d prefer.
Make some time the day before their birthday
The day before your child’s birthday is always a struggle. You have to pick up a cake. You may need to make party bags. There are gifts to wrap. And, although writing a card doesn’t take long, it still takes a few moments, and those are likely going to be moments that your child just will not let you have to yourself.
Most of the time, we leave all of this until the evening, the night before the celebrations. But that’s when you discover that the birthday cake candle you bought in the shape of a 6 is actually a 9, and that the roll of wrapping paper isn’t long enough, and that you’re out of sticky tape anyway. This is where the help of a friend or grandparent who can watch your child for an hour can be useful.