Just when you think you know everything you need to know about parenting, it hits. You’re heading into the Birthday Battlefield.
What? Birthday parties are a problem? Yes, my friend they certainly can be. They can be a small world of pain for the unseasoned but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be cruising. Here’s 4 kids birthday parties you need to know about.
3. THE PRE-SCHOOLER BIRTHDAY
Things start to get interesting now. Presumably the child has been attending some sort of childcare, early learning centre or kindy and so now have their own little network of brats. At this stage any invitations involve the parents too because this is not yet a drop and go situation. Often the parents don’t know each other and don’t feel comfortable to leave their child under the supervision of others. These parties are usually between 1.5 – 3 hours long and typically occur on either side of lunch [this helps keep the catering bill down].
Tip for guest: If you are unsure, err on the side of caution and avoid giving controversial gifts such as toy guns or Bratz dolls.
Tip for host: Ask the parents to inform you of any food allergies their child may have so that, if possible, you can cater accordingly.
4. THE PRIMARY SCHOOL BIRTHDAY
This is when shit starts to get real. Kids have worked out their little cliques and besties and they have opinions on who should and shouldn’t come along to their partay. Things can go a few ways here. There’s the all-in, invite the WHOLE class kind of party. The few special friends kind of party and the girls/boys only kind of party. Once your kids hit primary school it feels like there is a birthday every weekend. This is expensive. Veteran parents of party-goers will often have a ‘gift cupboard/drawer’ which they keep stocked with age appropriate gifts that have been purchased on sale during the year. By general consensus the value of a primary school birthday gift is in the vicinity of $20 [so if you can pick it up for $10 you’re winning!]. By this age, parents are happy to leave their kids so, unless the parents are friends this is typically a drop and go scenario. Often these parties involve an external activity and may be held at the local swimming centre, bowling alley, YMCA, ice/roller skating rink or McDonalds.
Tip for guest: Unless stated otherwise, ONLY the child invited will be expected to attend these parties. This is not an opportunity for you to offload all your kids while you go shopping.
Tip for host: Often schools have policies which restrict birthday invitations from being handed out at school [to avoid children feeling left out] so make sure you check first.