Kate’s Corner: The Birthday Bash
Posted March 1, 2010on:
Children’s birthday parties seem to have taken on a life of their own.
I have the unique perspective of watching birthday parties evolve over the years through working at EduKids Early Childhood Education Centers. I have young grandchildren and I have friends who work with party planning and events. I am amazed at young children’s birthday parties.
When my own children were young, birthday parties were family and friend events held at our home with snacks and cake and ice cream. On your birthday you picked out your snacks and cake and invited as many friends as how old you were. Families were invited but not required to attend a young child’s party. Invited guests’ parents were asked to drop off and pick up their child – close friends were invited but not required to stay with their child. All children and adults were fine with this.
Birthday parties were held in the afternoon on a weekend, preferably outside with simple organized games as children got older. Invitations and thank you cards were decorated, “signed” and sent. There was a rhythm to the day with the party being held typically for 2 or 3 hours. Sleep-over birthday parties were for teenagers.
The birthday boy or girl’s presents were nice toys or games, special books or music, a favorite sports item or a special invitation to attend a movie, fair, etc. with another family. Party favors for the guests were a small item typically associated with the party theme (i.e. Peter had a Buffalo Bills party and favors were a box of football sports cards for each guest).
These parties were enjoyed by children, relatively inexpensive, and manageable.
Parties have changed. Birthday events seem to have moved into a whole different expectation.
Think over the birthday parties your children have been invited to or have been a part of. Have you hosted a birthday party for one of your young children? What do you think?
I know that everything changes and grows with the different ways that neighborhoods and culture changes and grows. This is as it should be. Birthday parties for me were different than the parties for my children and now there is change in the parties for my grandchildren and the little ones at the Centers.
This is fine – as long as children and families remain the focus for the celebration of the joy your child brings each year. Your children are very little for a very short time. If the birthday party overwhelms the birthday boy and his family, step back and celebrate your child – not the event.
And remember to teach all children: Happy Birthday to you. You belong in the zoo. With the lions and the tigers, and the monkeys like you! Happy Birthday!
-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director