You will, undoubtedly, decide to have a birthday party for your young child. This is a given, and it’s more of a parent’s right of passage than anything else. Of course, you will decide to invite everyone under the Sun, and it’s going to be the BEST. DAMN. PARTY. EVER!
I’m here to tell you that, however hard you try as a parent, the party that you prepare for your young child is going to suck.
Now, I’m not saying this because I believe that I know everything about birthday parties for young children. I don’t. In fact, I will lump our birthday parties with the rest of them. I do, however, have enough experience to formulate an opinion, which I’m sharing with those parents that don’t care to admit that, deep down in their heart-of-hearts, they agree with me completely.
Knowing that your party is going to suck in advance takes the pressure off of going ‘all out’ in attempting to make your child’s party ‘not suck’. You won’t have to worry about setting any expectations; there aren’t any to set. However, the object of the game is to make your child’s birthday party suck less than the standard level of ‘suck’. Here are a few helpful hints on how to make your young child’s party suck less:
- Understand that your child’s party will definitely suck, but that your aim is to make it suck less than the standard level of ‘suck’. If you go into the party planning thinking that your child’s party isn’t going to suck, you’re wrong. Therefore, give into the fact that your child’s party is going to suck, and then you’ll have ways to make it suck less.
- Do not, under any circumstances, schedule a party during ‘nap time’. Why the hell would you want to do that to yourself or to any other parents with young children? That would be the equivalent of scheduling a wedding at 2AM. Don’t do it.
- If you have a party at a museum, make sure that you have it at one of those museums where your young child can interact with the exhibits. My wife and I recently attended a party with our son at a fire department museum. All of the kids wanted to sit on the fire trucks, but they couldn’t. Instead, we spent most of the party saying ‘Don’t touch that!’ I would be interested in learning more about the thought process behind scheduling THAT one.
- Having your young child watch another young child open gifts is torture, both for the young children watching, and for the parents. The young kids that are watching couldn’t care less about what toys they won’t get to have, so schedule an activity during that time, and open the gifts at home.
- Keep the length of the party shorter for young children. They don’t have much of an attention span, and most parents with young children don’t have the energy to hang around forever.
- Never let a great theme get in the way of proper execution. You are better off keeping the kids busy with simple stuff than going all out on the theme of a party; the younger kids won’t remember the theme, but they’ll nap their ass off if they’ve had a great time (win-win!)
- Always have a backup plan, especially if you are having an outdoor party. The backup plan should be as good, if not better, than the original plan.