How To Make Your Young Child’s Birthday Party Suck Less

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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!)
  7. 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.
By the way, you do not have to spend a lot of money or invite a ton of people. Just remember that you’re party is going to suck to some degree, and everything else should fall into place.
6 comments
  1. Stephanie Wetherell said:

    You are missing the most obvious component to making a child’s party suck less…ALCOHOL! I take a lot of pride in my parties, and they are always a success! But I always have them at the house, and I have a great activity for the kids to keep them busy (last year we got a huge inflatable slide, the year before that we had a bouncy house). And when it comes to the theme, I will buy one tablecloth, one pack of plates and one pack of napkins w the “theme” and then solid colors for the rest…and maybe a centerpiece and/or some hanging decoration. I love planning them, and I usually cook a ton of food, too!

    But I can totally see how kids parties can get out of hand and totally suck…we’re not trying a plan a wedding, after all.

    • Chris said:

      See, Stephanie – you know what’s going on! Having it at the house is a great idea; simple, easy, cheap, fun – that’s what it should be all about, especially when the kids are younger. Your daughter is old enough to appreciate parties now. My oldest, not so sure as of yet.

      As far as the alcohol, I’ll save it for MY birthday! ;)

  2. Chris said:

    Great point, Shelley – and thanks for the comment! When the kids are extremely young, I always wonder what they are getting out of the experience. The Birds-of-prey idea sounds pretty cool :) I, of course, would have to rent a live hawk and let it peck the crap out of something for my amusement, but that’s my twisted mind ;) lol

  3. Though it has been awhile since my child was young enough to want me to be involved in any birthday planning save buying the frozen pizza and renting the video for the sleepover, I whole-heartedly agree with you. My sister used to tell of birthday parties in her more upscale town where parents “upped the ante” every party until there were levels of ridiculous that caused her to become a birthday party “drop out” of sorts. It was back to cake and ice cream and maybe some balloons. That’s what I mostly did for my poor daughter anyway (although we did have a pretty cool owl-and-other-birds-of-prey themed b-day one year). Plastic mardi gras masks, glue guns, and a bunch of chicken feathers from the craft shop. Easy. And only a few blisters on the fingers from the glue. But these kids weren’t little. I think fourth grade. Preschool parties were definitely mostly family and mostly cake and ice cream and balloons. What else could a kid want, anyway . . .

  4. Yes, yes yes! I agree with you wholeheartedly. (Although I DO love a good theme party.) I wish all parents would read this before throwing an awkward party for their kids!

    • Chris said:

      Thank you! Themes are definitely cool (and I recommend them), although if the theme planning risks messing up the execution of the party, then I’d be worried. Thanks for the comment! :)

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