Having your child’s birthday party doesn’t need to be stressful (part 1)

Another longer post, but bear with me and I hope you find it useful.

Panic! Another year has gone by and your child wants a birthday party….again. If you are like us, we’ve had a party for our kids every year. At first it was more of a get together of our friends because our boys were too young to even know what was happening. Then it became our friends that had children, but now our kids are old enough to have their own friends and we have to plan the event….Panic!

We have 2 kids, and we have learned through the years and parties, by trial and error, how to do it pretty well. Not to mention that owning a gymnastics and fitness program that offers gymnastics birthday parties in Madison lets us have a little more experience than the average parent.  We are pretty fortunate that Gymfinity has been a great option for us and our kids, and could be for your children’s birthday party too. But this post is not about selling our program (though we are the Best Birthday Party in Madison, all tounge in cheek subjectivity intended).

Birthdays and party planning have evolved. Back in the 1950’s mothers would get flour and sugar and make a cake and the party was held at home. In the 1970’s moms bought a box mix and the party was still held at home. In the 1990’s parties moved to destinations, zoos, pools, and parks and such became frequent choices for mom to take the birthday party to. Nowadays, moms are looking for an experience for the birthday party. That is part of why a party at a place like Gymfinity is so popular. This is the current trend and of course I am grateful, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go it alone. Whether you choose to handle it at home, or have a gymnastics birthday party; I will try to help.

I have learned that having your child’s birthday party seems complicated but is actually pretty easy. If you are the type of parent who would use a service, like Gymfinity, then your stress level drops infinitesimally. But if, like my mom, you do it all yourself, then you might need a little guidance.  Planning a party is all about the details and keeping in mind that kids just want to have fun. Unfortunately, much of the planning is often based around the adults attending, or trying to please the parents of the children at the party. This is a lot of unnecessary stress. Stay focused on the kids.

Let’s start from the beginning. Whether using a service or flying solo, start planning at least a month in advance. You won’t believe how many people call us on Friday for a Saturday Party. You should really give your guests a little heads up to plan for the date or buy a gift online if they would like to, (though I usually stop at Target on the way to a party that my sons are going to. Shh, don’t tell). You will also need time to get your decorations, order a cake and recruit friends to help on the day of the event.

Pick your theme, if you want one. You should have a theme; it will help unify the party and can help in planning activities. Sometimes it’s as easy as just incorporating a few of your child’s favorite things: Princesses, fairy tales, or in my family’s case, legos and dragons. Use your theme to plan decorations, games, cake decorations, and even the invitations. Putting your theme into the invite allows guests to go for a gift that will fit the theme. I have also seen parties that ask for toys to donate, books to share, or coats to donate in the winter. I love these themes and they incorporate a good lesson for a child that parallels the celebration.

 Detail reminder: Kids will remember the fun they had more than the spotless house you have. They will remember the games over the color of plates and paper goods, if themes are sweatin’ you it’s ok to go generic.

 Next time, When to party, who to invite, activities and the dilemma of the goodie bag.  

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