16 years ago, my five-year-old son sobbed into my arms because he wanted to go to the birthday party only his sister was invited to. “I’m sorry,” I told him, “I know you want to go, but you weren’t invited.” Back then, an uninvited sibling at a birthday party was a rare sighting. Fast forward to my seven-year-old’s party this past Spring. Siblings are so prevalent at birthday parties nowadays that I didn’t even know some of the children in attendance.
I have always opted for kids’ birthday parties at a trampoline park or wall climbing gym versus doing anything at home, but when my eight-year-old son Alex asked me for an Amazing Race (inspired by the TV show) birthday, I could not refuse his clever request. I’m no Martha Stewart or Pinterest craft junkie, so I had to keep it simple. I created Alex’s Amazing Race logo and paper for detours, road blocks, and route information using canva.com, the design Web app, but used plain envelopes. The only other decorations were printouts of flags for the destination countries and an awesome country flag pennant that I had already purchased from Amazon.
Looking to turn your home into celebration central? “When you open up your home, you’ll develop a deeper bond with your guests. When they’re invited into your space, they get to know you better,” says Aviva Samuels, owner of Kiss the Planner, a wedding and party-planning service. Another home party perk: You can be as creative as you want. If you want to transform your backyard into a circus, there’s no one saying: ‘Sorry. We don’t allow actual circuses.’ You can attach birthday decorations to the walls, the ceiling, and set up whenever you want. “In your home, you make your own rules,” says Samuels. Your child may be more comfortable there, too.
Every kid loves a birthday party, right? Nope! For a shy or introverted child, big noisy parties are often events to be dreaded instead of celebrated. So how can parents mark these important milestones in their child’s life in a way that makes everyone happy? First of all, you know your child best. Careful listening and discussion will reveal what your birthday child needs and wants in a celebration.
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