Updated: May 18, 2019
When you plan your little girl’s birthday party, you, no doubt, get into the organization like a pro. You put together a checklist (by the way, the one at https://www.cozi.com/blog/complete-kids-birthday-party-checklist/ is a great starting point) and you then prioritize and check off your list as you complete each task.
A key objective you no doubt have, is to make the party memorable. Little girls aged 3 – 7 will remember this for their entire lives – the good things and the bad things.
While the logistics are fundamental, the five aspects that are most important in planning are:
· Getting the right theme – this is a must, a party without a theme is not memorable at all!
· Getting the right number of children – less than six does not allow that “great party” feeling and more than 12 requires significant adult supervision and loses the intimacy that works best
· Getting the right timing – less than an hour does not allow the party to “get going” and more than three hours allows tiredness to creep in with resultant tears and crabbiness
· Getting the right food – parents today want to provide fresh, healthy food which often children just do not want at a party. Compromise and go for flavor albeit with healthy ingredients but remember this is a party not every day.
Having said all this, there is one aspect that we rarely see at parties and does not figure in the standard checklists. This is the magic ingredient.
Between the ages of 3 and 7, children develop most of the basic skills which will set them up for their later lives. These comprise educational skills – letters, numbers and also emotional skills – confidence, generosity, competitiveness, empathy etc.
And a birthday party will become memorable if the theme can reflect one or more of these. If your little girl when she reaches eighteen says “Mom, do you remember that birthday party where we had a game about making friends with everyone? It was so memorable” you will have scored a home run.
So how do you do this? All parties have a series of games which provide the action part of the party before the food, cake etc. Why not build these games such that important messages and skills are taught? We had a party once with a person doing face painting. But this took some time for each child and each child wanted to go first. We had the children draw straws to decide who would go first and then had them line up and wait patiently for their turn. We gave them some other things to do while waiting but basically it taught patience, taking turns and the fairness of a mechanism for taking turns. It also prevented a free-for-all and tantrums.
We also had our birthday girl, wait until the end, reinforcing her skills for generosity and courteousness.
What do you think? What are some of the activities you have used or can think of that provide fun at the party but also teach the skills they will need later in life? Let me know!