Guest Blogger Jenny Franklin knows that when our finances fluctuate we may not be able to throw the birthday party our child wants and suggests that a joint birthday party with a friend can be the answer – and gives us tips on how to make it work for both children.
Meeting your child’s expectations for their birthday party is a noble goal, but one that may seem out of reach for many parents. Between the cost of the perfect venue, food, and entertainment, and the amount of work involved in planning or hosting a kid’s party, it can seem inevitable that your child will be disappointed.
Combining the celebrations for two children whose birthdays are close together can bring a whole world of possibilities into reach. It allows two families to shoulder the costs and the work required for an awesome kids’ party. However, a joint birthday party does have its pitfalls, and not every child is going to be okay with sharing the spotlight on their special day. Here are some tips to make a joint party go more smoothly.
When your children are young, it is traditional to invite all members of their class to the birthday party, meaning that combining parties for kids in two different grades can make your guest list explode. At later ages it is important to discuss with both children who they would like to invite, ensuring there won’t be any conflicts, no one will feel left out, and you will be able to manage the size of the party.
Making sure that neither child feels like they were forgotten, then just stuck onto someone else’s birthday party is very important. One way to do that is to schedule the party for a day that isn’t either child’s actual birthday. This may be a little tricky, but it’s much better to have the party on an unrelated day than to suffer through tantrums and fights because one child feels less important than another.
Having the party at either child’s home puts the burden squarely on the shoulders of that family, and although the other family may come early to set up, stay late to clean up, and help out during the actual party, the work and inconvenience will still be unevenly distributed. Selecting a venue that both children will enjoy and that is outside of the home, such as a bowling alley, park, or pizza place, will place both kids and parents on even footing.
When having a joint party it is wise not to open gifts at the event at all. This will ensure that there are no “why did he get that and I only got this” moments. Jealousy has never brought out the best in anyone, but with children it can be one of the ugliest and most destructive of feelings. It will also prevent differences in socioeconomic status from being made too obvious to the kids.
Having people sing Happy Birthday and blowing out the candles on their favorite cake is just about the bare minimum that American children expect on their birthdays. It may seem excessive, but providing each child with their own birthday cake, as well as the opportunity to make that ever-important birthday wish will save you a great deal of grief.
About the Author
Jenny Franklin is a mother, a party planner and a blogger. She often writes on the topics of children’s birthdays as a freelance writer for the girls’ birthday party supplies producer, Party Pail.