Monday, August 6

3 Tips for a Great Kids Birthday

I love birthdays. Always have, always will. It's a good thing since we're getting to have a quite a few birthdays around here. In fact we just finished prepping for another one, so I thought this would be the perfect time to share how we do birthdays at More Like Home!

Over the last few years I've found there are really three keys to  making an amazing birthday that we all enjoy but all of it really boils down to this - it's completely un-pinterest-worthy. Because we don't do the pinterest big three: 1. elaborate decorations 2. themed party favors 3. a big party *gasp*  But we do our very best to make it a super special day for the birthday boy. And we do have lots of fun, lots of memories, and very few regrets. So here are the More Like Home top three birthday planning tips:

Put Him in Charge
It's his day, so put him in charge! This is birthday rule #1 at our house. For everything from decorations to dinner, he loves getting to make big decisions for his big day. Here are a few of our favorite ideas:
  • Breakfast - usually donuts (it's the only time we get donuts so it's a big treat!), but sometimes he'll opt for something homemade. Whatever it is, put a candle in it and sing happy birthday!
  • Decorations - We take him to Dollar Tree a day or two before the big day and give him $10 to pick out any decorations he wants - party plates, streamers, bouncy balloons, glow sticks, it's up to him. Last year our fall birthday boy picked out big felt placemats to hang on the wall. And he loved them! We also spend a few dollars on mylar balloons (you can't beat the Dollar Tree balloon price!). We make any other decorations he comes up with. Our last birthday boy went full Star Wars, and drew up all his favorite characters to tape on the wall. 
  • Pinata - This is a fun tradition that started a couple years ago when one of the boys asked for a pinata. We made one with paper mache, and now we've made one for every birthday since! We've made dinosaurs, ninjas, and even a death star. And it's basically free! We try to start this one a week or two before the birthday so it has plenty of time to dry.
  • Lunch + Dinner - I make whatever he wants for lunch (including the fruit and vegetable he picks to have with lunch. I am what I am.). For dinner I'll either let him choose the menu again, or sometimes we'll go out to a restaurant. But for any meal at home, we stick a candle in it and sing happy birthday again!
  • Activities - we always try do something extra fun for his birthday, which has usually been either dinner at Chuck E. Cheese or Duckpin Bowling after dinner. Invite a friend if you want!
  • Dessert - they've chosen anything from a dinosaur shaped cake, to a volcano cake with lava frosting, to cherry cobbler. Our next birthday boy wants a Frozen cake like he saw at the grocery store so he can give the figurines on top to his cousins. I could cry from the sweetness. P.S. candles + happy birthday. Always.

The felt placemats M2 had to have from Dollar Tree.
Keep it Simple
The most important thing is doing our best to make him feel amazing that day. To let him know that he is important, he is loved, and this day is all about him. And letting him make the decisions goes a long way toward that goal. I know that sounds like a long list of things to do up there, but it's really as simple as we let it be. If you think about it, it's really just a few decorations (including their own special handmade contributions), his favorite foods, a fun activity, and a few presents. Plus lots of "happy birthday" songs and birthday candles in everything we eat (who only wants to blow them out once??). A packed schedule or a packed budget can create a whole heap of birthday stress. But less stress = a better birthday for everyone. And our boys still love their birthdays even without the fuss. They don't need a unicorn cake or pony rides or a clown to know that they are important and loved. If those things are you jam? Go for it. But if they're not? Don't sweat it. 

Working on his new birthday lego set. With a little help from his brother. They even decorated their lego table!

Keep it Affordable
For your sanity and the sake of your families finances, it's okay to really think about how much you want to spend on a birthday and stick to that budget. And it's okay if it's not a lot. Seriously. No sweat guys. Most of our birthday budget is their presents, plus an activity and/or a meal out. We don't have to budget for parties, and we barely budget for decorations (remember $10 at Dollar Tree?). And it even comes with a big bonus - our kids are learning to be more creative all the time. They start planning their birthday months in advance with all the things they want to make for it.

Bonus Tip:  Teach them to Give
We like to take the other boys out shopping for the birthday boy a few days ahead of time. It so fun to watch them choose a gift their brother will love, and sweet to see how excited they are when he opens their specially chosen present. They get to see first hand that giving is fun, too! We give them a small budget (usually $5-10) and either hit the lego aisle or head to 5Below (this is especially great for the littlest guys who don't understand prices because they can pick anything in the store!). M1 has started thinking about handmade gifts this year so we'll see what he comes up with!

Do-nuts make him go-nuts!

What's your #1 birthday tip?

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