Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Perfect Gift

Motherhood is busy and stressful - it's also fun, but I try to simplify where I can.  My 3 kids are at prime birthday party age.  They will turn 3, 5, and 7 this year and they will help 30 or 40 of their friends do the same.  They will need an age appropriate gift to take to each party.  I do anything I can to avoid the party day rush to the store.  My kids often like to take some part in selecting the gifts they give their friends, but I have found that it is easier to let them pick from choices in my house rather than at the store.

The key to the perfect gift is to stock up when you can and be prepared.  I am always on the lookout for great gifts that I can keep on hand.  Today I found some great games on sale at the bookstore.  I got one for a boy, one girl, and one neutral.  Books, games, and puzzles make great gifts and, in my experience, they last longer than a plastic toy from Target.  Stress about the logistics of getting everyone to the party, but don't stress abou the gift!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Keep it Moving

I took all 3 of my kids (ages 2, 4, and 6) to a 3rd birthday party on Saturday morning. It was from 10 -12 am at the home of the birthday girl, and, I must say, it was perfect organized chaos. The key to a successful party for a child is to keep things moving. I define successful as a party in which there is no blood, very few tears, and the guest of honor has fun.

It really isn't possible to have one activity that will hold the attention of a room full of kids ranging in ages from 2 to 6. A great at home party should have a variety of activities each lasting about 15- 25 minutes. This party had a craft project to get things started, entertainment from a great singer, songwriter, storyteller, and, of course, good food and cake for all. The older siblings played in the playroom and also had a great time.

I was even able to visit with a few of the other parents and my husband stayed at home and worked on his honey-do list. All in all, a party for a 3 year old can be a great way to start a Saturday if executed correctly!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Birthday Parties - RSVP

When Mason was about 4 1/2, we received an invitation to a birthday party. It was for a little girl who had been in his class the previous year, and he had lots of fun with her. I replied to the party that we would be there. I didn't consult Mason on this decision because I made all of the social decisions and arrangements for him up to that point. On the day of the party, he told me that he wasn't going. I won't go into all of the details, but on that day, I realized that he was going to have a say in what he did going forward.

I have lots to say about kids' birthdays, and I won't put it all into one latte. I will say this, it is no fun to take a child to a party that he or she does not want to attend. Having hosted quite a few parties in the last several years, I will also tell you that, while the birthday child would love for you to attend, it's ok to say no to an invitation. You don't even have to give a reason, just "Sorry, we can't make it." Go to the parties that you think your kids will really enjoy, but don't feel obligated to say yes to all of them. Between my three kids, they were invited to more than 20 parties last winter alone. The good news for me this year is that most of Mason's parties will be drop off, and I have no qualms about dropping-off after we hosted a drop-off for 20 kids this summer.

There it is, by request, my latte on birthday parties, it is ok to say no and just go to the ones that really excite your kids. I wonder if I could convince any of my kids to have a party at Starbucks next year?