Parenting Story: Birthdays and Choices

We love a good birthday party!  Who doesn’t? And we have been to a lot of really amazing parties – bounce houses, the zoo, gymnastics schools, museums – the list goes on. So, as a new parent, I began to wonder whether I should be doing something similar for my kids. Certainly, the kids thought so, as they kept asking whether they could have a party next year at such and such a venue. As I sat down and did the math – it just wasn’t going to work for us.  I could do the party, but then I wouldn’t be able to get much in the way of presents and vice versa.

Our solution to this was to essentially remove ourselves from the equation and let the kids decide.  I’ve got a budget for their birthdays and we give them a choice:

  1. No birthday party, all money goes towards presents and food.
  2. Small birthday party at home with a few friends, less presents (to buy the supplies for the birthday party plus gifts for the guests)
  3. Large birthday party at a venue (bounce house place or similar) and no presents.

I like it because it puts the kids in charge of how their birthday budget gets spent and takes the pressure off of me worrying whether I made the “right” decision about how they should celebrate.

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