What’s the Deal with Kids’ Birthday Parties?

Is there a manual regarding kids’ birthday parties? Is there a code of conduct written somewhere?

We were invited to a friend’s birthday party, a couple of weeks ago, and I think I have seen more than what my OCD can ever handle. 

The star of the show was a mother who was VAPING during the birthday! I don’t even know if she was aware of how wrong what she was doing is! 

Kids did NOT know how to interact with each other, with the presence of their mothers, because these women were more like monsters ready to attack if any other kid came closer to theirs! 

We had mothers ask if they could leave and come back to pick up their kids.

It was chaotic! Mainly because of the grownups! Kids probably had fun, but I left with a horrible headache and tons of unanswered questions! 

We have been involved with our homeschooling community for the last 3 years, and we have been very accustomed to our kind of gatherings, parties and meet-ups. They are quite simple, with a mixture of ages and genders (which you will almost never see, in normal gatherings if you exclude siblings of course!). What struck me the most, after being to a non-homeschooler’s party, is how ours were so organized even in the midst of chaos. Kids naturally get together, and do their own thing. The older kids guide the younger ones, they plan activities for them, they supervise them, and simply have fun all together. Which I absolutely missed during non-homeschoolers birthday! 

So all the above lead me to decide that writing this post is crucial. This is purely for the sake of my sanity for future birthday parties. Besides,  I would love to hear your perspective! 

  1. Siblings and birthdays? How do we do that? When you invite a child, are you bound to invite his whole family (if you re not friends with them of course)?
  2.   What’s the best time slot to plan a birthday during the day? Morning? Noon? Afternoon? I guess my ideal would be 3-5pm. Kids can play cut the cake, then eat dinner. Or 11am-1pm, play, lunch, then cake? Which brings me to another dilemma:
  3.  Food first? Or cake first? I know the most logical answer is food first then cake, but in a slot of 3-5pm for example, what meal is served in that duration? Lunch? A very early dinner? A snack?  And should there be food to start with? Or cake is enough? Man this is more complicated than I thought!
  4. How acceptable it is to “dump” your child at the birthday party and go have some “me-time”? Is the host supposed to keep an eye on your child, while taking care of another 100 things in her own kid’s birthday party?? Feed them, take them to the bathroom? And wipe their butts if needed? Keep in mind we are talking about younger kids here! PS: if you are invited to one of my parties, please refrain from doing the above, because if you want some alone time, feel free to hire a babysitter, and I will happily send you some recommendations. 
  5. Party favors: PLEEEEASE tell me I am not the only one who absolutely HATES these ugly, unnecessary, and absolutely useless junk! What are they for? Just to add up to the pile of crap I have already accumulated from MacDonald’s? PLEASE STOP GIVING THESE BAGS for the love of God!
  6. Can we talk about gifts now? Last year I had requested all the guests and friends, to kindly skip the gift (We didn’t need more junk), and just put a 5BD bill in an envelope, because Adam had something in mind that he wanted to purchase, and it was a bit expensive. So we thought if every family contributed with a 5BD bill we would definitely have enough, and he would feel very proud, going himself to the store and buying what he had been eyeing for months. We had 25 families who were able to make it to the birthday, and out of 25 we had 2 families who did as requested! Even Adam couldn’t understand how was that even possible! 

When invited to a birthday, I usually ask the parent what do their kids need or have in mind before buying any gift. I also try as much as possible to get them experiences other than more toys and more useless stuff. How about you? What do you do? What do you buy? 

One of the best birthday parties we have ever attended, was one where the mother- a dear friend- contacted us the same day, and asked if we were free to go for a picnic, completely omitting the birthday part. We said yes of course, who doesn’t love picnics! So us and a bunch of friends, met at Bahrain fort, she had brought a blanket, a homemade yummy cake and some plates and forks. Obviously we didn’t know that it was a birthday, so we had brought nothing with us. Adam found a beautiful rock and gave it to him and the little boy was over the moon with his “friendship rock” as he called it! How amazing is that! 

Birthdays are a fun way to celebrate our kids’ very special days, shouldn’t they be more fun, and child-centered? How about a picnic in the park where kids can play and have a blast? How about simple gifts, no giveaways, and a bit less food waste? I am certain even mothers will have so much fun, especially when they don’t have to drive on a Thursday evening, get stuck in traffic, spend a little fortune on a crappy toy, that will definitely end up in a basket collecting dust. They will also have so much fun when they don’t have to spend hours planning for those much dreaded 2 hours the birthday will last for, and pretty often cost no less than a 100 BD! 

Can we please simplify these poor kids’ life? Can we please focus on what really matters here?

Please share some of your thoughts, rules, or just things that bother you about birthday parties? 


2 thoughts on “What’s the Deal with Kids’ Birthday Parties?

  1. Anita says:

    I liked your idea of cash gift.But feel should not specify the amount.It should be left on the mother.But in spite of telling if they get toys…Then…..better would be mention that in the invite.But again what to do if they get toy.Neither we will like to tell to take back nor the B day child would be willing..


    • Yeah.. in the invite we didn’t specify an amount , we just said NO TOYS, but when friends asked what to get I did tell them to get 5 BD to make it easier. Yet we still got tons of toys 🙈


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