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Should You Host a Private Party for Your Kids' Birthday?

Planning a birthday party for your kid can be joyous, but it can also be pretty fraught. There are a lot of considerations that go into planning a party to celebrate your little one—especially when they’re not so little anymore. The older kids get, the clearer they tend to be about how they want things to go. Of course, we want our children to grow up to have strong opinions. It’s just that those opinions can, at times, lead us to lose sight of the most important elements of a birthday party. Your child might have their heart set on a Spiderman-themed party, but that doesn’t help you choose who to invite and what the actual celebration should include.

One question that often arises is whether to host a private birthday party with a limited guest list or invite the whole class, the extended family, and more. This decision may be the most important one you make—it determines your budget, your venue, and every other detail going forwards. With that in mind, let’s explore a few questions you should ask yourself as you make this key decision.

Does your child prefer large or small group settings?

This is, after all, your child’s special day and it should be designed with them in mind. You know your kid better than anyone—are they a big crowd kind of person? Or do they prefer smaller, more intimate settings? They may feel pressure to invite everyone in their grade to their birthday party, but is this really the setting that will bring the most joy? Depending on your kid’s age, try to have an open conversation about this. Otherwise, you’ll have to make the call. If they thrive in huge groups, great! Set up a picnic table at the park and invite all the cousins, aunties, and everyone in their grade or class. If you think, however, this will feel overwhelming to your kid, this might be a ‘less is more’ situation. In that case, you might consider renting a venue and hosting a private party for a more select group of attendees.

What is the classroom culture at their school?

Different frameworks have different norms and it’s worth checking the classroom culture at your kid’s school. There might be a rule stating all kids must be invited to all birthday parties. If that’s the case, but you still want to make sure to honor your kid’s wish for a specialized birthday, you might consider hosting two celebrations. You could host a no-frills one at a local playground, with cupcakes and simple streamers, and a private party another day. To be clear, a private party doesn’t have to be tiny—venues often host large and small private parties. Having a selective guest list just lets you know exactly who will be there and prepare accordingly. Plus, it allows you to do more involved projects with your child’s guests. Investing in art materials for 50 kids to make a complex project is less involved than buying the same materials for a group half the size.

How does your child envision their birthday?

At the end of the day, this party is about celebrating your child getting older, growing into an even more wonderful and fully realized version of who they are. Talk to your child about what they’d like to see. A rainbow birthday cake? A huge mural, painted by all their friends? A meet n’ greet with their favorite football player? Obviously, some of these things are more feasible than others. Still, it’s a valuable conversation, one that can clue you into what’s most important to them. Maybe it’s a matter of balloons, cups, and decorations in their favorite colors. Maybe they want an art themed birthday party and don’t care how many guests are there. Maybe all they want is a special day with their grandparents and best friends. The only way to know is to ask and listen with an open heart.

Questions, comments, want help creating a great party for your kids? Be in touch!, or


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