A Realistic Take on Kids’ Birthday Parties


As Lucan’s second birthday gets closer and closer, I have to continually remember to dial down my expectation level for how fancy his party will be. It’s good for me to keep in mind that:



1.) Lucan won’t remember this party

2.) Lucan doesn’t care what the theme of the party is, who attends, or what food is served 3.) No one cares how fancy the cake is

4.) It is also helpful for me to remember that we are on a budget and don’t have a reality television show or a magazine footing part of the expenses. Keep it low-key Kara. Dial back the crazy.

What are my practical tips for keeping a child’s birthday party manageable?

  1. Stay away from Pinterest. Pinterest is great place for inspiration and ideas but it will also give you unrealistic expectations about what the “norm” is for a two year-old’s birthday party. Does a toddler need a balloon animal artist or a pony for pony rides? Probably not. A photo booth? Nope, still not necessary. Yes, these things will definitely add a “wow” factor but how important are those things when your child won’t remember it a month from now?
  2. Children’s birthday parties have become less about the birthday boy and more about the birthday boy’s mom. Remember it isn’t your special day, it’s your child’s!
  3. If you are doing a themed party, Etsy.com is a great place to buy decorations and invitations. Often times you can buy art files, have the etsy shop owner personalize them and then you can print them at home or at a copy shop.
  4. But something I like even better is doing a quick Google search for free printable art files. I use these for decorations and as templates for invitations. Not as easy, but cheap.
  5. No one needs a fully catered meal for a birthday party. Or if they do, you can direct them to the nearest McDonalds and tell them to go have their own party.
  6. It’s okay to skip elaborate, tiered, fondant birthday cakes. Yes, they are beautiful but they get eaten and then are gone the same way Hy-Vee cakes do.


Keep it simple and skip the Pony ride!
Keep it simple and skip the Pony ride!

Birthday parties are supposed to be fun and a celebration. It’s hard to remember that if you are in your kitchen quietly wiping away tears because your meringues fell and the kids destroyed your house with the pinata bat. The days are long, but the years are short. Celebrate another year of your child’s life!



Erin Huiatt

Erin is a reliable resource and stepping stone for women and families to find support and make connections within our community. She wants families to feel confident to reach out and ask for help and advice to get pointed in the right direction. She enjoys traveling and exploring with her two children in tow!

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