Pregnancy & Parenting

Kids birthdays

Pregnancy & Parenting

Posted by: Speth

22nd Dec 2010 11:23am

I need to vent - why is that if you don't spend hundreds of dollars on your childrens birthday by throwing an over the top party, you are look on as being a terrible parent?

My son just turned 3 and had a few little friends over to play with bubbles and his new Slip'n'slide, with a home made rocket ship cake (proudly made by Mum). He had an absolute ball and so did the other kids, and it cost less than $100 for the food for the kids and few adult friends!

That is what we used to do when we were little and when things were much more simple. Why do people these days have to go WAY over the top, hire party entertainers etc and basically go into debt. What sort of values is that instilling in our children? You aren't sucessful until you can out-do everyone else? Not for my children I have to say!

Comments 35

  • 17th Mar 2012 12:55pm

next time take the kids to the local park where there is an outdoor bbq or bring a portable one go down to the local butcher get a tone of snags some onions, drinks bread maybe a cake or cake mix and make your own, buy a few bags of mixed lollies make up some old school lollie bags, stuff like that, bring some sporting equipment or event some games for them to play! You could also grab a tone of water baloons put them into 3 0r 4 teams and make it last person standing wins (just make sure they bring a appropriate change of clothes!) Kids today as far as I know still love the water ballons!

  • 16th Mar 2012 08:14pm

All I currently do for my childrens birthdays is we invite family and friends over for dinner, and ask everyone to bring a plate. Once my children start having good friends then they will be invited over as well. But I'm not going to spend lots of money on birthdays.

  • 12th Mar 2012 08:51pm

I too spent less than $100 on my sons birthday party.

I got some big toys like a slide, see-saw and roller coaster out from the toy library had lots of balloons, made a super cute cake and lots of nibbles even goodie bags for 8 children. I didn't bother with party games... who wants to try and wrangle 2 year olds.

My wee man had a fantastic time. He beamed with pride when everyone clapped because he blew out the candles.

Kids just love the little things (:

  • 5th Mar 2012 04:36pm

Nah you are not terrible parent at all.I totally agree with you. Why spend so much money for a thing the kid might not remember a thing? If children were the educate that way, what will they be when they grow up?

In other way, you are being green by not having too much rubbish created by having an extravagant party.


  • 5th Feb 2012 12:07am

Mine either! My daughter went to one of those parties today. But when it was her birthday (5) she just wanted her friends to come over and play and have a bbq with their families. Which is what we did and it was great. Coles bakery cake for under $10, no paid for entertainment, no party bags - just a few lollies and chips, a sausage in bread each. Totally blissed out kiddies.

  • 21st Feb 2012 03:52pm
Mine either! My daughter went to one of those parties today. But when it was her birthday (5) she just wanted her friends to come over and play and have a bbq with their families. Which is what...

hi agree you don't have to spend that much momey on them when my daughter turned 10 we just went down the park with her nanna and pop and had a bbq she loved it

  • 9th Dec 2011 09:09am

we hardly ever had birthday parties when I was a kid! Just a milestone one occasionally, like 5, 10, 16, that was about it.
Now my own kids love the tradition of a cake after dinner at home with all the family, on the odd occasion we all go out to dinner first, but the family is getting rather huge now so the added expense isn't greatly appreciated.
my stepdaughter throws parties every year for her two boys and even she has realized she has set a dangerous precedent and finds it hard to now tell her boys "not this time" when they expect what they had in their earlier years.
Yay for home-made cakes, cards, and waterbombs!
We are going to one this weekend, cardboard sleds to slide down the biggest hill around here and a picnic in the park. As long as it doesn't rain it will be awesome!

  • 5th Nov 2011 06:29am

I'm with you too, what happened to the good old sausage sizzle, my 11 yr old decided she wanted a slumber party that was great we put mattresses on the lounge room floor, had good ol party pies and sausage rolls for dinner, popcorn later with movies, Her and her friends had a great time, but i think i enjoyed it the most to be able to stay up and watch movies with your kids and their friends without them getting embarrassed of you is the best feeling ever.

  • 6th Oct 2011 09:18am

Ive got my daughters 1st birthday early december and since Im from such a big family we have hired the bbq area at the pools and just going to have a bbq and make it a early xmas gathering as well. Everyones bringing something and its just family and a few friends with littlies around the same age. As she gets older and shes a summer baby we can go down to the lake and swim and play there

  • 5th Oct 2011 03:15pm

I totally agree with you! I have a 5 yr old son who for every birthday, Iv'e done healthy snack foods, cheap party games and kept my costs down! The kids love it, the parents thought I did a great job and asked me for ideas for their kids parties. The one that really gets me is the MONKEY MAHEM party! you pay through the roof for the food and a few hours of play on the equipment for each child to be there, and the food could have been better if you did it yourself and the party would be more fun than climing over the same things for hours if the perants are just willing to make a bit of an effort! I think these days, kids parties are about conveniance, and letting some one else do the work! If the parents doing this could put some time and effort into their kids, it would cost alot less and the kids would have a better time on their birthdays!

  • 19th Aug 2011 10:06am

We never spent lots on kids party. We just don't have the money, anyway I have always baked speacil cakes, highlighted the fun of crafts and saved for the big partys, 5, 10 and just recently 13. Having twins have ment just hyping up the family thing and it important to live with the real world. It has worked, the girls love family meals out for their birthdays and friends just hanging out with games and crafts.
Like paint on the canvas party, buy a canvas and let the kids paint it for the birthday kid, or lets make the snacks, let the party goes put together pizzas, fairy bread etc.
for the girls 5th we did MacDonalds, and for their 10th we did a family and friends party at home (abig one with brought cake and DVD's etc), and for their 13 we did a SPOOKY Walk, from Hairraisering Tours

  • 18th Aug 2011 09:46pm

My kids seem to be in a constant battle with my mum for the best party. as one year my son was a absolute lit snot the days before we were gonna throw him a party. so we cancelled it, what mum gives him cake , presents , the lot..just w/out me, his youngest sister & my partner. just all at her house ... which she pointed out to me, you always had a party, regardless how naughty you were & we never cancelled any of your parties, great i thought
long story short, you do what you can. over the top parents just annoy me & feel that nothing is ever up to their standards

  • 6th Apr 2011 09:44pm

should just be about the happiness of the child, ppl forget that the more simple the better, no one is a terrible parent for putting in effort over money when it comes to a party, it usually pays off. but today is a generation of mothers competing to outshine others or kids taking life for granted, if u cant spend limited money but maximum effort and have them grateful well theres something wrong

  • 27th Mar 2011 12:43pm

Who said you were a terrible parent? Plan the party you child will like. & do it. Kids, at least at 3 don't care about stuff like that. they just care that you & their little friends are there. Its up to you & your budget to decide what/where you go for your kids party.

  • 18th Mar 2011 11:45am

I don't think you are a terrible parent at all. If you want to out do parents make an incredible cake. That's what I say! I have made fairy houses enchanted castles , even thomas the tank engine all out of cake.
I also don't understand why people feel the need to have an extravaganza for a birthday party. My child once attended one that had a petting zoo (not kidding!)
I think that if you want to throw an over the top party make it for milestone birthdays (5,10,13,16,18,21).
It sounds like your 3 year old had a wonderful party and more and more children should be given these types of parties.
I remember when we were kids and our parties involved Nanna and Poppy over for dinner.
Speth you most certainly are not in any way a terrible parent. Don't let anyone insinuate that you are, there is nothing wrong with getting kids to play hide and seek at a birthday party instead of hiring a clown. :)

  • 17th Mar 2011 01:02pm

I'm on the same belief as U i like it smiple and care free and my children have a great time on their day ' i get some friends and family say to me should have a big one i just simple say its not what you spend at the time it enjoying the day with yr child

  • 12th Mar 2011 07:22pm

It can get competative so the cycle really needs to be broken.The kids really have fun with the nice home made food and lots of home games and definately dont need to hire an entertainer.
There is a fabulous site called simple saving that really helps put the spending in perspective .It is full of ideas and support .
I too have had magician to a party but found that the party where my daughter chose party music and loaded it on the computor attached to speaker so it was like a juke box and we had dancing and games was a really good party and heaps cheaper. Always have a friend or 2 to help as an extra pair of eyes though as I found one 9 year old had gone upstairs into my wardrobe and was about to explore the manhole in the back of my wardrobe!

  • 24th Feb 2011 11:56am

I admit to being guilty of having outsourced parties when my children started school - it was simply too much effort for me with a 7 day a week business. After a few of these my husband decided it was too over the top (quite rightly, but then he didn't involve himself too heavily in any of the work involved). He chose a different method - he offered our son $50 in cash to spend on whatever he wanted or a party. Each of our children from then on has always taken the cash. I was not too happy at first, but as things changed in our lives it turned out to be a lifesaver. We have a small family dinner and a cake at home and the child looks forward to a guaranteed $50. We have done this for years now and our sons are perfectly happy.

  • 19th Feb 2011 11:48am

My husband curses whoever it was that invented the concept of loot bags! :)

  • 19th Feb 2011 06:46am

Sounds like your son ( and the other kiddies ) had a ball! I love old school simplicity :)
My daughter's 1st birthday is in a few weeks, and yup, I'm making her cake too :) I have made it known to all the adults this party is for the KIDS not for the adults, and sometimes the simplest things are the greatest. This party has cost me a little more than I would usually spend, but it is a first birthday, and you only get one of them :P, haven't got myself in debt or anything, just a bigger party than I expected it to be :)

  • 17th Feb 2011 05:02pm

as a late in life mum, ive have proberly been a little overboard with the partys and have lots of leftovers afterwards but what upsets me the most is the people who cant be bothered to let you know if their child is coming. at my daughters birthday last year i had 3 parents on the day ring to tell me they were coming. after waiting for replys i was sent into a spin trying to work out gift bags, games and everything else to work out if theres enough for everyone.

its not hard to say yes or no. just let the parents know so they can do the right thing. what would have happened if this was a catered party (fairy party, playgym party) who need to know exact numbers and suddenly 5 kids just arrive?

  • 22nd Apr 2012 08:36pm
as a late in life mum, ive have proberly been a little overboard with the partys and have lots of leftovers afterwards but what upsets me the most is the people who cant be bothered to let you know...

I agree with alot you said. Why is it soooooo hard to reply to a kids party invite???? Most of these Mum's are txting or on Facebook or something. Then you have to ask them, they just look at you stupid & go YER!! So annoying.. I to started late with my kid's & could not wait for their parties. I've done the small one's with Grandparents, the BIG jumping castle. (It rained, HARD) & the kid's got soaked through. They laughed so hard for 2hrs straight. (all 13 of'em) sliding around in the rain with their clothes on we nearly forgot to do the cake! My house also was soaked through, every single towel got used & they all went home in my son's clothes, even the girls. Another good one was my Eldest's 4th, at a big park. I didn't even make a cake that year, Donut King-Yum! Heated sausage roll's & pies in the morning, wrapped'em in foil, couple pkt's chip's & drinks. A fruit platter for the health nut's & a big bag of truck's & car's to have race's down the hill & they all won a little plastic prize & a lolly. The rest of the time they played AT the park. As my kid's get older we talk about what we can afford & what they like, toss around idea's. But at the end of the day they've had a great Birthday & memories & I'm stuffed.

  • 17th Feb 2011 01:20pm

When my girls were little we kept things simple. Too much of parents trying to outdo each other now.My daughter has recently gone through this with her 2 year old. The parties were getting bigger and better. When it was her turn she baked cupcakes and invited a few of the mothers group kids and went to Ethans favourite park. She wasn't into outdoing the previous Ben Hur spectacle just making sure her son had a great time.

  • 16th Feb 2011 12:22pm

I let my children choose to have a birthday party with their friends or have the money that I will spend on their birthday party. They used to choose birthday parties. However they realized that they can save the money from the birthday party to buy something they really like or add them to their pocket money.

  • 16th Feb 2011 11:51am

I totally agree with all of you because birthdays are not about parties. They are about celebrating! And when it comes to celebrating, it really is a personal thing. Sure there are parents who want to out-do others and so throw a party that's fit for a king (or should I say 'prince' or 'princess') but having said that I am sure there are other parents who may be talented in baking or who just enjoy taking the extra bit of time and money and so do create something spectacular for their kids. Maybe parties is not your thing. If you're a good cook, would you cook something for your kid's that's below your standard? Or if you were a seamstress, would you not sew beautiful clothes for your kids? If you have the talent, you use it. And for those of you who can have a party that's less than $100, well, that's fantastic! In this day and age, there is a market for anything and everything. Just because we may not fit into that market, I don't think we can say that it is then bad. And Speth, your child and his friends had a wonderful time so you were a huge success as a parent. :) No question about that.

  • 16th Feb 2011 08:50am

I totally agree. My daughter is now 8 yrs old and because of what her school classmates have (generally a party to which the majority of the class is invited at a catered for venue) she expects to have the same. For her 8th birthday she got an afternoon tea at home and 3 friends were invited. She was very happy with this, however there was quite a bit of peer pressure to extend the invites by some of her classmates. It was made clear it was not a party, just afternoon tea for a few friends. Be firm or it can spiral way out of control.

  • 16th Feb 2011 06:39am

I found, through going to other kids birthday parties,that if you dont keep it simple when they are young,you are in BIG trouble as they get older. I must be a real bad parent too as all my kids have only had home birthday parties ( ie..everything made at home with a few goodies from the $2 shop thrown into a bag with a few sweets and piece of cake for the guests to take home).Or they were allowed 2 friends to have a sleepover...popcorn pizza and fizz. And they all loved it.

  • 15th Feb 2011 09:41pm

I agree, I keep mine simple too. But I wonder if anyone has actually labelled you a terrible parent or if you have just taken that on. Just because other people are doing fancy expensive things doesn't mean they are judging you for doing it differently. They are possibly sighing and wishing they could let go of their own self-imposed standard and tone it down a bit. I think once you start that, it's hard to go back to simple because the kids start to expect it. I know some parents put others down, but we need to just feel confident in our decision and just enjoy.

  • 15th Feb 2011 08:59pm

You are not a terrible parent by any standards but I think saying those parents that do have entertainers at their children's parties are instilling poor values or are on a mission to out do other parent is unfair. If you can afford to outsource the entertainment then parents should do it if they wish.

We spend so much time looking after our children and taking them here and there that I think it's quite nice to have our friends over for the birthdays and let them kick back whilst entertainment keeps the children happy. We need a break too. It's certainly not about competing, it's about giving yourself a rare break.

I've always made the children's cakes because they have always had obscure requests but trust me, if I thought I would be able to explain what the children want I would outsource that too. I certainly don't feel I need to prove myself by spending hours in the kitchen making a cake when I already spend a large proprortion of my life stuck in there anyway.

The children's birthdays are a lovely reminder of their birth and all the milestones you've reached as a family so if you can afford it, then let the party be for everyone including yourself.

  • 22nd Jan 2011 09:50am

I couldn't agree more. All you need are some friends, a few toys, etc, and they entertain themselves quite adequately. I don't go out of my way to be cheap, but I don't see the need for the whole clown, pony, inflatable castle, etc, nonsense either. They get extra thrilled for a few minutes, but ultimately they have no more fun than they would otherwise, you spend a hell of a lot more money for no reason (put it towards education or swim lessons), and they experience more nasty withdrawal the next day.

Pana Gal
  • 17th Jan 2011 03:52pm

Wow!.That's not bad. We have to spent more than $100!.. Otherwise we'll just go to the buffet restaurant and not worry about cooking and cleaning *sighs*. The biggest we ever had to spend was with the kids have their 1st birthday. It's such a big family!!

  • 13th Jan 2011 10:45pm

OK, I bought the cake this year.....BUT I sent it off to childcare with him.
They had party plates, balloons and pass the parcel. They took photos and apparently everyone had FUN! The unspoken rule is that if their birthday falls on the day they happen to be at childcare.......they celebrate it with cake! Last year they had ice cream cake and thought that it was great!

  • 11th Jan 2011 02:15pm

We also made the cake for my sons 1st birthday. We went to a friends daughters second birthday and they had had a cake made, I thought you only did that for weddings! It seems like preschool parties are a competition and more about the parents than the kids.

  • 10th Jan 2011 08:59pm

Well I'm a 'terrible parent' too then as I have done just the same as you - made the birthday cake & had a few friends over for a morning tea in the park for my son's 3rd birthday last weekend. I'm happy to go 'retro / old school' & give my son & his friends the simple fun that I enjoyed growing up. Bring on pass the parcel, musical chairs & treasure hunts I say!! At least our kids won't be spoilt & entitled...

  • 23rd Dec 2010 02:36pm

I think you are very smart person who doesnt get troubled by 3 year old b'day party!. He is ONLY 3 yo, he will have PLENTY of time for parties when he will get a bit older ( and here i mean 18+) no need for spending money on that for now. They (kids) wont remember any of it anyway, so why bother! :) you're great mum!

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