At eight years, your child is really coming into his or her own and will be starting to remember and treasure their birthday party traditions. Still, as your child gets older and you deal with more expectations from child-age…. and parent guests, being a great birthday party host requires some know-how. Here are some tips to help make eight great!
Do…Get The Birthday Kid In On the Planning
Now that your child is taking on more responsibilities and has more defined interests, it’s a great idea to have them help you plan the party. Not only will they be able to offer their ideas for their favorite themes, games and birthday snacks, but they will also learn a little about what it takes to be a good host. Make sure they are learning about everything from writing out the invitations to scheduling in time for cleanup so that the birthday celebration can be an opportunity for growth.
Don’t…Let Your Child Run the Whole Show
A caveat for the above advice is that giving total reigns of a party to an eight-year-old probably isn’t your best option. Instead, offer options for them to choose and plan from that you have already decided will fit your time and means. For example, let them help you plan the menu for the party snacks, but keep their option to healthier treats with maybe one or two sweet selections.
Do…Let The Kids Loose
If your son or daughter and friends are around eight-years-old, they’ve been in school for a fair amount of time and have likely built up skills in playing nicely on their own in the classroom and on the playground. Therefore, you can probably trust the kids to do their own thing for a while during parties without extremely close supervision. Let them run around for a game of soccer, work on crafts or eat their meal with light supervision, and you can take the time to set up other activities, take a break, or snap some pictures from afar.
With consideration to letting the kids be independent, it’s important to keep a light radar out for drama, so that it can be stopped before ruining your child’s party. As your kids self-regulate, there will be room for certain children to take charge, argue or depart from party-planning etiquette. If that happens, don’t be afraid to have a timeout or switch to a different activity so that the party doesn’t go awry.
With more than a few birthday parties under your belt, why not have a little fun with this one. Switch out the classic birthday cake with s’mores or even donuts. Instead of party games, put out your child’s favorite board games. Even consider switching the classic afternoon party for a breakfast bash. There are no rules for birthdays, so simply lean into your child’s favorite things and have fun with it! You’ll be teaching your child that the key to celebration is good friends and family.
Don’t…Break the Bank
Your child is going to remember a few things about their eighth birthday party…but the extravagance of the party won’t be one of them. While it may be really tempting to try to impress your child and your visiting friends and parents with impressive color-coordinated decorations and magazine-ready goodie bags, don’t fall into this trap. It will only make you stress more about the party and your bank account, not to mention adding a sense of competition among parents trying to top one another in party planning. Keep it simple and all about fun.
Do…Get Your Child in on Thank You Etiquette
Now that your child is eight, they should know their P’s and Q’s from school, sports and your own family lessons. While you may have written thank you notes in the past for your guests’ attendance and gifts, it’s about time to get your kids into the habit of sending out thank you notes after parties. Take them to the store to pick out some fun thank you cards that they can get excited about and have them send out thank yous to all their friends and family.
Don’t…Forget to Smile
Don’t forget to take time for pictures. Whether it be a family pic before the guests arrive, a group shot of kids’ faces covered in frosting or a picture of the parents coming together for their little ones’ fun, capture it all. Believe me! In ten years when your child is *technically* an adult, you will treasure these pictures from the eighth birthday party!