What Age Did You Stop Throwing Birthday "Parties" for Your Kids?

Updated on June 25, 2010
K.M. asks from Mesquite, TX
19 answers

My daughter's 8 soon to be 9 and we've decided to let her have a FUN day this year on her b-day instead of the routine b-day party we do every year.
We're bringing her favorite cousin who is like her sister along with us to enjoy the day but I was just curious to know when other moms out there stopped doing the traditional b-day party. I'm not sure if this is going to be how we keep things every year but already a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders by not having to plan a party, invite guests, decorate, buy goodie bags, and make sure everything turns out perfect..........but I feel a little guilty that she's missing out by not having her party this year.....even though she seems very excited about what we have planned. We're also saving a lot of money by doing it this way.

So anyhow, would love to hear your thoughts.

Thank you!

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answers from Chicago on

My youngest ( 8 yr old twin girls) had a small party this year, they each invited 2 friends and we went ice skating and out for pizza. Next year we will probably just do a sleepover.

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2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I know I'm in the minority but we have never "started" having bday parties for the kids! (my kids are 14, 10 and 7) We take cup cakes and balloons to school for their bday, so that's their celebration with their "friends". And then for their real bday party, we tell them they can pick what they want to do, movie, bouncy house, bowling, etc. And we just have family over. The kids have never done anything different from this so I guess they don't know any different. I'm so happy that we have never had to do the big party and invite kids from school and parents I don't even know. I know this doesn't really help you but wanted to let you know what we do (or don't do!). Good luck!

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answers from Los Angeles on

I find the other answers interesting. Some for and some against birthday parties.

My mom honored me with my last birthday "party" when I was in my 40's. My wife turned 55 last year in November and we honored her with a birthday party. She did the same for me when I turned 59. I drove 1200 miles with my family to give my dad a 75th birthday party. He didn't know we were coming and he happened to open the door when we rang the door bell. Our family sang "Happy Birthday" to him while standing on his doorstep. We did the same for my mother's 75th birthday. Thwy remembered that the rest of their lives.

One teenager, invited to one of my kids' parties, asked my son why we (his parents) threw him a party. My son replied, "because they love me." The teenage friend, looked down and sadly said, "I wish my parents loved me that much." After I heard that and told my wife, we decided to hold parties or honor my children as long as they lived close enough to do so. And we've done so. Some parties are just family get togethers, but with 8 kids and spouces and grandkids it always seems like a party.

For the kids that live too far away, my wife and I call them, (we try and do this when we have others around) and all of us sing "Happy Birthday" to them over the phone. We've also done this with my kids spouses. One DIL was adopted and never had much of a home life and lived with adoptive parents that never did birthdays. When we called her and sang on her birthday, we happened to have 3 or 4 of our kids and their families over. She came over with tears in her eyes and gave my wife and I a hug. She said that was the first time she could remember having family sing happy birthday to her.

Never miss a chance to do good, especially for family. "The smallest good deed is worth more than the grandest good intention." It brings family together and helps smooth over any ruffled feathers.

Birthday parties can be expensive. But would you like your child to say to someone, "I wish my parents loved me that much" (to honor me with a birthday party)? Most of the parties we did for our kids cost less than $30. Is that too much for improved family togetherness? I think $30 for family harmony and to make one of my kids know we think they are special and loved is super cheap.

Good luck to you and yours.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

My daughter is now 7... but for the past 2 years, we have not had a "party" party. It is just due to budget. My daughter was okay with that. We explained it to her. It was fine.
But we just celebrated as a family, got a cake, had dinner with her favorite foods at home, presents etc. It was still fun and special for her. And I decorated the house.

I have found, that a LOT of our friends, are not doing Birthday "parties" as well. It is due to budget and the economy and many people do not have jobs.

For our son, well he is only 3... but we have not had a 'party' for him. Again, just doing a family celebration at home, for him. He is fine with that. He is young. Its okay.

Don't feel bad. Many families are not having 'party' parties.

all the best,

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I have some friends that have never done the traditional b day party with their kiddos and usually go the "fun day" route.My daughter gets the birthday parties but that's because she enjoys the big social events. My 3 boys don't care how many people track cake all over my house! It's about how special you make your child feel and if she's excited then you know you are doing the right thing.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My oldest son's birthday is the week before Christmas and my Daughters is the last week of January...

My oldest son stopped having parties (like with balloons and brewhaha) when he was like 8 or 9 maybe. But...USUALLY it was his last day of school or close to it and with the permission of his teachers I would bring something for the class or when he got into high school, sing happy birthday during announcements just for good measure (he actually was upset that I didn't show his sophomore year because I didn't want him to be embarrassed)

Now my daughter was older...maybe 10...but we have never had a time when we didn't celebrate their birthday.

Normally it was one or two friends, a cake and a movie or girls makeup day or video games at the local mall time or something...but as for parties...8 to 10 is ok...my kids turned out alright...

smiles to you!



answers from Chicago on

We stopped having the big parties at 8 years old. When they turn 8, we have them choose their 4 or 5 closest friends and go somewhere fun! Last year we took the girls to Build A Bear, only 5, next year she wants to go to a pottery place with 4 friends. My son will be 8 this year and he wants to pick 5 friends and go to a movie. We keep it very simple, maybe Pizza and cake at home, then off to somewhere of their choosing!


answers from Columbia on

I've never really done them. I find them to be wasteful and unappreciated. We've always preferred to spend birthdays with family, just spending a bit on something special like a family trip to the zoo or a movie.

I might do a few BBQ parties when they are teens as I like the idea of keeping track of who my boys' friends are, and of course friends are always invited for dinner or to use the pool, but big, expensive birthday parties just aren't our thing.



answers from Dallas on

I think it is important to do something special to recognize a child on his birthday. We have always tried to give the birthday child some input into how they wanted to spend the special day. We had various parties at home, and at locations for the first few years (local park) and then went the skating rink route or an activity event. As the kids got older, they much preferred to include a limited number of close friends in some kind of outing--a special dinner out, a weekend trip or some event (spa/pedicure or a big sports event) However, once they got older (18 and 21) we celebrated with big parties at home so many of their friends and (their parents) could celebrate with us. We would usually host a big backyard BBQ or something (without the expectation of gifts)--just a time to get together.



answers from Harrisburg on

I would leave it up to what the child wants to do. The older they are, can teach about a "budget" for the party and they can decide what to do....
Let them plan their own party, give them a budget and advise along the way. 8 or 9 years old is a perfect age to get them started on learning about budgeting and saving money and learning how to plan an event!
Just an idea....


answers from Dallas on

I have a 17yr old and I still make a big deal out of her birthday. I want to celebrate her and want her to feel important. But if a personal day is what makes her happy all the better! If I save $ on that party, there's more left over for present. Birthdays parties have evolved with her age. I let my girl tell me what she wanted to do. As she got older her idea of a fun party changed. I can tell you that every year, her guest list got smaller and smaller. One yr she would want a pool party with all girls. The next yr we would go to putt putt with the whole family, then another yr she would ask to take 5 friends and go to a movie, when she was 15 I rented a hotel room for her and 4 friends and we went to the pool for a Hawaiian luau. 16 she wanted to get all dressed up and just me, her and her best friend went to a fancy restaraunt. 17 she wanted to go to that go kart track that has bungee jumping in Dallas with just her and her dad. Now 18 she wants us to get matching tattoos! :) I've never had a tattoo in my 40 years, but I think it'll be a fun bonding experience for us both. So, it's not traditional, but memorable. We have some great pictures from our adventures.



answers from Cleveland on

I don't have any children old enough to really answer this question for you but I don't remember ever "stopping" having birthday parties when I was growing up. As I got older they turned into slumber parties but we still fed everyone and had cake. The activites were up to me & my friends though ... which mostly just hung out, played games, watched movies, stayed up late, etc. I never really thought about stopping the birthday parties. I guess maybe I didn't have one every year (I can't really remember) but I don't remember ever requesting a party and mom not wanting me to have one.



answers from Indianapolis on

I think parties evolve more than anything from the big event (we just had one for our 4 year-old on Saturday) to a smaller gathering of close friends in which case you're likely going to lose a night's sleep worrying about them.

My personal opinion is to do what the birthday girl wishes (within reason). If she wants a party with 10 friends to go to a movie and pizza, so be it. If she wants her best friend to go get a pedicure (which I've never had) and dinner with your family, great. My soon-to-be 14 year-old niece likes to get tea with her mom, aunts and grandmas, and that's perfect for her. I've had other friends take me to an amusement park with them for the day which was AWESOME!

In my experiences, sometimes the simplest things are the most enjoyable.

Because the economy has been so rough, we indicated in the invitations for our son's party (which was at a free splash pad at a local park) that gifts were not expected and that the child's friendship was the greatest gift our son could have. Everyone still brought something small, but I didn't want anyone to feel obligated. We had pulled pork, kettle corn, fruit and cake. The shelter was a $50 rental, and we were done in 4 hours with no mess to clean up at home.



answers from Minneapolis on

I think my 10 year old daughter is done with birthday parties. She really didn't enjoy her last one, which was 6 girls combination waterpark/sleepover. Sounds fun, but she mostly wanted to play with just one girl, and some of the other guests were a little ignored. Then she just got overly tired at the sleepover when the other girls wanted to stay up all night. Acutally, groups of girls are just always hard for her. She prefers to hang out with friends one at a time, so maybe we'll do something special with just one friend, or just as a family. My 8 year old has always just had small parties, never wanted the bigger groups, probably feeling cautious after seeing all of the drama at her sister's parties.


answers from Dallas on

My daughter is 15, turning 16 in Dec. We have always had parties. Some were larger like the 13th blowout with DJ, Country club, the works, other lower key with just a few girls, limo rides, staying in a hotel, etc.

I just depends on what you and your family choose to do. There is not a right or wrong.

I'm in the midst of planning the big Sweet Sixteen blowout now to be held in early January. This will be the first one not held on her birthday but it is because her birthday falls on a Monday and the country club is close don Mondays. Plus, her bday is 12/27 so everything is already booked at the club for Holiday parties.

Enjoy. Sounds like you have a fun day planned.



answers from Houston on

We ask our children each year if they want a big party with their friends or a family fun day. My son is 8 and has done the family fun day for the last 3 years and my daughter who is 6 continues with the parties.

Good luck,



answers from Detroit on

We stopped at age 10 and we also have saved alot of money! My daughter loved he special day with her cousin and that was that, no problem.
Congrats to not going with the Jones!!!



answers from Birmingham on

Only when they wanted to do something else. This year our daughter wants a big party with lots of school friends. Our son would prefer getting some extra spending money and a gift card to a local restaurant so he can take his girl-friend out to dinner with him. We've had all sorts of parties, nothing too extreme or costly, but always fun and sometimes it was lots of kids and sometimes just one or two for a sleepover. I let them decide and then I tweak the details to suit all of the family. Some years are wonderfully calm and not much work (for mom!) and oh well, others not. It's just all about making them feel special on that day - no matter how big or small the "party." We decorate the house inside either way with a bedroom door banner before the birthday girl/boy wakes up and I put streamers around the kitchen and den area for something extra! Always brings a smile even when they see it year after year!



answers from Dallas on

I love bday parties! My daughter is turning 10, and her party is tonight. I'd like to think that parents will give the parties as long as the child wants one. Note to all parents: Goody bags are NOT necessary. I HATE THEM. They are harmful to the environment and wasteful! Forego the dang goody bags already! The party is the gift. If you must give something, then give something practical and useful. In the "old days", the bday girl got the gifts, not the guests!

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