Warning: These 5 Mistakes Will Destroy Your Boys Birthday Parties

Yesterday was the Bug’s 6th birthday party. It’s tough having a birthday in the middle of the summer holidays, and there is always someone who can’t make it to the party, so we try really hard to make sure my brother has a good time. Last year we made some mistakes, so this year we opted for something entirely different. He enjoyed both parties, but the adults needed wine with their curly ham sandwiches on both occasions. So with the benefit of hindsight, here are the 5 mistakes we think you should avoid:

Do’s and don’ts for boys birthday parties

Dont: invite the entire class to a party on the last day of summer term. Don’t imagine in your wildest fantasies that you will be able to control thirty 5-year-olds on a sugar high, in 36 degree heat. They feel liked caged lions given free rein over the savannah for the first time in 3 months. Wild. Happy. Free. Totally the opposite of how you will feel.

Don’t: imagine that inviting five 6-year-olds to a pyjama and movie party will be much better. Small boys don’t do sitting. They do football with balloons, catapulting with lego, mountain-climbing on shelves, trampolining on beds, and cushion-tossing.

Don’t: put an older sister in charge of games. Older sisters are bossy. Small boys like this. They see it as an opportunity to goad, to taunt, to behave more badly, and so attract the overheated wrath of an 8-year-old girl. They will  break into her bedroom and trash the joint. She will scream orders at them until, beetroot-faced, she breaks down in tears of defeat and frustration. At which point you will have to manage not only 6 gleeful terrors, but also an outraged pre-teen.

Don’t: leave water pistols and a full paddling pool in the garden. You will then have the added stress of possible drowning to monitor. And parents will be forced to strip their child, before strapping him into a car-seat naked apart from his wet pants. Ouch.

Don’t: serve cake for dessert. There will be an argument over who gets the slice with the P, the marzipan moshling, the Skylanders symbol, or the biggest piece of icing. Slice it covertly and send it home in a paper napkin. Your mother was right about that 30 years ago. Ditto the sweets. All sugar should be avoided until the party guests are safely in the company of their own parents.

There are, however, some tips we have learned on how to minimise the stress  of boys birthday parties, and make sure everyone has a good time:

Do: have a theme. It focuses the attention, if only for 3 minutes. Every bit of focus you can get is consolation for your shattered nerves, so be it a Moshi Monster costume, or a Skylanders obsession, milk it for all you’re worth!

Do: allow your child to open his presents in front of his friends. People like to see your appreciation when you see their gift. Also it will fill a good 15 minutes of the party, leaving less time for furniture climbing. Make sure your child says thank you – that way you get to avoid remembering who gave what, and the tiresome job of nagging him to write his thank you notes.

Do: have a food contingency plan. Allow for the fact that 3 types of pizza may not cover it. Some children don’t like pizza at all apparently, and may ask for a grilled lamb chop. We know one who doesn’t eat chocolate! Make sure you have plenty of bread in the house. Can’t go wrong with that.

Do: spend hours making a cake. Your child will love you for it. His guests will think you’re the best Mum in the world. They’ll think he is the coolest boy in the world. It will make them forget that you told them off for climbing up the shelving unit, and they will later tell their parents that you’re a really cool mum, and not the bossy harridan you generally portray on playdates. It will also give you a shred of self-esteem to cling onto when you lie in bed berating yourself for shouting a lot at your son’s party.

"Cakes for boys birthday parties"

Do: stock up on wine. You will require it approximately 5 minutes into the party, but wait until the last half hour before you pour a glass. That way you can appear relaxed and celebratory when parents arrive to collect their charges. Don’t make the mistake of downing the glass and pouring another, or parents will frown and whisper on the playground next term.

Ready? Set. Bring it on! What tips do you have for boys birthday parties?

27 thoughts on “Warning: These 5 Mistakes Will Destroy Your Boys Birthday Parties”

    • Well this was my problem this week. Naively I thought that a pyjama party with a DVD and popcorn would work well for 6. Had it been GG it would have been a breeze!

  1. So funny! I have to admit that, as soon as the boys turned three, we went down the soft play/bowling/gym type party route – partly as it minimises what we actually need to prepare, but also means no children in the house…! Cheating, I know, but working so far 🙂

  2. Our most recent party was Daniels 3rd & went well had a mix of ages but i think hiring the local hall helps as they can’t get in to stuff they arn’t sposed too. We didn’t do much for Joseph’s 4th but he wants a big halloween party for his 5th (5th Nov) wish me luck! I’ve herd that they get worse when they get older, probably as the parents don’t stay!

    Here is my post on Danies racing car 3rd party: http://lebabybakery.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/daniels-3rd-birthday-racing-car-party.html

  3. The one benefit I had when the kids were young, was their birthday’s were in the summer months, thus less pressure to invite the entire class. Of course, the kids were also sorta depressed that mom didn’t invite the whole class, I just didn’t have enough wine to handle that sort of situation.

  4. Love this post! As someone who is preparing to enter the world of birthday parties, sleepovers etc. these tips are invaluable! I’m certainly going to bear them in mind when I organise Sophia’s first proper birthday party next year and have 30 kids running wild in the house. So tempted to hire somewhere to keep the mess out of my house!

  5. Brilliant!
    G hates bread, pizza and cakes…but she’d take a lamb chops with glee (and chocolate!). I know how you feel…there’s always a weird one. My problem is that it is my own!

    Happy birthday Bug x

  6. Love this! We’ve had some nightmare boys’ parties over the years and the 6yo’s during 2007 aka flood year was a real low point. My top tip would be avoid calling an ambulance. We had to do that for the same son’s 10th birthday party. Sigh.

  7. Love this… made me smile no end. Thanks! My girls are two days apart so will always (I’m imagining) have joint efforts. Like it or not – get it over in one hit! This year’s (5 and 2yrs) is fast approaching. As a consequence, I’m starting to make lists already, and since reading this funny and helpful post, wine is now at the top of all of them. CHEERS!

  8. Love this post, could really relate…except to the bit about making the birthday cake. Hubby and I stayed up until one in the morning a couple of years ago making a very ambitious Transformers cake, to then realise we didn’t leave the icing to set and all the colours ran. So we bought one instead. One of these days, though, I might feel brave enough to have another go. Glad you survived; I find wine can usually get you through most things 😉

  9. This really made me laugh. I have two boys. A lot of it was awfully familiar – especially the bit about lying in bed berating yourself. *Makes mental note to make more cakes for that shred of self esteem* 🙂

  10. These are some fantastic tips 🙂 I completely agree about going all out on the cake – the expression on their faces is totally worth it!

  11. I have to do a 9yr old boy’s bday soon and I don’t think they change reading this, just get bigger! You may have saved my day though 😉 xx

  12. Hah! I learnt the hard way about a movie party for boys too. The WORST birthday party ever (according to the birthday boy) *weeps into wine*
    Hope Bug had an brilliant birthday! Love from us all x

  13. This post really made me laugh! I’ve learnt my lesson as a parent to get a party planner like Dazzle and Fizz in to just take over.. It gives you the chance to relax and have a glass of red whilst the kids have a fantastic time. What more could you want!?

  14. Now I’m feeling nervous! For my 8yo boy we are going to clip and climb for an hour then back to ours for a film and food. My theory is that the climbing will get rid of their excess energy – I so hope I’m right!!


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