How to Plan The Perfect Birthday For Kids

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Want to know how to plan the perfect birthday for kids? Hint: it's not about the gifts! Check out this post for tips and tricks to make the day special.

Over the past 15 years, we’ve learned the best tips, tricks, and hacks to create the perfect birthday for kids. Some of these ideas are genius. Check them out!

The perfect birthday is one of those yearly milestones that most parents strive for when it comes to their kids. We ask our children what they want for their big day, how many presents they think they’ll get, and how excited they will be when they get them.

The unfortunate part of all this is that we are setting ourselves up for defeat. What if we can’t find that once-in-a-lifetime gift? What if the day turns out to be lackluster, or even disappointing, for them?

There’s a way to play the perfect birthday for kids, and it doesn’t need to cost a million dollars to do so. Here are the tricks my husband and I use each year.

Want to know how to plan the perfect birthday for kids? Hint: it's not about the gifts! Check out this post for tips and tricks to make the day special.

Focus on Experiences

We stopped associating gifts with birthdays. I know. I KNOW. You’re supposed to get gifts on your birthday! That’s very true. If you are celebrating a birthday, there are usually gifts associated with said celebration. But, as a parent, we have this superpower of conditioning the expectations of our children.

If we make a point of hyping up the gift part of a birthday, then our kids will become obsessed with gifts. Instead, we focus on the experience of the day. We have our kids list 5 things they would love to DO to make their birthday perfect.

The keyword there is DO. What kind of experiences would they like to have on that day? Each year, they choose something different. One year, our eldest son wanted to go to the museum in Philadelphia with his dad, play video games, and stay overnight in a hotel.

As you can see in the picture above, my son’s wishes changed the next year but were still focused on experiences that made him happy.

Stick with Traditions (or create new ones)

Every year, I make a birthday cake for my kids. We eat it for breakfast on the day of their birthday. This tradition has nothing to do with a gift, or presents, or even a party. It’s something that’s inexpensive but memorable.

One year I was away for my daughter’s birthday, but we still followed the tradition, just a week late. What is a tradition you follow on birthdays? If you don’t have one, ask your kids what’s one special at-home experience they would love to do each year on their birthday. You may be surprised by their response.

Gifts are Secondary

We do get our kids a gift or two for their birthday. We also make sure to wait until midday or the end of the day to give these gifts to them. We’ve learned that they are so excited to be celebrating their special day, that the gift part tends to become secondary. If the family follows the “birthday list” created by the child, you will be almost too busy for gifts!

little girl shooting daddy with her water gun

Make Love the Star

As a parent, we know the best part of a birthday is the story behind the birth. This is a moment not only to remind yourself of that special day but to remind your child of the experience their whole family had the day they were born.

Humans love to hear stories about themselves, especially tiny humans. Take a moment during their birthday to remind them of how they came into this earth, and/or when you were blessed to add them to your family (adoption stories are so much fun to share).

Let them know how much you love them. Lay it on thick. It’s their birthday, for goodness’ sake!

Want to know how to plan the perfect birthday for kids? Hint: it's not about the gifts! Check out this post for tips and tricks to make the day special.

I hope these tips help you make your little one’s birthdays even more spectacular than they already have been in the past.

Do you have any tips to help plan the perfect birthday for kids? Please leave them in the comments below for our community!

About Amiyrah

My name is Amiyrah and I'm an an African American fashion & lifestyle blogger based in Ohio.

Plan Your Year Now!


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  1. 7.30.15
    Marquita said:

    This great! My kids and I have a dinner tradition we don’t break for anyone! So you are correct making traditions really work with kids- hopefully they will keep those traditions when they are older

  2. 8.28.18

    My daughter never really had birthday parties growing up. It was because her birthday is July 5!! She was asked early on if she wants a bunch of gifts (We are a gift loving family) or experience. She was smart to figure out from a young age that if she goes to the amusement park on her birthday it’s less crowded.

    She didn’t have to stand in line as long and got to ride favorites more than once. We would always switch it up too while at the park. For instance, one year she got overpriced souvenirs, or maybe extra junk food. One year we took our video recorder (before cell phones were a thing) and let her narrate the park and her rides. Our local PBS did that and she loved doing her own version.