Surviving Kid’s Birthday Parties

Last Updated on February 24, 2022 by Single Dad In Diego

Oh, the kid’s party. A time of unlimited joy for them, a time of “what time is this over?” for you. So what are the crucial steps of surviving kids’ birthday parties?

Well with a well-crafted plan of attack you too can seamlessly get through any kid’s party with this handy guide for surviving kid’s birthday parties.

So how do you survive a kid’s birthday party?

With a great plan for getting ready, attending, and (eventually) getting out of there with as much of your sanity intact as possible.

You may have heard it takes a village to raise children. Well, it is going to take a team effort on the part of all parents to make it through surviving kids’ birthday parties.

surviving kid's birthday parties
Cake and pizza and high-energy kids. Oh My!

Kids’ birthday parties are fun for both young and old. The problem is the kids are going to have fun by default, you need to do some thinking ahead.

The surviving kid’s birthday parties checklist

Ok, you make think you know everything you need to handle this or any other parenting situation. And while I certainly do not claim to be an expert on any parenting manners, I feel I have a pretty good foundation with two boys that are 6 and (about to be) 5.

Speaking of that little guy…he has SIX kids in his class that all have December birthdays, including him. Now imagine six kid’s parties plus the holidays and New Year’s Eve all falling in one 31 day period. OUCH!!

On the first day of school when all the parents saw the calendar in the classroom listing the kid’s birthday months, I think we all had the same “punch in the gut” feeling.


With a pretty simple solution. We all got together and decided we would have ONE birthday party for all of them. Now if the kids figured this out they might get mad because they only get to go to one party instead of six, but hey we are the ones throwing these things so we get the final say.

So the plan was hatched to have a party at Kid Ventures for the whole group. It is close, there is lots for kids to do, the staff really creates an entire experience, and they also take care of all the food and drinks. We just have to show up (well, and pay for it).

Surviving kids’ birthday parties takes nothing more than a good plan, staying flexible with it as needed, and sticking to it as closely as possible.

Pre-Party for surviving kid’s birthday parties

1. Surviving kid’s birthday parties starts with knowing what you are in for

Make sure YOU see the invitation. Make sure you are RSVPing with the parent throwing the party and that they and you know what the plan is.

Would there be anything worse than your kids telling you “it’s a costume party” and then you go to all the trouble of dressing everyone up and then show up and it is, in fact, not a costume party?

Kids do not always get what the party is all about so see it in writing and confirm with the other parents.

2. Is a gift needed and if so, what is a good gift

I have found that a lot of parents are saying “thanks but no thanks” to gifts. I get the feeling that is because:

  • They don’t need any extra “stuff” they have to pick up at their home
  • They are probably already getting their child a bunch of stuff
  • If they do not ask you for a gift they probably hope you will reciprocate when it is your child’s birthday

If they are doing gifts, ask the parent what the child is into. I just came from my kid’s Karate class where all the kids said what they wanted for Christmas. EVERY GIRL said they wanted an LOL doll. I have two boys, so I have no idea what these things are!

If all else fails, go on Amazon and search “5-year-old girl gift” or just get a card and a printable gift certificate.

3. Are we all dressed appropriately?

Make sure your kids are dressed for the occasion (based on what the theme/activities of the party are) and make sure you are as well. Look nice….but not too nice. You are not going to a club or a fancy restaurant, so make sure you look good, but it is comfortable as well.

After all, there is a good chance you will be chasing kids and/or be part of the festivities and activities.

4. Arrive on time (or even fashionably late)

I made the mistake of showing up for one party about 15 minutes early. The parents, who you could tell were already stressed setting this whole adventure up, were nice enough but I could tell they would have been much happier if I showed up later when they were done setting up.

Your kids will get all the fun they need at a birthday party so they do not need to be early. As to your surviving kid’s birthday parties, don’t add any extra time to your “festivities.”

At the party tips for surviving kid’s birthday parties

5. Contacts app=great way to remember names

surviving kid's birthday parties
Now the “fun” begins…

My youngest was just at a party where the parents were smart enough to realize we all barely know each other. I have a hard enough time knowing the kids’ names, let alone all their parents (and I am bad at remembering names to begin with).

In this day and age, people are ALWAYS on their phones. So it will not look odd if you are on your phone occasionally putting names and notes in your contacts app to help you remember everyone’s names.

If you can slyly sneak a picture to add to the contact all the better….but be careful because that can be creepy. Why not just be the guy taking tons of pics of the party and then just use one to add to the contact in question.

6. Keep an eye out

Have you ever heard the phrase “start out laughing, end up crying?” Kids can be having a blast one minute and then balling the next. Be social but always keep one eye on your kids.

Make sure they are not getting in any trouble, make sure they are not causing any trouble…..just keep them out of trouble.

All parents understand that things happen that are out of our control, but nobody wants to be that parent that everybody is talking about after the party for all the wrong reasons.

7. Why not get involved

Trust me when I say that the time will fly by if you get into the spirit of the party. Heck, that is probably true for the adult parties you go to.

So if there is a bounce house or a slide or some other game or activity, take a turn with your kids, if it is appropriate.

Like, do not grab a stick and obliterate a piñata before the birthday kid has even had a whack!!

8. Let tech be your friend

I have been known to take my AirPods with me to kids’ parties. In fact, this is item one that is part of my surviving kid’s birthday party’s toolkit.

They are covert so you can listen to some music or a podcast or audiobook and if you see you may have a situation approaching where you need to be social, a quick double-tap of one of the AirPods and they are off and you can be right back in the swing of the party.

Just do not sit in the corner listening all day and being anti-social. You are supposed to be there for your kids, not in spite of them!

When the party is winding down

9. See the signs

Ok let’s face it, maybe it is YOU that is winding down. 

KId’s birthday parties rarely come with an iron-clad itinerary of events. Whatsmore, you never want to be the FIRST parent to start saying “alright I think it is about time we get going.”

The truth is you know the signs. Food has been eaten, Happy Birthday has been sung and the cake has been eaten. Now is time so start “herding” your kids toward the exit.

I have found that not all parents have kids open presents at a party. Even if they do, it is ok to bail at this point or stay, whichever you want but if there is a last act to a kid’s birthday party, the opening of the presents is it.

Kids will almost NEVER want to leave but just make an excuse. “The park is closing soon so we HAVE to leave.”

10. Always follow up

Don’t forget to send a little thank you email or note to the birthday child and their family. No matter what type of party it was, they went out of their way to entertain your kids while making their little one’s day special. This is a must-do in my book

Follow the steps and have a blast

I am of course being a little sarcastic in all these steps. Of course, surviving kids’ birthday parties can be a challenge but it is also a bunch of fun. Whatsmore, it is a great time for your kids and their friends and ultimately that is rewarding enough in and of itself.