How to Throw a Joint Birthday Party
Sometimes, throwing a joint birthday party is the best option for siblings who have birthdays close together. These 6 tips can make it a success.
Want to throw a joint birthday party for your kids -- or for yours and someone else's? Maybe you have children who were born just a few days apart in different years, perhaps there's a set of twins in the family or possibly your child wants to celebrate a birthday with a special cousin. Whatever the reason, a joint birthday party can be a fantastic solution for celebrating birthdays that are close to each other. These six tips can help you navigate:
- Think Carefully About the Theme
When the birthday girl is obsessed with ponies and the birthday boy loves baseball, finding a theme that meshes their two interests can seem tricky. Instead of trying, ditch any birthday party themes that are too specific and go with a joint birthday party theme that's more generic -- a rainbow party, a circus party or a luau swim party are all good options. When it's just not possible to agree on one cohesive idea, consider letting each child simply pick his or her own theme. Irene Lovett, lifestyle expert, party planner and creator of designstiles, suggests, "If your son is into trains and your daughter is into ballerinas, do a 'trains and tutus' party. The boys can dress as conductors and the girls can dress in tutus." By combining the two themes into one unique idea, Lovett, who is a mom herself, says that it will allow each child to feel special at the party.
- Get Two Cakes
Every birthday kid will tell you the most important part of any party is the cake. When throwing a joint birthday party, the biggest mistake you can make is getting one cake with two names squeezed on top. Lovett suggests that you not only get each birthday child his own cake (a small one, if need be!), but that the party guests even sing "Happy Birthday" twice, once to each birthday kid. If you'd rather serve something more unique than cake, Lovett suggests a dessert bar: "Have each child pick out their favorite treats for their guests. Having them give their opinions about what will be served will help each child feel more enthused about having a party together."
For birthday cake ideas, check out 15 Healthy Birthday Cake Recipes.
- Consider Going Gift-Free
This can be a hard topic to discuss with your kids. However, choosing to go gift-free can be a smart decision for a joint birthday party, especially if the birthday kids share a group of friends who would feel obligated to bring two birthday presents, one for each child. Instead, consider inviting guests to bring a book for a party book swap or else a book or small toy to donate to a local charity. When the birthday kids have separate groups of friends who don't overlap, sending individual invitations can eliminate the awkwardness of guests wondering if they should bring gifts for both kids. Simply send Sam's friends an invitation to Sam's birthday party, for example, and Ryan's friends an invitation to Ryan's birthday party.
- Manage Conflicts
If both children have their hearts set on receiving gifts at their birthday party, as young children often do, consider the advice of psychotherapist Justin Lioi, who works with parents on parenting issues such as these. Lioi suggests, "Have the gifts sent to the children's respective homes, or collected before the guests enter the party, so the day can be focused on the children and not on the competition." If a jealousy issue does arise between the two birthday kids -- perhaps one child received more gifts than the other -- help your child manage his feelings, away from the party if necessary. "Allow the child to cry, to be upset, however long this feeling needs to be expressed (as long as the child is not endangering self or others)," advises Lioi.
- Cater to Different Ages
If the birthday kids are a few years apart, it can be hard to make a party feel inclusive for all the guests. Your grade-schooler's buddies might love a three-legged race, but younger guests might not be able to keep up. Instead, opt for activities that are fun for everyone, no matter the age. Face painting, treasure hunts or cupcake decorating are activities that all your guests can enjoy together.
- Celebrate Individually, Too
Unless your birthday kids do happen to have the exact same birthday, such as with twins or triplets, it's also important to celebrate their individual birthdays -- even if it's simply with their favorite dinner and dessert at home on their actual birthdays. Consider saving their birthday celebrations with extended family for their actual birthdays, inviting grandparents or cousins to celebrate each child individually. While a joint birthday party can be a great solution, making sure your children feel special on the day they were born should always be a priority.
As a mom who has daughters with birthdays less than two weeks apart, Katie Kavulla has thrown more joint birthday parties than she can count.