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when your child becomes a party animal

WRITTEN BY Amber Sabathia

Back to School | Mommy Mogul | Amber Sabathia

Make your plan based on their personalities

When throwing my kids a party I always ask them what they want. I’m not saying that I give them exactly what they ask for, but they have a better imagination and ideas for a fun and entertaining party.

When I asked my daughter for her preference last summer, she asked me to recreate the TV show Wipeout in our back yard. Her imagination was phenomenal, but I knew that it was impossible to provide. Instead, we had a water balloon fight with different colors of paint. We told the invitees to wear all white and something that can get paint on it.

I was able to find this idea on Pinterest when I searched backyard parties. The kids had a blast being human anvases, running around in the grass and splattering each other with paint.


Most times the parents’ idea of a good party is much more extravagant than what the child truly wants. For our eldest’s first birthday, I went way over budget hosting a backyard barbecue that entertained the adults more than the kids.

After sweating over themed favors for weeks and a photo shoot that left me in tears, I realized it wasn’t worth the time and money spent. He slept through almost the whole party and was overwhelmed by the large number of guests reaching out to hold him.

Looking back, I know he would have enjoyed a small jumpy house with a few toddlers and a little smash cake.

A 1-year-old doesn’t even get the concept of blowing out a candle. I have learned to hold off on the larger arties until age 5, when the child can appreciate it and cherish the memories.

I have also found it effective to combine my four children’s parties into a “Sabathia Takeover” at Space in Englewood. The party rental facility lets us to invite all four classrooms, because now everyone needs to be nvited. But the stress of clean up is eliminated. We show up, party like animals and head home.


Now, my biggest issue has become the gift-getting. I always end up with multiples of the newest this or that, which my child sometimes already has. These multiples can be donated if double purchases are made. Or as the kids get older and gift cards and cash become the gift of choice, we can make donations to favorite charities. Or they can be used for other things like new cleats or a baseball bag.

I’m teaching my children the value of money, while also letting family and friends know their gift is used for something needed and not just wanted.

I’d rather concentrate on enjoying the party and not focus on the gifts, steering away from a toy that eventually gets left on a shelf. Giving back to your charity of choice helps kids understand about caring for others and that is the greatest gift you can give yourself.

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