Given how much time and money is spent on kids’ birthday parties—not to mention how it can sometimes be frustrating for parents—over the next several weeks, we’ll be looking at some solutions and tips for keeping the focus on the fun and celebration.

Let’s start with one of the most important parts to kids—the gifts. At an average of $10-$15 a pop times 20 kids in a class, you’re talking a significant investment. You’re also looking at a lot of time spent picking toys out. In elementary school, kids will probably have on average as many as two parties a month, and that’s just counting the kids in their classes. If there are parties for kids in after-school activities, it can quickly become a tightly packed social schedule

Here are a few ways to make it a little easier:

  1. Hoard. Okay, perhaps a better expression is “stock up.” In the early part of the year, you’ll find great deals on toys. Whether retailers are starting to clear out toys left over from the holidays or new items are hitting the shelves, prices are generally lower in the beginning months of the year. That means you can get more bang for your buck. The issue will come down to whether the costs of stocking and storing are worth it, but don’t forget the ease of being able to pull something out without a special trip to the store.
  2. Choose. Do you want to spend hours in the store every month trying to figure out what to buy? I didn’t think so. You may want to pick two or three different presents for boys and two or three for girls. And maybe one or two that are gender neutral. For example, the Yomega Power Brain may be good for boys or girls. Of course if the boys are into Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for instance, you can stock up on figures. Kids collect and/or trade them, so duplicates may not be a problem. The I Can Be Line from Barbie, such as the I Can Be Pet Vet offers a lot of play value at a very reasonable cost.
  3. Buy. Every couple of months (perhaps three or four times a year), sit down with your kids and come up with some ideas. You can use your Toy Advisor to help you. Once you make your choices, you can make a single trip to the store—or order online where you may qualify for free shipping.
  4. Relax. When it comes time to get ready for the party, your kids can “shop” from the gifts you’ve purchased. Wrap it up, and you’re ready to go.

Of course, this is just one strategy you can try. If you don’t want to buy or store presents you can follow the same strategy of selecting several toys you think are appropriate and add them to an online shopping cart. When you get the invitation to the party, simply click on “buy,” and you’ll be good to go. (Just be sure to check in-stock status and delivery time when you do.)

Or you can experiment and find the method that’s best for you and your family. The main idea is to make this stress-free for you and fun for your kids. That way everyone has a good time.

 

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