Childhood birthday parties are supposed to be fun, but not every kid wants to have a big social gathering. These tips for having a birthday party for an introverted child will help you give them a special day without it being too draining.
Tips for Having a Birthday Party for an Introverted Child
You know your kid best, so definitely consider what your introverted child will want and need for their birthday party. These are just some suggestions to make their birthday more comfortable and fun for a shy or introverted child.
Keep guests to a minimum
Now is not the time to invite the whole class or an army of cousins! If your child has a core friend group, just invite them to your introverted child’s birthday party. Or if you’re celebrating with family, swap the big family party with a smaller meal with grandparents only.
Consider having the party at home
If the party and socialization alone are going to stress out, your introverted child don’t add to it by hosting the party at a venue. Instead, keep your little one right where they feel safe: at home. It also means they know exactly where to escape to if the party gets to be too much.
Keep decorations and activities to a manageable level
Look, we all have a bit of Pinterest spirit in us, but that doesn’t mean everything has to be decorated (or perfect). A shy or easily overwhelmed introverted child might find too many decorations stimulating. Likewise, your focus on decorating and party prep might stress them out.
Decide how much your child will tolerate being the center of attention
Some kids don’t want all that attention, even if it is their birthday. Figure out what might work best for your child and plan around it. Should you sing the happy birthday song before they blow out candles or skip right to cake? Would they rather open gifts once everyone leaves and send thank you notes rather than at the party?
Keep it short
Decide how much time is ideal for your introverted child’s birthday party and set it to that. Even if you can’t plan a lot in that time, it’s better than your kid not having a good time. 2-3 hours is plenty of time for most young kids, older kids you’ll have to decide based on what they want to do, and their personality.
Don’t play competitive games
Sometimes everyone can be a winner, especially at a birthday party. Make sure you plan party games that aren’t crazy competitive (think pin the tail on the donkey, a scavenger hunt, charades, etc.), and if there is a prize element, make sure everyone gets one.
An introverted child is not the best choice for a surprise party unless you’re sure they’ll be happy with it. Even if the party isn’t a surprise, though, avoid planning anything “special” for their birthday party that might be unexpected and unwelcome. Especially if it involves a big change in plans.
Don’t put your own desires on your child
This is especially true if you’re an extroverted parent raising an introverted, quiet, or shy child. Just because your idea of a party is having the whole class running around doesn’t mean that’s what your kid is going to be most comfortable, or happy doing.
Birthday party ideas for an introverted child:
- Movie theatre or movie night
- Family dinner at their favourite restaurant
- A sleepover with a best friend or two
- Day at the museum or zoo with a small group of friends
- Pizza party with friends
- A crafting party
- Inviting a few friends over to play video games or board games
- Have a treasure hunt
- Visit a petting zoo or have an animal encounter
How can you help make your introverted child’s birthday party more enjoyable?
Of course, the whole goal of throwing a birthday party for your child is for them to have fun! Here are some ways that you can make birthday parties a little bit easier on shy, quiet, or introverted kids.
Trust your child to make the guest list
Unless your child is young and doesn’t have their own friends yet you should be taking their thoughts into the top consideration when deciding who to invite. If they only want to invite two kids, for example, find a way to make it work with both kids’ parents. If there’s someone they don’t want there, don’t force an invitation that will make them uncomfortable.
Involve them in the planning
Let them help decide on the party theme and activities; you might be surprised what your introverted child wants to do for their birthday party. Remember to keep an open mind and that it’s not about what you want, as much as you want to make it special for your child.
Make sure they know what’s going on ahead of time
If your child is shy or introverted, it’s especially important that they know exactly what’s going to be happening. As RSVPs come in, let your kid know who’s attending. Make sure they also know the plan for the party including games, cake, presents, etc.
Lead the way
With some birthday parties you can really just let the kids run around and they’ll have a good time. But, if your introverted child is a bit nervous to lead their friends, then it’s not a good plan for this birthday party. Instead, plan games and activities and take on the leadership role to explain and facilitate them, so your child doesn’t have to.
Avoid too many photos and videos
They grow up so fast! As parents, we want to savor every moment because it seems like it all happens so fast. For an introverted child, though, pictures and video can sometimes be very stressful. Try and keep your photography and videography to a minimum during the party. It’s also a good idea to warn a shy child beforehand when you will want to take pictures, for example, as they blow out their candles.
Hopefully, these tips for having a birthday party for an introverted child will make things easier on both of you. Just remember to relax and take your kid’s lead when it comes to what works best on their special day.