Inside you’ll find the thing that kids will remember about their birthdays for years to come, and it is not presents. This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Chuck E Cheese’s. The opinions and text are all mine.
Years ago we lived in Australia.
Living there in Sydney, I clearly remember the morning of my daughter’s 3rd birthday.
I remember it because I cried. Ugly tears.
Not because she was getting older or growing up – although that made me sad as well – I cried because we were so far away from all our family and none of them would be there.
I was sad for her and sorry for myself.
Sad she was missing out on some close family relationships I had enjoyed as a child. And sorry for myself that I wouldn’t be able to have a good “party” for her.
As I allowed myself a moment to feel this it became clear to me.
Birthdays weren’t about presents or even parties, as such. They were about celebrating the birth and life of your child. And you could do this without presents.
That birthday we made memories. We had a fantastic day in the city and we still talk about it.
She still remembers.
She has no clue what toys she played with at the time or what present she got. She remembers the memories we made.
Since then the focus has changed
Now, instead of just giving tons of presents and making the birthday about the “things” we do something else on our children’s birthdays.
We make memories.
We have fun together.
We go and DO something.
My third born middle child is about to turn 4. I can hardly believe it. He often get caught there in the middle. Not as old as the “older kids” and not as young as the “babies.” We wanted to do something particularly fun for him. Something that would be exciting and would allow all the family to come along.
Where he could be the “star” for a few hours.
We landed on Chuck E. Cheese as our destination and the kids didn’t know enough about it to get excited. We prepared them that our Middle Man would be the birthday boy and we wanted to make sure he had a great time.
For us the goal is to have fun together as a family. We had aunts, a great uncle, Nana and a great grandmother. Plus mommy and daddy. And 4 other siblings. We got our unlimited cards and went at it.
Kids love laughing together
Children love having fun with their parents. In fact, research on families has said a great predictor of a solid family life and good relationships after the kids move out is this: high quality shared experiences.
High quality meaning everyone was engaged and having a good time together.
We each took a child – we seriously had an adult per child – and went to the different games. The kids had the best time. They would play a game, run up to my husband or myself and share their “Can you believe it?” news. We laughed, collected tickets, and enjoyed not having to organize, cook, or clean anything.
Kids love time with you
Part of creating a strong family culture is spending time together. There is no substitute for hours clocked together. The kids were so happy our family was coming along to share the time together.
In fact, we didn’t even bring presents.
Our darling birthday boy went from activity to activity and had the biggest grin on his face. He seriously felt like he won the lottery. He was the only child with a name tag (he called it a badge) and had a big medal.
He’s talked about it since that day.
It was a unanimous success for everyone. The adults, the kids, and most importantly the birthday boy.
My oldest son has requested his next birthday be at Chuck E. Cheese as well.
And I think we’ll oblige.
If you’ve got a birthday party coming up, I can honestly recommend you go to a Chuck E. Cheese near you. The food is child friendly and tasty (it was tasty the next two days as well, ha). Each child present gets a Super Goodie Bag and, as with our option, Unlimited Play.
This means during the two hour party time, you can play games the whole time. Without worrying about tokens. This made it much easier for our little ones.
We booked online and just showed up. We didn’t have anything to prep and were well taken care of the whole evening. It was absolutely a night to remember.