When my now 9 year old was younger things like taking a few friends to the cinema or bowling were acceptable birthday treats but I've noticed that parties that our youngest son who is nearly five is invited to are becoming more and more extravagant. Gone are the days of soft play parties or a few friends invited for tea, no no no, I'm talking a petting zoo in the garden, a coach to the seaside or hiring out a soft play centre exclusively for the hire of a 4 year olds party.
I have to admit, we're not completely innocent. Back in January we spent a VERY pretty penny on hiring a double decker bus that had been converted into a soft play and play centre for our son's 4th birthday but what we forget is that the cost doesn't end there.
By time we added up what we had spent on the Party Bus, food, party bags, decorations, drinks and prizes for the games, we could have actually taken the 3 kids away for a week!
The problem with this was that it set a precedent. If we could do that for the little one then what was we going to do for our daughter for her 11th and then what would we do for our sons 9th birthday in September?
It seems that parents feel compelled to put on 'The Greatest Show on Earth' instead of a simple treat that our children would probably be equally pleased with. Let's face it, it's clearly not our children that we are trying to please with such lavish events and do they really remember them a month or two down the line?
After our temporary loss of sanity over this years birthday parties we have made a pact that we will not be putting on such elaborate 'displays' next year and should the children ask why we shall simply ask them to recall what they can actually remember from their last party!
Do you go overboard for your children's birthdays or do you feel is all just about keeping up with the Joneses?