Plan a party for multiples

Oct 8, 2009 at 7:36 p.m. ET

Planning a special birthday party for one child can be challenging, but multiplying that by two, three or more can be downright dizzying!

Twins blowing out birthday candles

Time is extremely limited for parents of multiples, so it's important to plan a party that celebrates the individuality and uniqueness within each child, while maintaining some semblance of sanity for mom and dad.

Here are some simple planning suggestions to help lower a parent's stress level enough to relax and actually enjoy the momentous occasion!

You have multiple babies, not guests

As is the case with single child birthday parties, it's always best to stick to the basics, starting with the number of guests. A general rule of thumb is usually to invite one child per year of age. For example, four guests for a four year old, six for a six year old, etc. If you feel ambitious, you may want to consider increasing this ratio slightly for twins, triplets, quads, etc., but always keep in mind the ages of the guests you are inviting.

Agree on a theme

Planning a birthday party for twins or multiples when the children are opposite sex or when each of them wants to have a different "theme" can pose a challenge. Combine fun with simplicity by choosing from some of the following unisex and complementary themes:

  • Primary colors (like crayons)
  • Shapes (think squares, triangles and circles)
  • Favorite stories (if they can't decide, create space to honor each child's favorite story)
  • Animals
  • Bugs
  • Carnival (careful of bringing in clowns for younger children as some don't have favorable reactions)
  • Western rodeo
  • Alphabet letters (give homage to the letters in a child's name by creating decorations and offering food that begin with that letter)
  • Cheerleader & football/basketball (for girl and boy combinations)
  • Astronomy (picture decorations of the stars and the moon)
  • Art (maybe a Picasso party)
  • For older multiples, consider an interactive scavenger hunt or mystery party theme.

Let them eat cake

Prepare to have a cake for each child. To make it easier, you may want to order cupcakes to which you can easily add a candle and effortlessly distribute. Parents can decide whether or not to sing "Happy Birthday" multiple times, but remember that by the third time around, the guests' voices may start to sound a little weary thereby diminishing the intent of the song, and smashing the spirit of the child.

Thoughtful gifts

Guests that are invited to a multiple birthday party often wonder whether or not to bring multiple gifts. Consider indicating on the invitations your preference, like "no gifts" or "single gifts", or maybe a donation to a charity or towards a zoo membership for the family in lieu of a gift.

Stick to a budget

Planning a party for multiple children does not have to mean that expenses increase exponentially. Develop a budget and devise a plan that allows you to adhere to that budget in order to minimize the after party sticker shock. Consider these budget birthday party ideas.

Planning a party for numerous children can be fun and exciting when you remember that there are little people behind those numbers. Use these suggestions for a creative way to celebrate them at these milestones.