MummyPages.ie, Ireland’s leading parenting community counts the costs of our primary school children’s birthday parties. The results are shocking with the costs of birthday parties and gifts adding up to an average sum of €5,460 over a ten year period from preschool to sixth class.
Eight in ten mums report dreading the added expense of the primary school year birthday marathon which sees children being invited to at least 12 birthday parties per year with an average spend of €15 each time on gifts for their children’s friends or €180 per year. The insights garnered from MummyPages research reveals that the average cost of hosting a child’s birthday party is surprisingly more expensive at home at €387 compared to €344 at a commercial party venue.
Children’s Birthday Parties by Numbers in Ireland:
20: The average number of children under 8 years invited to a party
11: The average number of children aged 8-12 years invited to a party
6: The average number of weeks spent planning a child’s party
69%: The percentage of mums who report their children requesting a themed birthday cake
68%: The percentage of mums who host their child’s birthday party at an outside venue
32%: The percentage of mum who host their child’s birthday party at home, of these mums;
o 77%: Hire private entertainment
o 21%: Hire a bouncy castle
o 70%: Make their own party food
o 21%: Bake a homemade birthday cake
o 43%: Buy a themed birthday cake from the supermarket
o 36%: Order a bespoke birthday cake from a specialist cake shop
o 28%: Offer healthy alternatives in terms of food and drinks
o 21%: Play traditional party games
Additional Insights from MummyPages research on the cost of birthday parties in Ireland:
• The average parent will spend €5,460 on birthday parties and gifts per child aged 3 right up to 12 years
• The average cost of a child (under 12) birthday party is €366
• Mums report being invited to at least 12 birthday parties per year with an average spend of €15 each time on gifts.
• Mums spend €180 per child per year on birthday gifts for their child’s friends
• 63% of mums report feeling under pressure financially when it comes to covering the cost of their children’s birthday parties
• 80% of mums dread the expense of the primary school year birthday marathon
• 38% of mums ask their child’s teacher to discreetly distribute party invitation in the school bags or school homework folders of the children.
• 62% of mums invite children by directly contacting their parents via text, email or WhatsApp
• 23% of mums admit to re-gifting birthday presents to other children
• 82% of mums feel under pressure to ensure their child’s party holds the same wow-factor as parties hosted by their friends
• 93% of mums admit the birthday party loot bags are an essential item for parties of children aged 8 and under.
• 53% of mums report feeling concerned about the amount of sugary treats their child would consume at a birthday party
• 86% of mums are unhappy about the limited range of ‘junk food’ on offer from full-service party venues
• 55% of mums feel parents of children under the age of 6 should offer to stay at a birthday party to help supervise
When it comes to birthday party politics a number of schools have introduced policies asking parents to invite the whole class to ensure no child is left out. This can make it a costly affair for parents who have to cater for an entire class ranging from 20 to 35 children. Some schools prohibit the distribution of party invitations on school grounds, despite this 38% of mums ask their child’s teacher if they can discreetly distribute party invitations while six in ten mums opt to contact parents directly via text, email or WhatsApp. Nearly one in four savvy mums admit to re-gifting birthday presents in order to help reduce the cost of birthday parties.
Sadly, when it comes to organising birthday party a competitive streak has emerged with eight in ten mums feeling under pressure to ensure their child’s party holds the same wow-factor as parties hosted by their friends. Another costly aspect reported by mums (93%) are the party bags which according to our mum community are a prerequisite for parties of children under 8 years of age.
The current war on sugar has resulted in over half of mums (53%) admitting to feeling concerned over sugary treats available at birthday parties. Interestingly, however, MummyPages reports the emergence of a popular new trend with 28% of mums offering health alternative to food and drinks at children’s birthday parties. While many mums favour the convenience of hosting a child’s birthday party in a commercial venue the majority of mums (86%) are unhappy about the limited range of ‘junk food’ on offer at the party venues.
According to Laura Haugh, Mum-in-Residence for MummyPages.ie, Ireland’s biggest online parenting community:
“The cost of both hosting and attending birthday parties can be a financial worry for parents of young primary school children where the trend is to invite the whole class, with friendships evolving and school policies dictating that nobody is left out”
“The average birthday party costs parents €366 per child in addition to the €180 they will spend on gifts for their friends throughout the year. This adds up to a whopping €5,460 per child over ten years. Our mums reported that their children are invited to at least 12 birthday parties per year with an average spend of €15 each time on gifts. This is no piece of cake for parents who are already feeling the pinch.”
“The mummy wars also extend to birthday parties unfortunately, with the theme, cake and entertainment becoming increasingly competitive in order to wow both children and parents alike. Thankfully the competition is not based on how much money is spent, but rather how creative the parent hosting the party is and how much effort has been put in to give a unique party experience. Some parents book their child’s party entertainment months in advance, while others researching and practice the creation of their child’s birthday cake, by their own hand, for weeks before the big day!”
“Our advice is to be sensible. There are bound to be lots of mums in your child’s class who feel the same as you do in terms of the cost or indeed the amount of organising involved. A good idea is start a parent’s council in your child’s year or class so that the parents can club together and share birthday parties with their class mates who are all born in the same month. Many parish halls and community centres now hire out their facilities to parents looking to host an inexpensive party outside of their home.”
“Birthday party food needn’t break the bank either with lots of easy, healthy and fun recipes available on our website. Some of our mums have chosen to make their own food for the main party and then hire an ice-cream van as a novelty treat towards the end of the event.”