Turning 13 is a big deal, so a 13th birthday party should be a big deal too. However, making a 13th birthday special does not have to be expensive – it really is the little things that are remembered.
Perceived in some cultures as the age when adulthood begins, 13 is the beginning of your childâ€™s official status as a teenager. This is cause for celebration in itself, in the hope they will make it relatively unscathed through the next seven, teen years! For many children, it is the also the year when they begin high school, yet another adventure on the character-building highway of life.
This can be the birthday which some parents like to mark with a special ceremony; a type of initiation, if you will, into adulthood. For boys, this may mean going on a â€˜men onlyâ€™ overnight camping trip (for example) or for girls, spending some special time away with their mother or other, significant women in their life.
At 13, your child may feel like they are too old for birthday parties, and may want to celebrate their birthday in a more â€˜grown upâ€™ way. Remember, no matter how much YOU want the parties to continue, this is their special day and they wonâ€™t thank you for embarrassing them â€“ even if it is with good intentions!
So when youâ€™re planning celebrations for your childâ€™s 13th birthday, keep them in the loop, and let their ideas be your guide. Some children may still want to have a party, but with a definite teenage theme. Others will want to go somewhere special, or just have a few friends around for a specific activity. Whatever you decide, here are some great ideas for making the day extra special.
You might find that your almost 13 year Â old is too old for traditional themed parties, but you can still tie the party together by choosing a specific colour, a type of food, or focusing on the type of entertainment. Your invitations, food and decorations can reflect the theme, and give the party a bigger sense of occasion. Some great 13th birthday themes include:
You could really go overboard with a DVD party by setting up your whole house to look like a movie theatre. Make snack trays out of old cardboard boxes, and serve your guests popcorn, choc-dipped ice creams, and a box of jaffas to eat during the movie.
Your party invitations could be in the form of â€œAdmit Oneâ€™ tickets, or a red ribbon card inviting your guests to a special movie premier. For some more Movie themed ideas check out the Movie Lovers article in our School Holiday section.
Many teenagers love pizza, so a pizza party is an easy theme to pull off. We have some great ideas for a Pizza Party in our Party Themes section, or simply order in a heap of pizzas and DVDâ€™s.
At 13, popular music is probably a big part of your childâ€™s life, and itâ€™s a great theme for both boys and girls. Invitations could be written on blank CDâ€™s using a permanent marker, or better still, make a digital slide show using your childâ€™s favourite music and video clips. (If you donâ€™t know how to do this on your computer, chances are your child will!)
Decorate your house to look like a recording studio with album covers, CD covers, posters, and fake trophies framing the walls. If you have a music software programme on your computer, you could have your guests make their own CD to take home. Rent some music videos and the kids will take care of the rest.
Games and activities are a tricky topic for teenagers, as many will just want to â€˜hang outâ€™ and the idea of games seems way too babyish. The problem with â€˜hanging outâ€™, is that it leaves plenty of room for gossiping, secrets, backstabbing and tears â€“ and dare I say it, itâ€™s almost a given with girls.
Activities for teenagers donâ€™t have to be structured games with lots of rules, but you should make sure there are plenty of things to keep them occupied. Bored teenagers cause trouble â€“ especially in groups â€“ so make sure you have a loose plan to keep them busy.
If youâ€™re having a slumber party, then your guests may like the idea of having some organised games, especially of the games are suitably cool. Our Games for Teenagers article has some great ideas that are tried, tested and approved by the fussiest teenage kids.
If the idea of having a party at home seems like too much chaos, why not have your childâ€™s birthday party elsewhere. There are plenty of great birthday party venues throughout the country, and your child could take one special friend, or a whole group of mates. Favourite teenage party venues include:
- Rock Climbing
- Ten Pin Bowling
- Laser Strike
- â€˜Grown Upâ€™ Restaurant
- Horse Riding
- Art and Craft Workshop
- Gaming Parlour
- Blo Karting
- Go Karting
- A special sports event, show or concert
- Aquatic Centre or Water Park
- Theme Park
Milestone birthdays are a great chance to introduce traditions and rituals to your family, and turning 13 is definitely a milestone! 13 marks the beginning of the teenage years, and your relationship with your child is all about to change. Here are some nice ways to make memories on your childâ€™s 13th birthday.
- By the time your child turns 13, it is likely that they will have developed an interest in a specific sport or hobby, and chances are there is someone â€˜famousâ€™ that they look up to. In New Zealand, we are blessed to have celebrities who remember their roots and are not only happy to mentor our young people, but they usually enjoy the chance to do so.Arranging a meeting with your childâ€™s hero may not be possible or practical, but organising a letter or a birthday card from them is certainly a do-able feat. New Zealand is such a small country that tracking down your childâ€™s hero is not that hard, and the contact you make will provide a lasting memory for your child.
- Give the birthday child a special dinner out, or a weekend away with you on their own. Treat the birthday child to a truly â€˜grown upâ€™ experience, where you can both talk about what it means to turn 13, and what the years ahead will bring.
- Make becoming a teenager a time when your child earns the right to do something like go to the movies on their own, have their own EFTPOS card, or mobile phone. Whatever the â€˜thingâ€™ is, keep the same rule for every child in the house, and they will all have something to look forward to on their 13th birthday. Being allowed to do the â€˜thingâ€™ is a gift on its own.
Happy 13th Birthday!