Friday, January 27, 2012

(Birthday) Party Politics.

Busy turned 5 yesterday. We escaped town early- as we are in the middle of a flood but the main road was open and we went to see the Muppets again so Grandma (who is visiting) and Daddy could see it too. We loved it again. 

We came home and made a birthday cake and played with all the new toys. Busy got a new bike but obviously with the torrential rain.... she has a party planned for this Sunday which may have to be postponed with the torrential rain.... town is completely cut off....

ANYWAY I am getting to the point now: 

The other night on twitter I was complaining about how RIDICULOUS Pass the Parcel has become. Since when does every child get a prize - as opposed to a red frog or something or NOTHING at all and the birthday child gets the big prize at the end??? I don't get this and I don't like what it teaches them. The birthday child already has loads of presents so then they win another one? 

Games are about playing them, it is fun to play games, there is not always a winner isn't it about joining in??  

Why are we constantly teaching them they need to get rewarded for everything? Like with kids' sport  how they all get a trophy at the end? I think that is over the top. I think they should get something to acknowledge that they have played well and participated in a team etc - like a certificate but a trophy? I think it's too much. 

I think we rely on it. I know this happens a lot in the first bit of school- with lots of rewards and stickers but I don't think it is necessary. Don't we want them to be well behaved because we ask them to be? Don't we want them to participate because its fun to play. Busy's preschool does not reward children for behaviour and the children are great. Their stance is we follow the rules end of story- I like this. I like that their are expectations and consequences for not following them but it's expected that you will. 

By teaching them that everything gets a prize or all good behaviour is rewarded are we teaching them to constantly expect praise? I think we are. I do not like it.

So after much discussion from this this this and this clever mumma we came up with some great alternatives to pass the parcel- we are doing cake decorating which was Busy's idea and we are going to read some books and maybe do some other craft or word games...

 But this clever cookie came up with the greatest tshirt slogan: SAY NO TO EGALITARIAN PASS THE PARCEL. 

What do you think??  Do you think children are over -rewarded??Praised over EVERYTHING?? too much praise? how do you handle it at your house?

Last chance to enter the giveway scroll down! 


  1. I agree - it sends the wrong message when a game can't be a game. Children need to learn about luck, winning, losing, and graciousness in both.

  2. Happy birthday Busy!! That cake looks fantastic :)
    We have loooong held discussions and private rants in this household about everyone-gets-a-prize-pass-the-parcel (egalitarian makes it sound like it's a good thing... to me anyway.) Totally agree with you on this bizarre practice. I think it's funny how generations try to give their children what they missed out on and the quest to bolster self-esteem has certainly reached epidemic proportions of overkill. The optimist in me has every faith in the pendulum swinging back the other way in time ;) In the meantime... yah! Let's start the push of the pendulum back towards a meritocracy :) Kx

  3. Forgot to add... Glad you guys are on high ground. Stay safe :) Kx

  4. Have been thinking about you with the floods. On monday we were drove nearly to Kempsey and then about faced. Decided it wasn't such a great week to camp up there.
    I agree totally with the reward/prize scenarios. I found preschool was fine but once school came there are rewards coming from every angle, including food rewards( which I could rant on and on about).
    Have a great party Busy!

  5. Oh gosh I totally think the birthday child should not get the big pressie! Kids' birthday party presents make me totally anxious these days anyway, because it's 90% plastic crap that is so wasteful in so many ways. I'd rather avoid pass-the-parcel altogether, and have considered saying 'no presents please' on party invites, but haven't had the guts yet. We just don't have many parties for the kids, meanies we are!
    I feel the school our boys attend has a good balance of rewards... a few small things here and there like maybe a special eraser or the odd 'you're a star' kind of certificate, but nothing OTT. The kids seem to enjoy learning more than I did at that age. But nothing should ever be expected for nothing, you know?

  6. Oh gosh and while I'm on a rant can I just add another 'rewards' thing I despise is when kids do something for charity e.g. MS Readathon or Jump Rope For Heart they get these ridiculous prizes based on how much money they raise! It's a) completely wasteful rubbish, b) unfair on those who don't have the ability to collect as much money and c) against the spirit of fundraising for a good cause. Aargh!
    (Sorry, end rant.)

  7. I dont even do games really until they are about 6. We had pass the parcel this year for Miss 6 and there was only one prize and certainly not for my girl.

    We also had musical statues, but they were all pretty good so I had to give a prize to the best dancer in the end and they just all danced around for ages.

    I set up a craft table at each of the parties too, for Miss 3 is was more stickers and decorating, Miss 6 was more advanced, but the older kids hardly touched it, they were all just off doing that thing, you know, it is from the olden days, but we now have a name for it 'free play'.

    I had a couple of other games for just in case, but it was hard enough to round them all up for cake so I didn't bother.

  8. Happy bday Miss Busy, you look absolutely gorgeous!
    glad you guys are safe, cannot believe all the downpour when Melbourne is so dry.
    As for party games, I don't do them, I much rather set up a craft table, outside toys, bikes, trampoline etc and the kids can just play...and be kids.
    I don't know about the rewards & bribes to perform, I'd rather see things as an incentive.
    not all kids are the same, but some kids need a little encouragement to do certain things. i am not talking about team sports or charity fundraisers but sometimes a little incentive can go a long way.
    as adults we need incentives to perform, to go to work. I am not against stickers or stamps because I think every child is different.
    all in moderation I say.

    Happy celebrating Busy!! ♥

  9. Constant rewards teach kids to do something for a reward, they don't think about what they are doing, what it means, or why. They focus on the prize at the end. When they get to school this makes it hard to teach them because they don't want to learn, they want the reward, the content is second.

    It is sad that this is what we are teaching our young people.

  10. Oh man! You and my farmer boy could have a very long ranty chat about this one. He HATES it! We don't really do pass the parecel anymore. Or if we do we make each layer a competition like in the old days when we were kids. Who can do the longest handstand? Who has green undies on? etc.

    But most importantly HAPPY BIRTHDAY MISS BUSY!!!!!!!!!!


  11. Oh and while I had my ranty pants on I did forget to say Happy Birthday to your dear little one!

  12. @Jane: Ranty pants! I love it!

    I agree that birthday parties are a minefield these days. Parties at McDonalds, plastic crap filled grab bags (since when did we get anything except a piece of cake and a balloon to take home?), etc etc.

    Best birthday party game I did was when we had a party on the beach. Pretty much the only game we played (they were having too much fun climbing trees and being pirates) was 'who could throw stones into the water furtherest/biggest splash/most arm swings/while balancing on tiptoes'.

  13. And Happy Birthday, Busy!!!!! Love your cake!

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. What a fantastic cake and happy birthday Busy! I hope you are okay with the rain and flooding. I think it balances out in the end. Kids either get too competative when there is only one prize or expect to get rewarded for everything. I don't agree with the birthday child winning the big prize but it can add to the fun if everyone gets who it stops on randomly gets a little something.

  16. FINALLY someone agrees!!!!

    I remember as a child it been simple and only one prize at the end... Prize being very simple. NOTHING like what they do now. Easy I liked it. I also remember simple parties you know all rock up at someones house and play! No preplanned/organised etc etc parties - just free fun. The highlight was cake and ALL your friends together to play!

  17. Happy B-day BUSY! Now, don't get me started on loot bags... my focus for parties is always the food - party food, all the things we tend to hold back on normally, and then just let the kids play doing whatever they want. No games... no expectations - no disappointment (for parents or child).

  18. We agree about pass the parcel here too... but we've just followed the crowd and put a little something in each layer. We've only played the game with three year olds. They were too young... if it wasn't for the chocolate frog they'd have all gone walk about much earlier.
    Nonetheless I agree whole heartedly with your sentiments. Especially the trophy bit. I don't need my kids bringing home things that I need to dust if they haven't busted their guts to earn it. I really hate cleaning!

  19. Before I climb up beside on everyone else on my the soapbox let me say *Happy Birthday Miss Busy*.

    I wholeheartedly agree with the previous comments. My party philosophy when they were small was simple - let them play, let them eat, send them home on a sugar rush. Now they are older it is more along the lines of - let them watch movies, let them eat, send them home sleep-deprived.

    Our children get so much adult direction and attention in their lives that just backing off and letting them set the agenda is sometimes a radical experience in itself.

  20. Sorry- completely distracted by those gorgeous curls, Miss Busy.
    Hope that you had a great day.

    Let's just say that I would wear one of those tees.

  21. I am a super dooper softy. My heart hurts and my tummy goes all squishy whenever I see that Buddy Jim is about to be let down/surprised/disappointed. I would be sad to sit there and watch him play pass the parcel and miss out on the prize at the end, because that's who I am! I get sad if his weetbix are too cold for him!


    BIG FAT BUT!!!!!

    My job is to be his mum and that means letting him miss out on stuff, making sure he misses out on the prize, making sure he doesn't win at everything, because my job as his mum is to teach him how to cope with those situations so that when he is 15 and doesn't win, or 33 and misses out, he knows how to deal with it all by himself. Because a cuddle from mum isn't going to fix everything for the rest of his life.

    So it's stingy and it hurts but it is VITAL.

    Kid's gotta learn how to lose, yo.

  22. Oh I hope Busy had a tremendous day!

    Here in the States, the big thing at parties is The Dreaded Goody Bag! All kids get one at the end of party filled with candy and plastic crap! I don't do them, I hate them! Last year we cut out cardboard masks and had markers and feathers for decorating the masks and each child got to take their masks home. It was such a huge success that now we will do a craft project every year until she forces us to stop :)
    That way, the kids go home with a "prize", the craft keeps them occupied for a time and there are no hurt feelings about it. Win!

  23. Hilarious. Just home from camping where there was one long-winded and ranty conversation with the other Mum about todays version of Pass the Bloody Parcel.


  24. Agree, the amount of mollycoddling that's going on is insane, it's not helping anyone really and just breeds kids that cry allot when things don't go their way. Life is tough and you have to equip your kids to deal with it. I could go on for hours about it! (I'm very passionate on this topic, thanks for bringing it up) although I wouldn't knock back a cash prize if they gave one to all the lotto players!
    Sar x

  25. Just catching up -
    Happy Birthday to M!!
    She is growing so fast - is she starting a prep or kindy school now?XX

  26. When you train a dog in the beginning it is all about the treats and the big fussy praise. Eventually they learn to do what you ask without treats. Do we really think kids can not handle what dogs do? Nothing wrong with lots of affection but telling your kids they are always a winner, always the best and brightest well, all I can say is I work in a high school and entitled children can be difficult.

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