Do we let our kid open presents during their birthday party or after?

If you’re a parent of a younger child it’s probably a question you’ve asked yourself more times than Regis Philbin asked ‘is that your final answer’ on Who Wants to be a Millionaire?  back in the day. Yes, there are plenty of things to stress about while getting ready for your kid’s birthday party, but this shouldn’t be one of them. 

While you can spend hours online reading opinions supporting both sides of the argument, in the end it really comes down to just a handful of factors as to why you would or wouldn’t open presents during the birthday party.


Is There Enough Time?

People often worry about whether or not there will be enough time to open presents during their kid’s birthday party or if doing so will grind an otherwise fun party to a halt. Here’s a little secret. All of that depends on the person putting together the party, you.

The timing of a party is all up to you and how much planning you put into the event. If you want to have your child open their birthday presents in front of their friends and timing is the only thing in your way you can easily fix that. Schedule out your events and prioritize what’s most important for your son or daughter on their big day. If opening presents is towards the top of the list, make sure you’ve built in enough time to make it happen.


Are There be Too Many Birthday Presents to Open?

As a kid there’s no such thing as getting too many birthday presents at your birthday party. But how many presents are too many for the party guests to sit there and watch someone open before they feel like the Bachelor contestant who can’t get a date, completely bored?

First off, it depends on the type of party. If it is a family gathering for this particular birthday party than the number shouldn’t matter. Family members are there to simply celebrate in the joy of your young one being on this  planet for another 364 days.

If you’ve invited 25 of your child’s closest classmates — let’s be honest, they probably barely know most of them — opening birthday gifts becomes more of a task. Keeping all of those kids engaged and interested is probably a tougher task than attempting to make sense of what’s going on in Game of Thrones.

Opening 10 to 15 birthday presents is probably the sweet spot depending on your kid’s age. Again, this is something that you can easily control based on how you plan the party and the number of people you decide to invite.


Will Opening Gifts at the Birthday Party Create Jealousy?

This is probably the greyest of grey areas on the topic. How do you know what will make another child jealous? Does it even matter?

In the end, it is pretty simple. If opening gifts will bring your child joy on his or her birthday that’s what’s most important. Quite frankly, if another child in attendance becomes jealous because the birthday kid is getting the attention and gifts that’s the other parent’s problem, not yours. Pixar wouldn’t stop putting out great animated films because Dreamworks got jealous so why would you limited your child’s joy at their birthday party because of jealousy?


What if My Child Reacts Poorly to a Birthday Gift in Front of Everyone?

The short answer is, that’s on you.

Manners aren’t something that can just appear or disappear at the drop of a hat. If you’re making sure your child knows what is and isn’t appropriate behavior in public situations you shouldn’t have to worry too much about how they’ll react at their birthday party.

Sure, younger kids tend to say things spontaneously and react on the fly and that’s ok. As television has taught us, kids say the darndest things, and people accept that kids 3 to 5 years old tend to say what’s on their mind. If you’re concerned about the perception, maybe opening gifts at your kid’s birthday party isn’t for you.

Either way, making sure to thank your guests as they leave and then following up with a thank you note is a must whether or not you decide to open them. It shows gratitude even if your child has an honest reaction or if you don’t open birthday gifts in front of the person who gave it.


"Should You Open Gifts at Kids Birthday Parties?" was last updated September 20th, 2019 by

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