If you're worried about the expense or hassle of having a child's birthday party, sharing the party with another child with a similar birthday date can be a great idea. It not only avoids conflicting parties, but may make your party less expensive and less work. Other parents will be thankful too as it means one less scheduling conflict for them! We've got tips on how to pull it off. The first step is to identify a likely co-host. Ideally, it will be someone with a birthday very close to your kid's, otherwise it could be hard to schedule. The other child should have a significant number of friends in common with your child. Perhaps they're in the same class at school or live on the same block, or do an activity together. To keep the party from getting out of hand in terms of numbers, you'll want most of the guests to be invited by both kids. Also, ideally you will be friends with the other parent.

Any time you're dealing with something involving timing, money, or children things can get sensitive. If you and the other parent already have a good rapport it will save stress. You'll also want to run the co-party idea by both children. Alliances change quickly and the kid you thought was a good friend may now be someone your child doesn't even want to invite. Before you do anything else, even picking a date, discuss budget. Make sure you're on the same page. Once you have a rough budget in mind, you should both keep a running spreadsheet of party expenses. It will be easier if you each take on separate tasks (renting a venue, hiring entertainment, buying party favors) and then settle up when the party is over. This will save time and make scheduling easier. Ideally, you'll discuss all ideas before anyone takes action. You don't want to hire a clown only to discover that the other birthday child really wanted a magician. At the party itself, you'll want to have a few ice breaker games to help the children who don't know both birthday kids meet everyone. You'll also want to have separate cakes for each child. Guests should be free to choose whichever piece of cake they want, but every child deserves their own birthday cake!

You'll also want to have separate, discreet areas for guests to leave presents. It may be that one child has more presents, or bigger presents than the other, and you don't want to make that obvious. Parents who don't know both children will most likely only bring a present for the child they know. Because you won't know all the children attending, if you're having the party in a public place you'll definitely want a way of keeping track of the guests. Make sure you've discussed clean up arrangements with the other parent ahead of time. A day or two after the party you and the other parent can meet for coffee (or better yet, a drink) and work out the math.