Your child’s first kids birthday party came and went in a flash. The family came over and had some cake and other refreshments while socializing. The baby probably slept or spread cake and icing all over themselves. As any seasoned parent can tell you, this is the easiest party to throw. The guest of honor is happy with whatever you do!
Then they start growing up. Along with the toddler years comes all the expectations of birthday parties with their friends. If they go to a party with the “cast” of Frozen, they’ll want a party with characters from their favorite movie as well. Before you run around to throw that dream party for your prince or princess, you’ll want to keep a few dos and don’ts in mind.
Do: Find Out What Your Toddler Wants
Let your toddler decide a few age-appropriate things in order to give them a sense of pride in the party. Ask them what theme they would like or characters. Older kids can pick out cakes and decorations, as well as think about which friends they would like to go to the party. While you know you can’t give in to every request, you can use their suggestion as a starting point.
</h2>Do: Know Your Child!</h2>
Before losing your sanity trying to hire characters for their chosen themed party, decide if it might be too much. Some children are perfectly fine with large crowds. If your child loves crowds and being the center of attention, you can easily go with a short themed party. If your toddlers has a meltdown if they are the center of attention for too long, you may want to consider something else. Any parent knows that just because your child thinks they want something does not mean it is the best idea for either of you. If your toddler is easily overwhelmed, it’s a good idea to find ways to mix their ideas with something that won’t cause a meltdown.
Do: Plan Activities Wisely
It is not a good idea to plan activities that require too much competition. This is not a good time to play tag or Red Rover. For older kids, a good idea for a game might be “Red Light, Green Light.” If your toddler enjoys drawing or finger painting, ask parents to bring an outfit that they don’t mind getting dirty and let the kids have fun. Make sure you bring enough paint supplies for everyone so there’s no fighting over who gets the green paint!
For the overwhelmed child, if they want a party with a theme, you can still do so. For example, if they want a theme of Disney and don’t handle crowds well even with an umbrella stroller or best double stroller, you could perhaps have three or four of their preschool friends over along with family members. Use face paint or temporary tattoos with Disney designs. Have a Disney cake and sing along to Disney songs. This combines the toddler’s ideas with practical activities that can help reduce the chance of meltdowns.
Do: Keep Nap Times In Mind
Most toddlers will have their naps in the afternoon, so a good idea is to hold the party in the late morning or early afternoon. This can reduce the chance of a toddler being so over-tired that they become cranky and cry the entire time. Along these lines, keep the party short. Most two and three year-old toddlers can handle about an hour at a time. For the child that’s around four, up to two hours should be good for both the parents and the child.
Do: Make Invitations Easy to Understand
The parents of the guests will want to know what time to show up, where to be, and how long the party will be. If you don’t want your child to have a certain gift, say so. It’s a good idea to ask parents to let you know before the party if their child has any allergies or other special dietary needs. Also let parents know if they are expected to stay or can drop their child off. Make sure you send the invites early!
Don’t: Try To Do Everything
The parents of the guests will know you’re a great parent. They’ll also know you can’t do the entire party alone. Don’t be ashamed to ask them to help with small things such as passing out cake and drinks to the kids. If they have a good camera, ask them to take lots of pictures. They will usually be more than willing to help out.
Don’t: Ignore The Kids
While we all know you’re wanting some adult conversation, the smaller guests do come first. The parents of the children will understand.
Birthday parties for toddlers don’t need to be difficult. With just a little planning, they can be enjoyable for both you and the child!