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Toddler birthday bash...or birthday bust?

Birthday clown send your toddler scrambling under the table? Your big plans could overwhelm your birthday tyke. Here’s help planning a successful party.
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The day after his son’s second birthday, a father described the party: “We had everything. Lots of children, balloons, piles of presents, party games and favors, a big cake and ice cream. Everyone had fun except Jason. He spent the whole time crying.”

Probably “everything” was a bit too much for little Jason. He would probably have been more comfortable with a party on a smaller scale. Often a toddler’s parents plan a birthday party like the ones they remember from their own childhood, without realizing the parties they recall probably took place when they were seven or eight years old, not a mere two! When there is too much fuss, toddlers can feel overwhelmed and confused.

The best parties for young toddlers are small and simple. So keep these tips in mind when planning your toddler’s birthday “bash”:

Stick with a kid-friendly guest-list and activities

To maximize fun and minimize distress, invite only a few children (three or four at most), schedule the party so it doesn’t coincide with naptime and avoid competitive party games.

No presents please

Realize that two-year-olds have no understanding of the concept “birthday” and will expect presents of their own if any are given to the birthday child. To avoid fuss and hurt feelings, you might ask the mothers of guests not to bring gifts. Or, have a small—identical—present for everyone to open at the same time.

Keep toys out of sight

Before guests arrive, put away any toys that you won't be using for party games. Since toddlers find it difficult to share, extra toys in view can lead to unnecessary upsets. Try to confine the party to one room and clear it of any objects that could be damaged, so you won’t have to worry.

It might be your first time entertaining a group of two-year-olds. If you’re looking for a toddler-friendly party agenda–consider this one:

  • Welcome each guest and let the children play informally.
  • Don’t expect your two-year-old to be much of a host or hostess.
  • After a while, read a story to those who want to listen.
  • Serve refreshments. Toddlers rarely eat much cake, so try cupcakes or decorated cookies.
  • Sit in a circle on the floor for some group songs and games.
  • Roll a large beach ball from one side to another. Play simple finger-games or a naming game such as “Can you blink your eyes? Who can clap hands?”
  • Play music and have a parade through the house.
  • Keep the party short. It should last no longer than an hour or two.
  • Make leaving easier and happier by handing out favors to toddler guests as they go.

An article from the HUGGIES® Brand

  • Rated 0 out of 5 by 17reviewers.
    Rated 0 out of 5 by My son will be turning 2 in July but by reading this & other articles. I am going to do a party at the park, light refreshments, have less then 10 toddlers, no gifts but will accept birthday cards with money or a gift card (a box will be on the table for them), I believe it will be nice to have good bags for everyone and have about 3 games to play, time for a small cake & ice cream. September 25, 2014
    Rated 0 out of 5 by wow im sorry but this is not helpful never have a party at the house its called a park use it March 2, 2014
    Rated 0 out of 5 by We usually celebrate a couple birthdays together since they're only days apart and we just do a family thing! I think since my kids are still so young that I wont be having the Huge birthday parties for a couple more years! February 22, 2013
    Rated 0 out of 5 by I just had my 2 year old daughter's birthday party with just Grandma, her older sister and her 1 year old, my son, my husband and myself. We all had such a great time! I gave the one year old a ball for him to play with in a bag so there were no problems when my daughter opened her presents! It was a perfect lil get together! I will put on the big parties when she is older at least 5 like I did for my other 4 kids! We had another lil party with just my son and daughter that live with us when they got home from a weekend with friends...it was perfect! January 31, 2013
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