This year you might want to give your toddler a real birthday party, but be realistic. The biggest trap birthday parents can fall into is expecting too much.
It's only natural that you want to make your child happy on her special day; you want to give her a wonderful celebration. But, two-year-olds don't need a big production. Jumping castles or your own backyard; clowns that do tricks or mum and dad doing something silly; hamburgers at a family restaurant or food on the table in your family room - it's all the same to them.
Having friends around and being the centre of attention are enough at this age. It is easier for everyone if you invite parents to your child's party and best to do the invitations by phone. If you send emails or written invitations you will probably have to follow-up by phone anyway.
Two hours is plenty of time for two year-olds. And early afternoon is a good choice because it leaves plenty of nap time for those who need it. You will probably need to serve more food if you have a late morning or lunchtime party. If you don't have room at your house, host the party at the park or the beach, but have a contingency plan in case it rains. The park gazebo is always good but you need to stake it out early in the day.
Here is a suggested party plan:
Two hours is plenty of party time for a two year-old!
- Don't forget your camera and designate someone to take photos for you.
- Open the presents as soon as everyone has arrived.
- Next serve the food. Find a low table or put a tablecloth on the floor or ground. Little sausage rolls and pizza for lunch or small wraps if you are in the park. Ice creams and fresh fruit cut into pieces are perfect for dessert. Adults can eat the same food as the children. Drinks should be milk, juice or water and don't forget some cold drinks for the adults. Only offer hot drinks if you have a helper.
- Put on some of your child's favourite music (the Wiggles are always a popular start). Sing-along to the music and do the actions.
- Be ready with some games. Old favourites are ideal, such as Follow the Leader, Ring-a-Rosie, Here We Go 'Round the Mulberry Bush, I'm a Little Teapot. Other popular games are finger games such as Incy-Wincy Spider, This Little Piggy and Put Your Finger on your Nose.
- Eat the birthday cake, then let the party-goers play for a while.
- Hand out party bags as each child leaves. These can be really simple for this age group. When you are choosing the contents do not include anything not suitable for under three year-olds. Pop two or three of the following treats in a brown paper bag with the child's name written on the outside in bright felt-tip pen: a little box of dried fruit, a large bell, a large pretzel, a paint brush and a paint with water book, a small pot of homemade play dough, a finger puppet, a plastic farm animal.
Sometimes the birthday person seems to be unhappiest person at the party. Reasons why this can happen are:
- Too many children
- Other children playing with birthday person's toys
- Too much attention
- Too much confusion
Talk to Essential Baby members about children's birthday parties.