Planning a Toddler’s Birthday Party
Everyone loves a party, even toddlers. Even though they’re actually too young to truly understand the nature of the occasion, a toddler’s birthday party can still be a fun and joyous affair.
What to expect from your bub
There are many things a toddler may not understand and parents have to be fully aware of this before deciding to throw a party of any kind to begin with. The little apple of your eye could seems angelic one moment and utterly uncooperative the next in any given situation. Some toddlers will be completely at ease in the presence of other little ones and some may not.
While a toddler may happily play with others, he or she might not necessarily understand about acceptable social behaviour yet. Your little one is generally too young to be empathetic towards other children, so it’s completely natural if a toddler gets upset and begins to ‘misbehave’, sometimes quite badly, even at his or her own party! Although it can be embarrassing and even upsetting for parents to witness, it’s important to keep a cool head and continue to be a gracious host to other parents and their tots. The keys to keeping the peace at a toddler’s party is to have good adult supervision and keep the guest list to a minimum.
If you have a very shy toddler and never realised it, well, get ready to find out when you throw him or her a party! As toddlers are still young, they tend to become overwhelmed by having a lot of people around at once. Keeping your guest list low, to about five families at the most, might help.
Resist a drop-and-go birthday party for you would not want to be responsible for the well-being of your tiny guests when their parents have left. Remember, your toddler and little guests will only just be learning to relate to each other, so don’t expect great levels of cooperation. Parents should stay, to help ‘keep the peace’ among all those little ones present and hopefully, offer some help and support too.
The best time of day for a party
Most babies and toddlers have regular nap times. This means that after a hearty lunch, which one can expect at a birthday party, little ones will start to get cranky and sleepy. Hence, lunch time itself can be the best time for a toddler birthday party. Keep it short and sweet – let your guest know beforehand that it’s a lunch party that will last for an hour. Most parents will happily comply, for remember, they too will be faced with a grumpy kid who just wants to go home and snooze! Alternatively, you could have a tea-time birthday party, that can be held after most toddlers’ nap times.
Most little ones love noise, so party packs with blowers and horns would be great! If you have the space and can afford to rent one, a bouncy castle in the compound may work well, but will need close supervision and cooperation from all parents. A paddling pool might go down well too, especially in hot weathers but again, under strict supervision. Ensure too, that it is set up in a shady spot.
If you plan for everyone to remain indoors, then simple, structured games with clear instructions, like Statue Dance and Simon Says should work well. Games with prizes such as Pass the Parcel would be great, but the tricky part is, you’ll have to ensure that each child receives a prize or you might risk facing some really teary tots (and their offended parents as well!).
Note: Balloons are always fun to have, although the noise of them bursting may scare your more timid little guests. If you are having any at your toddler’s party, do be aware of the risks if any are popped and remove them quickly for they can be a choking hazard.
Choosing a venue
Home parties are always fun, but they tend to involve a lot of preparation and they can be somewhat labour-intensive as well. If you do plan to have one, it would help if you plan way ahead and get yourself mentally prepared for the big day. You’ll also have to consider making doubly sure that your house is toddler friendly, keeping in mind that other little tots were not brought up in your home and what may seem like a normal, boring house decoration to your little one may appear to be irresistible as a plaything to another kid.
Keep decorations simple, safe and cheery and ensure that anything that may pose a danger to inquisitive little hands are removed for the day. If you would like to have everyone in one room of the house only, then you can try closing all other doors and also, place chairs in the party room only. It would be an excellent idea to hire a helper or two for the day so that you will not be too overwhelmed by the possible mess, accidents and tots wandering in all directions of your house.
If all these do not appeal to you, consider having your little one’s birthday party at a fast-food outlet. Your nearest McDonald’s, A & W, and KFC are just examples of the many fast-food outlets that cater for children’s birthday parties, saving you time and effort in cleaning up afterwards. The food might not be the healthiest there is, but hey, it’s not an everyday affair!
Alternatively, you might want to plan you toddler’s birthday party at a kids’ center. This too, will save you loads of time and effort in every way possible. Jungle Gym Playland is one such venue to consider, where your child can be princess, pirate, knight or fairy for the day!
Jungle Gym has a range of exciting themes and birthday planning options to suit various preferences and budget. Weekend birthday parties in particular are very popular at Jungle Gym, so if you’re considering one, you might want to book in advance! Go to www.junglegym.my for more info.
Think bite-sized, fun and colorful – Fun, cut-out sandwiches, mini pizzas, mini cupcakes and cookies with frosting or icing are always popular. Child-size tables and chairs would be wonderful, but if you don’t have any, a picnic-style setting on the floor should work well too!
For the birthday cake, choose one that depicts something your child loves, such as a cartoon character, or even a cake that is shaped like one of his or her favourite toys.
What will the theme be?
This should depend on your budget and the child’s liking. It could be his or her favourite TV series or cartoon character for instance, although many parents have been found guilty of having their own favourite theme! If you’re stumped for ideas, party supply outlets are generally very helpful in helping you decide.
When it comes to party bags, remember, it’s usually, and most likely, the parents who will be the first to open it up for a look. So, our advice is, ask yourself what you would love to see in a party bag your child receives and you’ll have a rough idea from there.
Party tips & tricks
- Serve the savoury foods before the sweet ones!
- Clear the food as soon as it’s finished.
- Consider spill-proof cups – you may have to fork out a bit for this, but it’s worth the money spent!
- Expect some diaper and other accidents, and have cloths and kitchen towels on standby.
- Toddlers are not known to be very cooperative , so instead of many different toys, try putting out several of the same or similar toys instead.
- Keep party games short, simple and fun for the little guest and avoid competitive games.