Got a kiddo with a birthday coming up? Here are a few quick ideas to help make a toddler or preschooler’s birthday party smoother for you, and more fun for them!
Have a couple of parties
A birthday is a great time to celebrate your child and the passing of another year in their life, as well as gear up for another great year to come. There are two main groups of people who will want to gather for this occasion – the kid group, including your child’s friends, playgroup, class, cousins, etc.; and the adult group, consisting of those such as grandparents and other relatives and adult friends – and you may be best off making it two different occasions so it’s easier to tailor-fit the party to each.
The kid-centric party is going to need kid-friendly foods, non-stop games or activities, and a short time period for short attention spans (like an hour and a half, and ideally between nap times). Adults, on the other hand, will want adult food, time to chat and catch up with you and the other adults, and at a time that works for their schedules. Since these can be a lot of factors that are difficult or just plain overwhelming to line up, make it easier on yourself and break it into two parties. Your little one sure won’t mind getting to celebrate birthdays for longer than a single day or occasion!
Know How Many People to Invite
It can be hard to guess what is a good number of people to invite to your child’s birthday party. A general rule is to calculate your kid’s age and then add one – if it’s a 3-year-old’s birthday, add one to three, and so invite four kids to the party. Once your child is in grade school, they’ll start establishing their core groups of friends and that number may be larger, but for now just a small gathering of kids will be enough to make it a fun party.
Consider the Location
Once you know how many people will be coming to the party, you can think about where to have it. Your first thought may be to host your child’s birthday party at home. While there are certainly benefits to this (you won’t have to pack or bring the kid bag, you know your child is going to be comfortable at home and less likely to be overwhelmed by new sights and sounds in addition to a lot of attention), there are reasons going elsewhere may make more sense for your child’s party. Your house may just not have that much space for a room full of children to be able to play games and enjoy high-activity festivities together. Or you may not be up for figuring out an afternoon of entertainment for everyone.
Choosing a location outside of your house – whether a kid’s fun zone or pizza parlor with games and other entertainment, a bowling alley, skating rink, or even just a church or community center’s recreation rooms, deciding on a location that makes your life easier based on your current needs, resources, budget and energy will make your child’s party much easier to plan, and much easier to enjoy.