It's that time of year again, the time every parent dreads. It's party time! but what should be a time of happiness and celebration often feels like a cocktail of stress paired with stoic endurance. Here's 10 tips worth considering before you embark on your toddler's birthday party.
#10 Three hours in toddler time is like twenty-four adult hours. There are many children, many distractions and many emotions. Make your event no longer than three hours.
#9 Morning parties can be hard on the organizer but great on the toddlers (and their parents). Depending on the age and their sleeping routines 10AM until 12PM works really well for a group of two and three year olds.
#8 Send out invites at least a fortnight prior. Electronic invites are fantastic and offer a reminder text message one day, or one hour before the event. Don't forget to include an RSVP option, as you'll need to know if you're going to be catering for two or twenty toddlers!
#7 Backyard parties are great. Child proof the space, throw some rugs down, add some cushions and you're good to go!
#6 Never underestimate the power of bubbles and balloons - they will have your little ones entertained for hours
#5 And when they grow tired of chasing bubbles bring out the guitar or musical instruments. Most toddlers are too young to engage in any games or follow score so music time works a treat. Involve parents, especially those who have blended in with the scenery and left their child to run riot.
#4 Stressed about food? In a past life I was a model, my diet consisted of fruit, veg, humus and cheese. I drank water - flavoured water and water again. Come party season and our food table looked much like the contents in my old refrigerator. Depending on the child (and their parents) limit sugar, meats, dairy and anything with artificial flavours, colours and preservatives.
#3 Cake anyone? Cake without sugar, dairy or preservatives is basically porridge, porridge without milk. If you're anything like me one of those parents who doesn't mind occasionally damaging their child with sugar and artificial goodness then a piece of cake at a birthday party isn't going to be too much of a big deal, but for those more conscious and consistent parents flappy jacks or oat bites are a lovely, healthier alternative.
#2 Party favours. What's gender friendly, hazard free, won't make a mess and easily accessible? Party balloons of course! Send each family and child on their way with a 'thanks for coming' and a balloon from the party to keep their child occupied long after the party's over.
#1 Take lots of photos and be present. The big day is about your child, not their friends nor the parents, food or venue. Savour the moment and enjoy the party, because when it's over and it will be soon you'll swear you'll never do it again ..until next year !