Toddler Birthday Parties - Yay or Nay?Emily McClements
My daughter is turning 4 next month. She started preschool two weeks ago, so I guess this means she is finally a “preschooler” and officially out of her toddler years. I’m excited about this next stage of her life and I’m hoping that she’ll grow out of some of her rough three-year-old behaviors.
But I’m having a little bit of a dilemma — I don’t know if we should throw a big birthday party for her.
Birthday parties can be a lot of work — especially if you follow the example of some of the amazing mama bloggers out there who throw super creative and extravagant birthday parties for their kids.
I am so not one of those mamas — I don’t have the time or creativity to come up with an amazing theme and then make homemade decorations that match homemade favors that then match a homemade decorated cake that looks like it belongs on Cake Boss. Maybe that makes me a bad mom, but it’s the truth.
Besides, there are a lot of reasons why other kid’s birthday parties are not my favorite way to spend a weekend afternoon. For me or the kids! From the junk food to the cost of a present, to the goodie bag filled with cheap plastic junk that I don’t want in my house (from a child’s party whose mama, like me, wasn’t all over the homemade favors), I don’t want my kids to think or expect that on their birthday they get to consume all the sugar and dyed food they want. Especially while they’re receiving a huge mountain of presents that they don’t even need!
Now, don’t get me wrong, I want to celebrate my daughter on her birthday. I want her to feel loved and to know that her birthday is her special day. I’ve been gathering ideas on Pinterest, like filling her room with balloons for when she wakes up in the morning, to make her birthday as fun as possible. But I’m just not sure that has to include a big birthday bash.
However, I remember the birthday parties from when I was growing up and what a fun time I had with my friends. I want her to have that experience too.
So I think if we decide to throw her a party, we’re going to keep it simple.
I’m a big fan of no-gift policies for kid’s birthday parties. This doesn’t mean she won’t receive any presents from our family, I just don’t think that other people need to spend money on something they’re not sure my kid wants, something she definitely doesn’t need, and something I really don’t want cluttering up my house. We’re trying to instill simple living values in our kids and that extends to birthday presents as well.
Aside from the cake, we won’t serve a bunch of sugar and dye-filled junk food. More nutritious and filling food, and less sugar highs followed by melt-downs, is better for everyone — parents and kids alike.
Here are some more great ideas for throwing simple (Yet meaningful!) birthday parties for kids:
A Birthday Alternative: Less Stuff, More Fun at Simple Mom
Frugally Green Birthday Party Ideas at Live Renewed
What are your thoughts on birthday parties for toddlers?
Related: I can’t stand kids’ birthday parties!