Birthday BalloonsA toddler birthday party sounds great… on paper. The gap between idea and execution, however, can be fraught with peril! Still, parents and other caregivers make it successfully through a toddler-fest by following some basic guidelines:

Trim the guest list. Toddlers rarely have “best friends” at age 1 or 2; a party with just family is the most convenient. Around preschool age, your child will be inviting friends from their favorite daycare center. recommends a guest list as “the birthday child’s age plus one.”

Keep it short. Toddlers have famously short attention spans, and gathering more than two only exacerbates the excitement. “For the under-3 crowd, an hour is plenty,” says You can fit a lot of fun in 60 minutes, including games, cake and songs.

Know the gift etiquette. The toddler years can be a touchy time for kids still unfamiliar with the concept of “mine” and “yours” – especially when new toys are being opened. It may take some trial-and-error to learn what works best in your household, though you cannot go wrong with an attractive goodie bag to keep all the little guests happy.

Don’t go it alone. If you’re lucky enough to be on the receiving end of offers of help from your friends or relatives, jump at it! There’s no such thing as the flawless toddler party – expect anything from tears to tantrums – but having that support system can make your job easier. Consider delegating jobs, from clearing dishes to running the smartphone camera, to give every volunteer a targeted task.

Don’t forget to let the staff at Horizon Education Centers know about your child’s special day. We’ll want to celebrate it too!