Why You Shouldn't Throw Your Toddler a Birthday Party Nicole Richie Style

elmo cakeOoh, did you hear about Harlow Madden's faaaabulous 4th birthday party? Nicole Richie and Joel Madden threw a big Toy Story-themed celebration. Harlow and 35 of her besties got to play with Buzz, Woody, and Jessie while noshing on pizza and sugar-free birthday cake. And did I mention the part where Harlow cries?

Oh dear, the poor thing! One onlooker told Us Weekly, "Harlow started crying when everyone sang happy birthday and Joel said she was crying tears of joy." Okay ... I've seen this crying at your own birthday party scene before, and I'm pretty sure those were not tears of joy. I think maybe instead Harlow was totally overwhelmed by her own party.

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A good friend of ours has a daughter who for years refused to let anyone sing happy birthday to her. I don't know what exactly it was, but it seemed like she was scared by the attention and the volume. In fact, the whole party seemed to make her a little frantic. And sure enough, you could always count on a meltdown sometime near the end of the party, even when we didn't sing happy birthday.

I think big birthday parties can be terrifying for some kids, especially since they're the center of attention. Instead of the controlled chaos of preschool or daycare, kids' birthdays have a wilder feeling of mayhem. Add all the buildup and expectations (this is supposed to be THE BEST, MOST FUNNEST DAY OF THE YEAR!), the balloons and the clowns, the music, the OPEN FLAMES -- and it's just too much, especially for very young children who are barely learning how to socialize.

You can't blame the parents for trying. Everyone wants to put on a great party for their kids. But I've noticed over the years, it's not just the parents who love a smaller birthday party. I think the kids enjoy them better, too.

How big are the birthday parties you throw for your children?

 

Image via Tobyotter/Flickr

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