The Ridiculousness of the Toddler Party


toddler birthdayYesterday we had a little party for my toddler. It was just a few people, a brunch, some Elmo ... you know, a typical 2-year-old birthday party. Even though we didn't go crazy, I'm still wondering why we bothered to do it at all. My son, after all, thought it was just another Sunday morning -- except with cake and an odd amount of accessories that included his favorite monster. 

Which leads me to believe that toddler birthday parties are completely unnecessary.

However, since he's the second child, I fear falling into the trap of the youngest child always getting the short end of the stick. His older sister just had a big blow-out event for her birthday, so forgoing a party altogether felt cruel. Granted, he isn't in school like she is, so he doesn't have the friend pool that she does. But somehow that argument for not having a birthday party just makes me sad instead of feeling off-the-hook for another kid celebration where we spend too much money on paper plates adorned with cartoon characters.

When we were discussing the boy's second birthday, we did go back and forth between a plan of just having his favorite dinner (pizza) and a cupcake (which he won't even eat) on his actual birthday after we all get home from work/school/day care. Or a weekend affair where we invite a few people over because, again, he has very few friends. My practical side lost the argument with my emotional side when I just couldn't let his birthday go by without some sort of overdone celebration.

Which means the party was all about me anyway. Not him. In fact, he was probably really confused since we sang "Happy Birthday" to him twice -- once on his real birthday, and once at his party. But I got to see some of my own friends who also happen to have kids, and I got an excuse to eat party food and create a specialty cocktail. He seemed to enjoy himself, but honestly, he would have regardless. He's always up for a good time if we have people over or not.

It's these same thoughts that always pop up when we get the hankering to take the kids to the zoo versus an afternoon in the backyard. To Disneyland, or not to Disneyland? Kids make their own fun, and special memories are not dependent on how much money you spend to entertain them. I realize this, and I try to embrace this as a practical parenting philosophy with some success. But who doesn't love a party?

Do you throw parties for your toddler?

birthday parties, cartoons, fun & games


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RanaA... RanaAurora

I do, but it's more for the enjoyment of family and friends. My son didn't really enjoy his parties until he was... 3 or 4?

JustL... JustLikeMyMom62

I am on the fence -- as we approach my sons 2nd birthday we too are going back and forth about having a party.  Cupcakes at daycare?  Party at our house?  Or an actual event where we invite all his daycare "friends"?  Rationally I know its for ME and my friends...but would I seem like a bad mom if we dont do anything....sigh....but I CAN NOT compete with some of the shindigs most people I know have. Likea friend who did a day in Paris party for her 1 year old complete with Eiffel Tower party favors or the circus theme a daycare mom threw for her 2 year old complete with a girafee.

Peggy Morgan

We do a small exptended family party when we can. On their actual birthday we do a big family event. For my sons second we rode a real train, went to dinner, and a toy store. For my daughters first we went to gatlinburg(down the street from us lol) and took her to the aquarium. We bought an annual pass and took her to dinner. They have no idea what's going on anyway so why not make good memories instead of stressing over party invites?


We did small parties for family and close friends, but nothing over the top.

sassy... sassykat122

yeah, until about 3 or 4 they don't really get it but know how they get it? somewhere in the recesses of their brain they remember the year before, the platform for celebrations start at a young age and they don't have to be grand overdone affairs

bsawy... bsawyer84

It's a waste of time to be honest. Not many people can even remember their birthdays at that age. The pictures of me at my birthdays until I was around 7 showed me staring uncomfortably at everyone and going to bed.

meatb... meatball77

I've had parties every year for my little one.  When she turned two we went to a gymnastics place and did parachutes and ballance beam walking and when she turned three she hadd a bounce house at the YMCA.  I have an only child and no other family in town (and my husband was deployed when she turned two) a party with just the two or three of us would have been depressing.

karis... karischub

It is so true that birthday parties for young children are mostly for the parents. We make my daughter's birthday as special as we can. My mom comes down from Michigan and we go to the zoo in Tennessee where we meet my mother in law for a day of fun watching the animals.  We also get to go to the county fair at the same time of year. We do spend money on these things. These (and sometimes my mom's plane tickets) are things I save for all year long. For the rest of the year I try to stick to low-cost entertainment but I feel bad for having moved her away from our family. I LOVE this: special memories are not dependent on how much money you spend.

xavie... xavierlogan09

my son's first birthday wasn't too special. we just had cake and presents. when he turns two i want to have a real party. in my opinion it's celebrating all his milestones such as learning to walk,talk and getting all his teeth. he loved his first birthday especially the cake. 

allie... alliesmom112

We did a big thing for her first birthday. For her 2nd birthday we had a special dinner at chuck e cheese the night before and then on her birthday we had a trip to the zoo. Nothing really big. This year for her 3rd birthday we will be having a party she has several more this year with kids from church and play dates.

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