Birthday Parties: Open Gifts in Front of Other Toddlers?

Cynthia Dermody

Photo by cafemama

When I was little, I always opened my birthday presents in front of my party guests, both adults and other kids. It never seemed like a big deal. But now I notice a trend among some toddler moms I know who are doing away with the present-opening finale at kiddie birthday bashes. They wait till all the guests have gone home before allowing the birthday boy or girl to tear open their gifts, and follow it up with a thank you note. Some of their reasons ...

  • "Opening the gifts makes the other children feel bad because they're not getting anything (the goody bag of stickers and a straw just don't compare to the remote control car).
  • "Everyone fights over the new toys."
  • "I want my child to learn to share, but I don't think their special day is the right time. It's unfair to let another child open the birthday boy's present, or make them relinquish a brand new toy just minutes after they receive it."

Remember, we are talking 1- to 4 year olds here. Is a child's birthday party really the place to introduce such complicated concepts like ownership and lending? Should toddlers open their presents in front of other kids? I was curious as to what other moms here would say (read on to find out) and I'd love you to chime in, too.

"Definitely let them! Its their day and the other kids will get theirs! Learning what's yours is all apart of growing up. I always opened my gifts in front of my friends when I was a kid and my 2 year old does the same. You can even involve them by letting them help if your child is okay with that." Steph319

"It can be a problem for 2- and 3-years-olds. I think parties should be very small (5 kids tops) which helps keep the chaos down. I don't have a problem letting the child open the presents AFTER the party either. At such a young age, kids don't understand that it's a special day, so I let my daughter open a present everyday until they were all open. That way, she enjoyed the new present instead of tossing it aside and racing to open the next box." kaycee14

"I have my boys open their gifts in front of others, as well. I, too. limit my guests and it is mainly family when they are little. The other kids do have to sit back and play with other toys. I often will not let them take any of their new toys out of the packaging till after everyone is gone. This way, there is no fighting and no missing pieces to their new toys. We also give out goody bags, bubbles, or candy to the kids so they all feel like they did get some thing." momfourboys

"Yes, let them open gifts there that day. After all, the people that give the gifts are there and it is much easier to thank everyone right then and there, instead of having to remember who gave what and so on. I agree with the mom above, you should do cake and whatnot as soon as all of your invites and family have showed up. That way, the kids don't get bored, and then they can also run off all the cake and ice cream before they get home! " Anonymous

Read More