Planning a Toddler Party?

Tips for YOUR sanity

Enlist helpers. Put your mother, husband, sister or other parents in charge of setting the table, moving furniture out of the way, taking pictures or whatever you can’t or don’t want to do. Ask your toddler to count out paper plates or arrange plastic forks. Allow the party to be a group effort.

Make it fun for you. Invite some adults whose company you enjoy, or be creative in ways that are fun for you. Vincent- Orth likes taking photographs. Since she held her daughter Sookie’s party at a park near a small airport, she photographed each family wearing old-fashioned fl ying goggles and scarves. Later, she posted these photos on her website.

Remove pens, markers and items you cherish. At one toddler party I attended, a child found a black marker, pulled the top off and made a long streak across the back of a beautiful white sofa before anyone could stop him. I made a mental note at the time: Put all markers out of kids’ reach. It’s also a good idea to remove valuable vases or furniture so you don’t have to worry about them getting broken or damaged during the party.

Keep your sense of humor. “Things will go wrong, so be fl exible and roll with the punches,” says Warner. “Your toddler won’t care if the cake isn’t perfect or the decorations fall down. Just take a deep breath and enjoy this special time.”


Keep it contained
Have the party in one or two rooms that are easy to childproof. If you have it in a park, make sure parents are aware that they’re responsible for keeping an eye on their own children and point out hazards such as ponds, streams, hills or drain pipes.

Beware of balloons
Balloons cause more choking deaths than any other child-related product. Consider using other decorations instead.

Don’t serve finger foods
Unless you’re sure other parents will be on handto monitor invitees, skip hot dog pieces, grapes, raisins, small carrots and other foods children can choke on.

Board your pets
Many dogs and cats run from toddlers or will bite or scratch when handled too roughly. If you can, consider sending your dog or cat to a boarder or friend’s house until the party’s over.

Nicole Gregory is a Los Angeles-based writer who has learned that the less she worries over her son’s birthday parties, the more fun he (and everyone else) seems to have!