Second birthday: Planning a fun party

Is your child’s second birthday coming up and you plan to celebrate it? Read the following tips to organize a successful party for everyone.

What to Expect

The greatest concern of 2-year-olds is that their needs and wants are met. This does not mean that they are spoiled but simply that this is how they see their world.

The key to keeping peace at your child’s party is to have good adult supervision, not to invite too many people and to have reasonable expectations.

At this age, children are unpredictable. Your child may want to be close to you and suddenly run away in search of freedom. And even if he plays happily with other children, your 2-year-old still doesn’t understand how to interact peacefully with other youngsters.

This means that your child won’t really enjoy guests his own age, which will happen as he grows older. It’s all about celebrating with the people who are important and special to you and your family.

This is mainly because she can’t put herself in another child’s shoes yet, so she may hit, bite or snatch toys. If you think this will be a problem, learn strategies to avoid aggression and encourage children to share.

As your child gets older, his behavior will improve because he will better understand how others think and feel.

Who to invite?

Your list is likely to include family and close friends, and some children with their parents. Keep in mind that children this age, especially the shy ones, can quickly become overwhelmed by having too many people around at once.

No one knows your child better than you do. If your child has been overwhelmed in the past in crowded places, try not to invite too many people to his or her party.

What time is the right time?

Some kids still nap, so keep that in mind when planning the party. It might be good to have the party in the morning or at lunchtime, especially if your child’s birthday falls on a Saturday or Sunday. Keep the party short and pleasant. Two or three hours is usually enough for children and adults.

Where to have the party

It is best to do it at home, but if you have a lot of guests or your home is not the ideal place for a party, some ideas include

  • A children’s playroom.
  • A park.
  • A community or recreational center.
  • A gymnastics school.
  • A children’s museum.
  • A restaurant (preferably with a children’s playground)

In some of these places they take care of all the planning and decoration for an additional fee.

What food to serve

If you’re offering lunch or dinner to guests, small portions work just as well as sandwiches in the shape of animals, baked fruit or vegetable pieces, small crackers and muffins (which are much easier to serve and eat than cake or pie).

Keep in mind that choking is still a danger at this age, especially when children eat quickly to go play. Avoid serving nuts, hard candies, cyclones, whole grapes, sausages, pitted cherries, raisins and marshmallows.

If you don’t have enough small tables and chairs for the children, you could have a “picnic” on the floor. Kids are likely to throw food around, so it’s a good idea to put a sheet or blanket where they sit. Spill-proof cups are a great idea too.

Games and activities

Most children at this age love to dress up, so put a box full of costumes (clothes, hats, etc.) within their reach. Balloons are a lot of fun, but the noise they make when they explode might scare some kids. If some balloons explode, throw them away quickly because they can pose a choking hazard.

Simple, well-organized games with clear instructions, such as “Musical Statues” (in which children dance while the music plays and stop when the music stops, and the one that moves when there’s no music comes out of the game) are fun, as are the songs that the children use to do something with their little fingers, such as “This one went for wood, this one helped him, this one found an egg

Another option is to read them a short story after they’ve eaten to calm things down a bit before it’s time to go home. If you include games with prizes, make sure all the children get something, to avoid tears.

Many Latino birthdays include a piñata. You may want to opt for piñatas that have ribbons hanging from them instead of a stick, and pulling on a particular ribbon opens the piñata. Younger children may find it difficult to reach for the ribbon.

Just as with a traditional piñata, be careful when it breaks so that the candy doesn’t hit the child’s head. Also, be careful that younger children don’t eat candy from the piñata, as it can pose a choking hazard. One alternative is to fill the piñata with balls or toys.

If you have children of different sizes, organize the piñata game well, as the older children tend to pounce on the candy without caring if there are small children in the way.