Throwing a first birthday party was extremely overwhelming for us. So for Toot’s second birthday, we decided to keep it low-key and stress-free.
She’s not yet old enough for a party at Chuck-E-Cheese or any of those other kid places. Instead, we went with a casual, laid-back party at home.
Here’s how we kept the stress away, and just enjoyed the party.
Don’t worry about a theme
Parents spend too much time and effort on a theme.
Yes, themes are cute, and I personally love them when I go to a party. Not so much when I’m throwing a themed party.
Unless you can buy everything all together to match, it’s just not worth it to try and gather a bunch of different supplies that somewhat go together.
My two-year-old is more excited about presents and cake than the decorations. Okay, she likes balloons, but standard colors work just fine.
Instead of a theme of “jungle party” or “mermaid unicorns” for your toddler birthday party, just pick a couple of complementary colors.
Her first birthday ended up being pink and green because the theme I wanted just wasn’t coming together. She loved it and it was very easy to get everything we needed in either pink or green.
We used some leftover supplies this year for her party. If we had gone with a theme, (I totally wanted an art gallery theme, btw.) last year’s supplies probably wouldn’t have matched.
You don’t have to be a Pinterest Mom
No seriously, get off of Pinterest. You’re just setting your goals way too high.
My friend had an amazing first birthday party for her son that was fish themed and had a bunch of ideas she got from Pinterest. It was SO COOL. But by the time the party was ready, she was exhausted.
Instead of doing ALL THE PROJECTS, just pick one or two cute, easy ideas from Pinterest.
You are not required by Mom Code to even do ANY Pinterest projects for your child’s birthday.
Keep the guest list small
A huge guest list always stresses me out. It means we need more space, chairs, cake, food, and drinks.
We did the huge party last year. This year we only invited our immediate family and a couple of close friends.
We didn’t need to invite all of my cousins, aunts, and uncles this time. Man, that was a lot of people. We have a huge family because my grandparents were Catholic.
Instead of inviting literally everyone, narrow it down to just the people your birthday boy or girl really knows, the VIPs.
Store-bought treats are fine if baking isn’t your thing
We handed out goodie bags to all of the kids, but we didn’t buy a bunch of plastic stuff.
I bought a giant bag of fun-size candy like you get for Halloween, and put a handful into a bag for each of them. They LOVED it! What kid doesn’t love candy?
The younger kids got animal crackers and Goldfish.
My mom baked cookies, but she loves baking. I like to bake but not a massive amount for a party. She also baked the cake which was awesome! Grandmas make the best cakes!
But most parents are buying cakes from bakeries now because it’s easier and less stressful.
And let’s be honest, they probably look better and taste better than anything I could make.
Baking hack if you’re doing cake pops: buy plain doughnut holes, jab a stick into them and frost! You’ll save so much time.
If you really want to save time, see if your local Walmart has grocery pick up! You can order online and pick up at the store so you don’t have to run around looking for what you need. They’ll even load your car for you!
I can feel the stress melting away.
Instead of worrying about baking cakes or cookies, just buy them from Walmart. No one will judge you for not baking everything yourself.
My parents were a huge help during this party. They basically did most of the work. lol.
For Toot’s first birthday, I asked a couple of my besties to help me set up and get ready.
It’s nearly impossible to throw a party by yourself. There’s a lot to do, get, remember, and keep track of. It’s not a one person job.
Instead of handling all of the duties yourself, delegate to friends and family!
Have a Cleaning Plan of Attack
Before the party
Clean your house for guests. The kitchen counter and table will need to be wiped down to lay out all of your food and cake.
Wipe down the fridge (especially if you’re keeping drinks for the party in it) and other appliances.
And don’t forget to clean the bathrooms! There will be lots of people that use your bathrooms. Set out fresh hand towels and soap.
During the party
Leave paper towels strategically around your house.
Kids spill. It happens. It’s a toddler birthday.
Save yourself from running to the other room for every spill by just leaving a roll on tables or wherever your guests will be.
They can also be used as napkins and to wipe messy faces.
Keep a couple of trash cans out so everyone knows where to throw their plates away.
Some parties I’ve been to just have a large trash can where everyone can find it. Like an actual curbside trashcan, not just a tall kitchen trash can. That works really well for easy clean up.
After the party
Clean up the mess.
Hopefully, the kids didn’t trash your house too badly. If you planned ahead to have paper towels and trash cans strategically placed, it won’t be as bad.
Designate someone to distract your toddler or any remaining kids while you clean. It’s much easier to clean up if they’re not in the way or trying to “help.”
No judgement if you throw on a TV show for toddlers. Screen time is clean time.
Ask someone to stick around and help clean up. It’s best to plan ahead and ask your friend or sibling before the party day so they know they’ll be staying later to clean.
You can even tell them it’s part of their gift to your child. Or it can just BE the gift. Cleaning up their party is kind of an experience or service gift and reduces toy clutter.
Don’t worry about your house being back to party-clean standards after the party is over. You don’t need that stress.
You live with a toddler. Your house is allowed to be messy.
How do you throw a stress-free toddler birthday party?
And what was the most ridiculous thing you’ve done for a party? Let me know in the comments below!