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Oh god, how do I stop my DD's birthday party being a disaster?

(19 Posts)
hattyyellow Wed 06-Aug-08 15:36:29

My DD's turn 3 at the weekend and I'd organised a little party for them tomorrow.

They are both not particulary good at sharing their toys/being around lots of children. One in particular is quite shy and gets quite thrown by big groups/isn't hugely keen on other children.

I invited a couple of friends who couldn't make it and therefore invited some other friends. First friends have now come back to say they can come so tomorrow we have 8-9 toddlers, 2 older siblings and 2 babies arriving at our house for the afternoon. I had originally planned for just 4-5 other toddlers plus a baby.

I'm panicking that this will completely throw my girls and I'll end up with two sobbing children clinging to me and pulling their toys away from other children and mass crying! They are fine with having 2-3 friends around but I don't know if they'll cope with this number in their house playing with their things.

Can anyone help me come up with a strategy to help deal with this?

Ideas I've had so far are:

Agreeing with my girls what toys it would bother them most to share and which they are happy about..putting away the toys that they are most precious about..

Cancelling the whole thing? (Is that ridiculous - I am pregnant and very tired and hormonal and may well have lost all perspective)

Bribing them to share?

If they get really cross, letting them go and play upstairs in their room and having some time out.

They're not unpleasant or unkind little girls but they aren't keen on big groups and tend to get a bit phased by lots of noise and people. I hope I don't sound like the world's worst mother, I just don't want to make them unhappy but cancelling it seems a shame when they'd probably enjoy some elements..I don't know whether it's better for them to have to cope with other children or whether it's a bit overwhelming for them..

RubyRioja Wed 06-Aug-08 15:39:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mistlethrush Wed 06-Aug-08 15:50:06

We had 3yo party in April. We had decorate your own gingerbread man, decorate your own cake, and make your own pizza (bases supplied, topping options supplied.

Also found some cheap craft kits for animal things.

Tent house up in hall.

Mostly went very well - lots of food eaten (all parents impressed); ds didn't get hung up with who was playing with what as spread round 4 rooms - slight upset when someone said it was 'their' house, but we got over it.

We had 10 guests including 5 yo older sister of one of friends...

hattyyellow Wed 06-Aug-08 15:50:33

Thanks Ruby that's a brilliant idea - so even though it's my DD's house the toys would be more neutral territory because they aren't "theirs".

Will see what I can find in the morning - we're in the middle of the country so no pound shops nearby but I could get a batch of cheap colouring books maybe?

hattyyellow Wed 06-Aug-08 15:51:40

Good idea mistlethrush I'm trying to keep it fairly cheap so crafty stuff sounds good. Idea of a tent useful too, our house isn't huge so it would make more "areas" to disappear into for the kids..thank you.

Weegle Wed 06-Aug-08 15:53:18

Put all favourite toys away

All of RubyRioja's suggestions - you can do things like making crowns with their names on etc, then they all have their own to do and take home.

Talk through with your DD's what will happen, maybe even role play it this afternoon with their teddies?


Bubble Machine in the garden

EustaciaVye Wed 06-Aug-08 15:54:39

What Ruby said. Keep it structured and outside if at all possible. Also make sure that any potential sugar-rush foods are given quite close to then end so that they get hyper after they have left grin

Oh, and have a definite end time, otherwise people will loiter.

broccolispears Wed 06-Aug-08 15:57:09

You could turn your 'hiding precious toys away' idea on its head and involve them in choosing which toys they want to put in the sitting room to share with their friends. I've done this with dd and she's really got into it and enjoyed sharing when she feels in control of it.

Lazycow Wed 06-Aug-08 16:19:54

All good ideas suggested so far

Also keep the party short. Make it 2hrs absolute maximum. With ds I made his 3rd birthday party 1.5 hrs and that was fine actually.

We did 40 mins or so of free playing (I laid out tables with different things on, on paydoh table, one crafty one, one bubble one and several ride ons and other toys)

then we had 15-20mins of more organise games (pass the parcel, musical bumps etc).

Then they had the tea party and cake - about 30mins

After that I gave out ballons and party bags signalling the end of the party. At this age you need to keep it quite short.

Dynamicnanny Wed 06-Aug-08 19:11:27

My party for my 2 year old charge I :

* Put 2 big tubs of toys in the garden
1 with small world including the dolls house
1 had younger baby toys, bricks, teddies etc

* Put a pile of dressing up clothes by the wendy house

* Put a selection of board books on a rug

* Had pots of water and paintbrushes so they could paint and pots of chalks to draw

* Put up a big piece of paper for the children to draw on

* "timetabled" so the children had free play for 30 minutes then called over for pass the parcel - the only party game - folowed by snack just served where they were sat -basic food eg carrot, rice cake, pitta bread, followed by cake so they were sat down for about 20 minutes, then back in the garden/free play for another 30 minutes/45 minutes.

* Helps that we had lots of ride on toys in the garden - but put out some push chairs etc and some dolls to play with.

* Childen were looked after by their own parents - although you may find mums of the older children just let them get on with it

cookiemonstress Wed 06-Aug-08 20:56:14

I had same dilemma this year. Be grateful it's the summer and not january when garden is not an option! I put all toys away. Everyone came in their favourite dressing up outfit and we did more dressing up. Then I ahd ordered from some craft site some crowns that they could decorate. Set play dough up in corner. Pin the tail on the donkey (moderate success), pass the parcel (more successful than you would think). Tea, cake and then handed out bags as hint for people to go! Get the older siblings involved. Do as much in the garden as you can? Bouncy castle if you are feeling desperate (and flush?!)

The thought will be worse than the execution I promise and you will feel good that you've done it!

Good luck

Hulababy Wed 06-Aug-08 21:03:14

Be outside as much as possible.

Have a bug hunt or a nature hunt - who can find 5 different things (could have them printed n paper ready to tick off) or whatever. When they do it, they get a sticker.

Mini olympic games - assault course, beanbag on head, walking backwards, skipping, jumping, etc.

Circle time - do action songs with the mummies (and daddies) all helping; wheels on the bus, row row row your boat, wind the bobbin up, one finger one thumb, etc.

Make a den - old clothes horse or 3 or 4 chairs, and a few old sheets to throw over the top

Balloons - they all love them generally

Craft - organised activity. Junk modelling, crayoning, playdoh, etc.

Picnic for teatime - can be indoor or outdoor

Hulababy Wed 06-Aug-08 21:04:26

Oh yes - do you have a patio or path? Like already mentioned - water painting keeps LO occupied for ages - tubs of water and paintbrushes. Simple but fun.

pointydog Wed 06-Aug-08 21:13:28

Yopur first idea about putting away certain toys is a good one. Try to stop any upset of that nature.

CAn you set up a dvd in a room so that your dd, or any child wanting a break from all the noise, can sit quietly and watch a film?

elmoandella Wed 06-Aug-08 21:32:27

those pop up tent things are good place for a child who is being overcome to hide with a wee sandwich.

definately have a time limit. if you haven't already got one in place. make sure you start clearing up before everyone leaves. they'll either help and you'll get it done easily. or scarper and you get house to yourself.

set a time half an hour before you want the house to yourself.

cut cake, divide into party bags and start clearing up. people will soon get hint.

MingMingtheWonderPet Wed 06-Aug-08 21:43:32 has some great easy craft ideas, and some great colouring pages that youcould print out (saves a dash to the shops tomorrow)

Pasta shape necklaces (threading pasta shapes onto string). Again no shopping required.

Def put any precious toys away in bedroom and make out of bounds.
Hide jigsaws cos if all get tipped out you will spend forever tidying up!

cleversprout Wed 06-Aug-08 22:57:43

If you're not too overwhelmed by all the great ideas already suggested....

Hide lollies around the garden.
Buy/make plain fairy cakes, icing and sweets for them to decorate.
Dancing competition (everyone gets a prize but don't tell them that until after!)
Lucky dip - big toy bucket full of shredded newspaper and little treats for them to find - bubbles, stickers etc..

Could also make a thing of opening the presents in front of everyone but beware! At our last party some of the toys got taken out of the packaging by other kids and one even got broken.sad

Good Luck! It won't be as bad as you think. You might even enjoy it.

cleversprout Wed 06-Aug-08 22:59:29

BTW it gets worse - when they reach the grand old age of 7 they roll their eyes at the suggestion of Pass the Parcel....

hattyyellow Thu 07-Aug-08 09:18:19

Thank you all so much - I really really appreciate it! Have got lots of coloured card and colouring stuff/sparkly stickers etc and am going with the crowns suggestion..

It's tipping it down here today sadly so outdoor stuff may well not be an option!

Have agreed with the girls that we'll sort toys out late morning and they are getting more excited about the party - particulary as they've seen their cakes now!

Laughing out loud at the getting everyone to go home! I will keep an idea on the time and then start tidying - great idea! I imagine we'll have a few stragglers on a rainy holiday afternoon!

Will let you know how it goes.

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