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Arty farty smarty party.
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About ten years ago I was a nanny for some very overscheduled kids. They were three and five years old, and in addition to preschool or full-day summer camp, they took lessons in ice skating, tennis, piano, French, swimming, and theater. Yes, that meant they even took a class on Saturday. It was madness. One day the five year old asked me, "Why don't we ever get to PLAY?" That was the moment when I knew I'd never do that to my kids. My daughter is five now. She loves exploring her interests by taking classes, but I only sign her up for one thing at a time.
Even though I'm not the party throwing type, I have to say that throwing birthday parties for my daughter has been so much fun! Some things I have learned: Don't keep the cake where they can reach until it's time to eat it. Designate someone to take's really hard to host and photograph at the same time! Make it clear which areas of your home are the "party place" and which are not, otherwise you'll find kids under the bed where you shoved the dirty laundry. Uh, not that I would do such a thing. I'd also recommend NOT opening presents when guests are there. Preschool-age kids don't know how to be gracious recipients yet, and a big pile of presents can make the other guests bored and/or jealous. It also gets complicated when guests then want to play with the new stuff and the birthday kid doesn't want to share, or the new stuff gets broken, etc. It doesn't have to take any fun away from the gifter, either. The elegant solution I have found is to take photos of my daughter when she opens her gifts after the party, and then include a picture of her opening the specific gift in the thank you note. That way the giver can see her excitement when she sees what it is (or I can capture a moment when she plays with it later if she's not overjoyed when she opens the package).
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Jun 27, 2010