Birthday Parties for Toddler and Preschooler Twins

Parents of twins and multiples often have a difficult journey to parenthood. They may have gone through several years of fertility treatments and/or experienced a difficult pregnancy, so their natural tendency is to want to throw a big bash when their twins reach critical milestone years. That’s understandable, but not always a wise choice when their twins are still toddlers or preschoolers. Keep in mind the following tips when planning a birthday party for young multiples:


  • Keep It Simple. Most young children just get too overwhelmed at a huge party. They either become fussy from overstimulation, or fall asleep from exhaustion. Forget hiring expensive entertainment or overtaxing the budget. Wait until the kids are old enough to appreciate and enjoy it.


  • Be Flexible. When my twins turned three, we decided to celebrate with just our immediate family: my husband and I, with our four children. Right in the middle of dinner, one of the twins came down with stomach flu and—you can get the results—his dinner was all over the place! Needless to say, he didn’t even touch his cake or presents. Anything can happen with young children, and the best-laid plans often need to be changed. My husband and I were glad that we didn’t spend a lot of money on a party that one of our sons would have been too sick to enjoy. We celebrated several days later when everyone was well, and it was just fine. The twins never knew, of course, that their party was a few days late.


  • Make It Short. Experts advise that birthday parties for young children shouldn’t last longer than an hour and a half. Kids usually start to get cranky if the party drones on, and with twins the crankiness will be turned up to the MAX!


  • Keep Nap Times in Mind. Try to schedule the party for late morning or late afternoon when your twins are well rested.


  • Don’t Overdo the Guest List. More people mean more chaos. Your toddlers aren’t going to know or care if you didn’t invite every kid on the street. Keep the list small and invite only those who are nearest and dearest to you and the twins, usually your family and closest friends.


  • Have Separate Cakes and Presents. Toddler and preschooler twins aren’t great at sharing. You don’t need a fight in the middle of the party. Of course, if they’re receiving something large, such as a swing set, then one is enough. But smaller gifts are usually best bought in pairs.


  • Serve Kid-Friendly Food. Serve lots of finger foods and check with parents beforehand about any allergies. Don’t serve anything that little ones can choke on, such as hot dogs. And make sure you have food for the adults, too! Make it easy on yourself and order lots of pizza, or have other parents or family members help out with the cooking.


  • Don’t Stress Out. With little kids, there are going to be accidents and meltdowns. The twins are going to get cake and ice cream all over their darling party outfits. Keep your cool and relax, and others will follow your lead.


  • Ask Someone Else to Take Pictures. This will leave your hands free to take care of the kids, serve drinks, etc. If you want a picture of each guest, make sure you instruct your photographer about your wishes.


  • Have Lots of Toys and Activities Planned for the Kids. Set up age-appropriate “stations” for different age groups (just like at preschool!). For instance, tape big pieces of paper to the floor and supply washable crayons for little ones to color with. Set up pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey or a piñata for kids who are a little older. Enlist other parents to help run each station.


  • Make Sure Goody Bags Are Age-Appropriate. Don’t include toys with tiny parts that can detach and be swallowed. And go light on the sugary sweets.


  • Baby-Proof Your Party Place. I remember attending a party once where the party room opened right up onto a lake. I was terrified all night that one of the children would tumble into the water and drown. Twins and young children can be very active! If your party isn’t at your house, you’ll most likely need to baby-proof the facilities before the party starts. Put plug covers on all the outlets. Make sure that grills and hot food stations are out of reach of little ones. Choose a safe setting.


Susan M. Heim is the author of It’s Twins! Parent-to-Parent Advice from Infancy Through Adolescence and Twice the Love: Stories of Inspiration for Families with Twins, Multiples and Singletons . Visit her Web site at .

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About Susan Heim

Susan M. Heim is an author and editor, specializing in multiples, parenting, women’s and Christian issues. Her books include "Boosting Your Baby's Brain Power"; "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Twins and More"; "It’s Twins! Parent-to-Parent Advice from Infancy Through Adolescence"; "Twice the Love: Stories of Inspiration for Families with Twins, Multiples and Singletons"; and, "Oh, Baby! 7 Ways a Baby Will Change Your Life the First Year." Upcoming books include "Chicken Soup for the Soul: All in the Family," "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Women," and "Moms of Multiples' Devotions to Go." Susan's articles and essays have appeared in many books, magazines and Web sites. She is a member of the National Association of Women Writers and the Southeastern Writers Association, and has a degree in Business Administration from Michigan State University. Susan lives with her husband and four sons (two teenagers and twin grade-schoolers) in Florida.

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