Toddler Birthday Party Simplified (and stress-free)

I remember when my first-born turned two. I hadn’t had much of a party for her on her first birthday, but for her second, I was going all out! I arranged a huge birthday bash in a big park with lots of people and more cupcakes than could be consumed.

I remember the preparation that went into it on that day. As the hours kept creeping by, my stress level just kept climbing. All of the details that I had planned out were now in a bucket of sweat dripping from my brow as I worked frivolously to make it all perfect for my sweet and only little princess. It took everything in me to keep it together without blowing a gasket.

The party was… fun! I don’t think my girl remembers it. At all. And what she liked most about that day? Playing.

I applaud the mamas who make Pintrest-worthy birthday parties. No really, I truly do admire them!! I have a couple of friends who pull that off amazingly well, and I’m over here in awe.

I had to learn the hard way that unfortunately this mama is does not have that amazing gift!

These days, I take a different approach. Something more unique to my strengths, and the interests of my kiddos.

I call it…

Get ready…

The Keep-It-Super-Simple approach. 😉

This week, our second child turned two. And while I was basically a basket of tears at the thought of our baby reaching that milestone, I really wanted to make his birthday celebration one that we would all really enjoy. Something that was special to us, as a family unit. And so… I did just that!

Now I have to warn you, there’s nothing astronomically amazing about how it all went down, or how it turned out. But I can honestly say that it fit our family so well, and for other families out there who are going crazy trying to wow their children with elaborate parties, I just want to put you at ease. You don’t have to go that route! I mean, if you don’t want to, of course. My children were head-over-heals excited about this super simple birthday “party” and I can assure you, it was anything BUT elaborate!


Now let’s be clear, If elaborate is your thing, TOTALLY GO FOR IT!!! That’s a gift in itself, so use that gift, girl!

What I’m saying here is that we should embrace our unique ways of doing things within our families because when we do we can really enjoy and savor the moments even more!

So for me, the NOT-party planner, I used the Keep-It-Super-Simple approach for my little guy’s two-year-old party.

We started by carving out a few hours on a weeknight that we could be together as a family, without other distractions. Life is so busy and the demands and responsibilities are never-ending. So having time set aside to just sort of be, was really nice. And because there was nothing pressing that needed tending to, the stress level could stay at a minimum and we could all enjoy the evening that much more.

We ate a normal dinner, like we always do. Although you could totally order something yummy or make a family favorite if you like. We talked and laughed and tried to guess what was inside the presents. And afterwards, we cleaned things up, and got ready to open gifts!

We intentionally only had a couple of gifts for our kiddo to open. For one, our son doesn’t typically enjoy playing with toys. And for another thing, again, keeping things super simple. Our kiddos are just as happy with a few as they are with a lot. And to us, that’s a great mindset for them to develop at such a young age!


Our oldest helped our youngest open his gifts, which allowed my husband and I to watch and enjoy the priceless expressions of excitement on their faces. And it allowed us to take a ton of pictures of course.

Next we dug in to the cake. Oh yum. It was fantastic. Probably the most fancy part of the evening. My hubby (who enjoys making elaborate homemade cakes – like I said, do you!), made a birthday cake (that was absolutely delicious). He makes a special cake on each of our birthdays, so we are always plotting and planning what kind of cakes we’ll request when our birthday rolls around. This has become a really special tradition in our family.


We had so much fun lighting candles on the cake and teaching our little guy how to blow them out. We even put a second set of candles on there so he could do it again once he got the hang of it!



After that, the kiddos played with the set of remote-control cars that was inside one of the gifts. Which was great because they needed a way to work off the sugar rush from that cake!

Yes, I was still in my workout clothes, without a stitch of make-up, and my hair kind of crazy. No our house was not spotless. No there were not twenty different elements to that brought the celebration together to perfection. But YES, all four of us had an absolute blast.


So what is the key element that made this night a success?

If you ask me, it’s the quality of the time we spent together. When all is said and done, my two-year-old will not remember opening those presents. My five-year-old won’t remember that her mommy didn’t craft an amazing theme.

But what I hope they’ll both remember is their hearts being filled up with love as our family spent the most precious of moments focusing on what matters most. I hope they’ll remember the smiles, the laughter, the cheerful words, the authenticity, the hugs, the kisses, and the warmth of our home as they look back on the moments like these.


This blog post was also featured on She Is Blank Space.

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