Appropriate 2Nd Birthday Party

Updated on March 03, 2010
H.S. asks from Kings Mills, OH
14 answers

Who is appropriate to invite to a 2nd birthday party. I have an enormous extended family, and have invited them to the 1st birthday, but should the 2nd birthday be the same? My mother is discouraging me to have a family party. She's looking out for herself because she doesn't like big crowds indoors. She would rather give my son a gift on an random day and avoid the party all together. I have many friends who have children around the age of 2 or 3, and I could definitely make it just friends with small children. Or I can have the 4 sets of grandparents to our house for a small gathering. I have 31 cousins on my mothers side, and for my sons 1st birthday, about 25 came. I don't mind the crowd. I'm wondering what other moms have done after the 1st birthday has passed.

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answers from Cleveland on

My personal feeling is that birthday parties have gotten out of control for little ones. I would keep it to immediate family only for a second birthday. Little ones are going to enjoy the time with family, the cake, balloons, etc without the need for a ton of people there. I would reserve big birthday parties for 'special' birthday milestones like 10, 13, etc. Just my opinion.

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answers from San Antonio on

I would encourage you to keep 2nd, 3rd, 4th birthdays very low key. Maybe invite grandparents over for dinner. You don't mind lots of people, but 2 -4 yr olds don't do well with lots of noise and commotion. You don't have to have a birthday party every year for every kid. Talk about exhausting and teaching them the wrong lessons about their bday. Obviously, your mother thinks that the 25 cousins who came to the 1st bday party was too much. Maybe your mom knows how disruptive all those people in one house are to a child. (I would have to agree. Sorry.)

By age 5 or 6, start having parties with son's friends. Good rule of thumb is same number of years = number of kids or some say, one less than number of years old.
Family comes over for dinner at another time.

Once my kids were invited to a neighbor's party where there were 5 boys from the street, and 4 cousins, aunts and uncles and a grandmother in from out of town. Talk about a weird mix of people and personalities. I can say it was the worst party we've ever been to.

Lastly, remember, the bigger the deal you make about the birthday party, the more gifts and material possessions the children will focus on as they get older. I've seen it happen over and over. My youngest (16) goes to school with a girl who was so distraught that none of her friends brought bday gifts to school on her 15th bday for her, that she had to go home. She was a mess. Sad but true about some kids these days.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I'm with Denise for all the reasons Susan O brought up.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

I like the just the grandparents idea.



answers from Washington DC on

How do you want to remember your son's 2nd birthday party? I think if you have a lot of family or friends in the area, and you want to invite them, you should. If your mom doesn't feel comfortable with that big of a group, then she could get together on a different day, perhaps the day before to give her gift.

We always end up having 3 celebrations for each of my kids.
1. We have a large local family. We all live within 20m of each other - if everyone comes, just the family is 17 people. I always invite everyone with the understanding that if they can't make it, they can't make it. Depending on how many come, its either just a small dinner, or a full blown cookout.
2. I then invite the neighbor kids over, do games, etc .
3. We also have one uncle that doesn't like large crowds, or kids, so we get together with him for lunch on a weekend near the birthday.

Hope this helps. Good luck.



answers from Pittsburgh on

I'd invite the grandparents and immediate family (siblings of you & hubby). Dinner, cake & ice cream.



answers from Terre Haute on

So far for both my children (getting ready to turn 5 & 2), we've done family only parties each year. Our family isn't nearly as big as yours though. The party consists of two sets of grandparents, 2 great grandparents, 4 sets of aunt/uncle spouses, their children, a great aunt, and a couple adult cousins and their children. Including my two children, there are normally about 13-15 kids ranging from my youngest to 13 yrs old; and about 20 adults.

My oldest starts kindergarten this year, and I'm sure she'll have friends from school to invite to her party next year. So I think we'll start doing birthday parties a little different next year, but I haven't quite figured out how.



answers from Cleveland on

I also have a large family. Here is what we have done for our 4 children. First one is always big in our family. We rent halls so everyone can be comfortable or party at park (depending on season). 2,3,4 are small, only immediate family. 5 is for kids only with crafts and games. Then about 8 I let mine have a sleepover (my daughters was a tea party theme), 10 was bowling party or family trip out of town to science center and indoor water park (us 6 only). My daughters 10th will be this fall and we are planning a safari theme with a scavanger hunt in the neighborhood (very kid friendly). My son will be 13 in the summer and he is planning a paintball game with some friends and the male family members. I know your's is only going on 2 but here are some ideas for the birthday's to come.


answers from St. Louis on

My husband has a large family (7 sisters, 1 brother) and we invited all of them to both my daughter's 1st and 2nd party. Then we invited daughter's godparents and their children along with friends who had kids the same age as her and one friend of mine who used to watch her. I think there were 25-30 poeple there and it ended up being inside most of the time due to weather.

I think you have to weigh what YOU want to do. Do you want a small party for your daughter with friends, another with family and a third with you, your husband and daughter?

I think for a few years I'd like to just have one large party at our house. When she's older, we'll invite only 'her' friends. We didn't even play games for her 2nd bday. We had a swingset which the kids played on (there were 7 kids including my daughter) and also bought a few very large bubble wands and had the parents blowing those. The kids had a blast!!

I think for my son's 1st bday we'll do the same - large party at our house.

For my daughter's birthday in August this year, I am going to add a few things 'to do' as her first two birthdays we just ate cake and let the kids play (parties were 2 hours). This year, I want to do face painting, have a pinata and also possibly have the kids decorate their own cookies.



answers from Indianapolis on

Most other moms I know do what we do/did.... just invite 1-2 of our child's friends from preschool and/or playgroups for the 2nd birthday party. Really, there's no need to have a huge party - it's too overwhelming for a young child. We also have a very large family (close to 80 with just siblings, neices/nephews, grandparents). Most do not expect to be invited to the children's parties - they understand they are for the kids. Starting with the 3rd birthday, we invite the entire preschool class (about half come usually so it's not that large - around 6-8 kids). The preschool age parties are more like playgroups - lots of unstructured play with a break for cake/ice cream in the middle. No organized games are needed or expected until the kids get to school-age.

One thing to keep in mind... if you start out with huge parties, and the child getting lots of gifts, how hard will it be to change (for you or your child) in a few years... they will soon just expect a big party and lots of gifts and will protest when that changes. Not too many people can afford to continue hosting huge birthday parties every year. We rarely spend more than $50 per birthday party but the kids love them, have a great time, and their friends talk about them afterwards and look forward to the next one.

Simplicity is good, the kids will be calmer and more at ease and the child will still have a very good time even if you don't invite everyone he knows or is related to.



answers from Mansfield on

When my son was 2 I invited immediate family and some of my close friends with kids that age.There was a good size crowd but not huge about 15. Come to think about it that is about the same as what I did for each girl too, but the crowd did go some because the original people invited had more children (etc.) I don't think you need to invite all the cousins and things like that if you are not close. Nice that they came to the first birthday but unless you get together regularly they probably are not expecting it. As they get older parties become more about their friends and less about family so if you want to family involved now is the time to do it. Most birthday parties I have been to for about that age are close family and close friends of the parents (weather they have kids the same age or not). I understand your moms dismay (my mom is clastrophibic ?spelling- so she doesn't like parties much either unless it is in an outdoor or large rented area) so if she is uncomfortable with a big party but you still want to plan one -have her spend a fun day with your son on his birthday (or close to it) including dinner, cake and ice cream (could be left over from a party or something she brings special) and presents of course. Hope this helps :)



answers from Des Moines on

you could always just do 2 parties. when i was young i always had a party with friends and a separate family party (we group 2-3 months of birthdays together) my son will be 2 in march and we are inviting the same people we did for 1st year. grandparents aunts uncles and then my son has a friend a few months older then him and she and her mom and little sister will probably come. if my son had more friends or i had more friends close by i would probably do 2 parties. the family party can just be low key. all i do for my sons party is make a cake and ice cream and make pizza for everyone. i see it as a celebration rather then a gift giving event. so the party is mostly for the adults my son enjoys seeing everyone and playing with other kids but the type of party and who comes means very little to him. at this point you are throwing a party for you and the other people attending and your child is just the subject! no matter what you choose let it be a fun day for everyone :)



answers from Fort Wayne on

We do a decent sized party, but I don't invite cousins. I invite the grandparents, aunts, uncles, great aunts, great uncles, our neighbors (we only have 1), and a few select cousins and friends. I keep it limited to the people I talk to on a regular basis. I feel like if the only time I talk to them is to invite them to a party, then I'm just asking for gifts.



answers from Cleveland on

My son is two. We invited our closest family and friends. It was still big, but not as big as his 1st birthday (when we invited everyone). Before inviting someone, ask yourself if you would invite this person over for pizza one night. That will answer your question if they should be invited or not.

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