Daycare Birthday Celebrations
It Can't Be That Hard ...
What's to having a party for the child at his daycare? It can't be that hard, right?
Well, no, it isn't that hard if you're properly prepared and you know the rules in your child's daycare. Assuming you can just go in there and have a party is probably a big mistake. However, by consulting with the daycare you can determine how to best celebrate your child's big day. Many daycares like to include the parent(s) of the child having the birthday and might also include any siblings, aunties, cousins or special people who can make it.
Abide by the Rules, Please
Some daycares won't let you bring store-bought items because the daycare is "nut-free" and "allergen-free". You want to be sure that the foods are in line with policy. Generally speaking, pizza and homemade cupcakes with just a little icing along with some juice are about all you need in terms of food. Avoid cake. Little kids just like to stick their fingers in it and end up making a mess. Cupcakes, especially the mini-cupcakes are easy, clean, and just enough for a tiny tummy to handle. Little kids love pizza, especially three- and four-year-olds, but they're not limited to it. Small sandwiches, bagels, veggies and dip and fruit on skewers are all options. Pick healthy foods and remember that sugar sends a lot of kids over the top. The daycare workers have to deal with the aftermath of the party and a room full of sugar-strung kids can be challenging.
Location, Location, Location
Ask the daycare if you can decorate. Choosing a theme like Dora, Handy Manny, Barney, or Mickey Mouse makes decorating really easy. Buy the little plates, hats, and balloons and pick a time that is convenient for the daycare and yourself to go in and decorate. They may do it for you if you ask. If the daycare has a backyard and the weather is good, an outdoor party is fun for little kids. You can pick a theme that fits with the outdoors, like a jungle theme, and plan a couple of games that allow for the kids to burn off some energy.
The attention span of young children is very short and, depending upon the daycare, they may only want to devote a couple of hours at most to the celebration - which is probably more than enough. On the other hand, there are daycares that are happy to dedicate an entire half day to making a party - playing games, painting, making special things to celebrate the birthday. Often the daycare will make a hat for your child or a sash and decorate a chair to make your child feel special.
Should You Have Presents?
Although children usually associate their birthday with presents (depending upon the age of the child), daycare probably isn't the place for that. Instead, you might want to let your child pick out a book for the daycare and have it dedicated in honor of your child's birthday. The kids in the daycare will love it and your child will feel very special.
Goodies for Everyone
Party bags are another item to consider. These should be handed out at the end of the day by the daycare to the children as they leave. The options for party bags are myriad, and depending upon the general age of the kids in the daycare, the goodies can range from pens or pencils and note pads to stickers. Avoid small toys and little hard candies that can choke a child. One favor that seems to be a big hit with kids' parties is a drink cup. They can be used during the party and then taken home as a party favor afterward. If the idea of buying a bunch of little things and stuffing bags leaves you cold, pick a great item, like a coloring book and crayons in the theme you've chosen for the party and give one to each child in the daycare. Remember, if a child who regularly attends the daycare isn't there for the party, it is important to them that they, too, receive a goodie bag. In a daycare, everyone is involved.
Thanks for the Party!
When it is all over, be sure you child says thank you in an appropriate way. Have him make a card on his own, or color a picture, or sign a card that you've written, acknowledging the daycare and the kids he spends his days with. Some parents acknowledge the daycare worker with a small gift of thanks the day of or after the party. It's a nice way to show your appreciation.
There are lots of great ideas on this site for you to glean from. Be sure to visit the various places for ideas and input.