The guest list for your toddler’s third birthday party

Whether you’re putting together an elaborate celebration, or a more casual get-together to celebrate the third anniversary of the day you met Baby, the guest list is what makes the party.

Choosing the right formula for a birthday party can be tricky. When it comes to inviting friends, some experts suggest the formula for the right amount to invite is to take the child’s age, then add one. So, based on that equation, the “right” amount of friends to invite to Baby’s third birthday party would be four.

If only it were that simple. She may have heaps of cousins, neighborhood pals, and even new friends from preschool. So, just how do you decide who makes the cut?

  • Categorize: The best way to decide who to invite is to pick a category and stick to it. That may mean just family, only neighbors, or whichever category makes sense for your family. You will also want to check on whether school Baby’s school has a policy on inviting classmates. While you may slide under the radar by inviting one friend she is especially close to, other schools are strict about invites so as to not exclude anyone. If you’re thinking of inviting half the class, it may mean having to put every student on the guest list.
  • Consider the setting: Where you’re having the party plays an important role when it comes to who you invite. Some venues may only have space for a certain number of guests, and if you’re having it at home, you’ll want to realistically consider how many children (and their parents) will comfortably fit. In the right season, outdoor spaces like a public park allow for more flexibility.
  • Remember the goal: More than anything else, the ultimate goal for Baby’s party is for her to have fun. Be sure she gets along well with the children you invite, and don’t feel pressured to include kids she tends to squabble with. It’s tempting, but it’s also a good idea to consider carefully before giving in to the urge to invite your childless friends along, too. It may help keep you sane, but grownups don’t have much interest in bouncy houses, and their presence will add very little for Baby on her special day, so if space is at a premium, you may choose to leave your guest off the list.

Birthday parties can be a blast, but that doesn’t mean you need to worry too much about making sure this one goes perfectly – Baby is still pretty young, and there’s a good chance her memories of this day might not end up being much more detailed than a foggy recollection of how yummy the cake was.

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