We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.
According to FTC Guidelines, I need to inform you that I received merchandise to help facilitate this article. All experiences and opinions are my own.
We recently celebrated my granddaughter’s 3rd birthday, and the timing was perfect because we were lucky to be selected to host a Disneykids Preschool Playdate Party! We have loved when we did the DisneySide parties, and to be able to continue with the youngest member of our household is a total treat.
For our Disney Playdate party, I had so many ideas and thoughts of how to make this THE PERFECT PARTY, but then life happened.
Let me describe LIFE here:
My granddaughter is a precious girl who is loved by two families. Part of her time is spent with her Mom and her maternal family and the other part of her time is spent with her Dad, my son, and us, his family.
So, that being said, even though I had grand ideas for this party, it was not my child’s birthday and not my party to plan. Okay, fair enough…but how does a grandmother stay involved in a party while at the same time not overstepping her bounds? Very carefully!
Many of us live in blended households now. The Ozzy and Harriet of days past are now more like Modern Family’s Gloria and Jay or Mitch and Cam. Even though my son and granddaughter are in my house, that doesn’t mean I take over and parent her. The only way all of us in the same house can work well together is by the grandparents remaining lovingly detached while the parents parent the child. I am my little sweetie’s DeeDee. My husband is her Papa. My son is her daddy and he fills his role wonderfully, so there is no need for us, the grandparents, to step in and try to take over.
Trying not to step in and take over is HARD though! Especially when it comes time to plan a party. I have planned hundreds of parties, this is my thing! But again, this is not my child. So what do I do to keep the peace?
Keep it simple, sweeties!!
Walt Disney World sent us a fabulous box of party goods for our DisneyKids Preschool Playdate and after opening it up with my little snookums, I offered items out of the box to them and they added to items they had already bought or prepared.
The key word in that was offered. I offered items. I didn’t push them. I didn’t say, “you have to use these” and if they were not used, I didn’t get miffed about it (why would I? I can use them at a later date for a playdate that I host!).
In my efforts to not take over, I asked both parents what I could do to help. That is KEY to a happy grandparent/parent relationship. You need help, I am here for you. You don’t need help? Okay, then I will just be DeeDee and play with our princess while y’all plan and prep. (I really like that aspect!)
It’s Party Time!
For the party, my Daughter-In-Love planned a perfect playdate at a local park that had a great playground and large covered area. My granddaughter’s entire preschool class was invited. The weather was perfect. The kids were excited, and my granddaughter was ecstatic! She had been saying it was her birthday for weeks by this point and finally, it was!
For this party, food was kept to munchable type foods, finger foods and for the cake…cupcakes! My DIL is a vegetarian and very health conscious and the spread completely reflected that. She knows the K.I.S.S. method and applied it here with simple foods that both the kids and adults enjoyed. Win!
(Somewhere there is an SD card full of photos of food and fun. Somewhere that isn’t here. When I find it, those photos will be added. The food was GOOD!! Vegetarian good and we all need more of that, so keep your fingers crossed for me to find that little thing.)
For most of the entertainment, the kids ran around the playground and expended some of their preschool energy. For those that wanted to take a break, there was a picnic table that had been turned into an art station with a long roll of white paper and a set of watercolors for each child. Once again, she K.I.S.S.ed this perfectly! Another win!
For simple goody bag type gifts, the Dollar Store and Target’s Dollar Spot was the place to go. Besides the watercolors, there were balls, bubbles, and lots of other little things that 3 year olds love (and sometimes the parents not so much – whistles, anyone?).
Even though I mentioned earlier that our party was for my granddaughter’s 3rd birthday, one tip I have for throwing a DisneyKids Preschool Playdate is to NOT mix it with a birthday party (unless scheduling gives you no other options). Even at the young age of 3 years old, preschoolers already know what to expect at a birthday party. One of those things that they know will happen will be presents. Present giving and opening can take away a lot of the time from a party. I have attended (and given) parties where we sit and open every single present, then there have been the ones where the presents sat on a table and were not opened until after the party when the party-goers had already left. Due to the age of the partiers for these parties,it was easier to only open gifts that the guests expressed interest in seeing the birthday girl open. Some kids want to see the honoree open what they picked for them, so those were opened. Other kids just wanted to play, so they played. Doing it this way saves time and even more important, it keeps the preschooler temper tantrums to a minimum. If you have ever been at a birthday party and one of the guests suddenly decided that the gift the honoree opened was really the giver’s, then you know exactly what I mean.
Another reason I think a birthday party gets in the way of a playdate is that one person is the star for the day. I like that during a playdate, no one child is being singled out and everyone is on equal footing. We aren’t pushing little ones to say (or sing) things they aren’t in the mood to repeat back to someone, and the focus can be totally on the play and not so much the celebration.
All that being said though, our playdate birthday party turned out perfectly. She kept it simple and that was the sweet K.I.S.S. of success!
With us being at the perfect playdate age, I am looking forward to many more DisneyKids Preschool Playdates. With my granddaughter’s deep love for Lilo & Stitch and Moana right now, I think a Little Luau is just the perfect way for her to play with her friends this summer. My fellow DisneyMoms have gone all out with their playdates, and I can’t wait to try out some of their ideas. You can check out all the DisneyKids Preschool Playdate party posts (whew, that’s a mouthful!) here on Pinterest.
Thanks for joining us as we celebrate my little Rory’s 3rd year. She is loving all things Disney now and I am just tickled pink to help that continue. Stay tuned for our summer playdate recap soon!
Charlotte Dawn (or as I am known by my grandma name, DeeDee)