(Closed) How to get a toddler to open birthday presents? Help!

posted 3 years ago in Babies
Post # 2
8056 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

Sunshine09 :  less presents? How many people are at the party? I think it’s a little unrealistic to expect a 2 year old to sit and open 20 presents without distraction. 

Post # 4
550 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2016 - Theater

Accept that your toddler is not extension of you. If they can’t sit still to open presents, open them for them and thank the people for the gift and let your toddler enjoy their birthday. This is what my sister’s done with all her kids because let’s face it, toddlers don’t care about birthdays. They can’t even remember them until age 5 or 6.

Anyone who judges you or your child harshly because your toddler can’t sit and open presents is a jerk anyway, so don’t stress.

Post # 5
4231 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2015 - Hotel Ballroom

My niece is a year and a half and doesn’t have the attention span to open her own presents. My Brother-In-Law or SIL will sit by her and open the present on her behalf and thank the appropriate person…and if the gift is age appropriate they will hand it to her.


Post # 6
3115 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2018

Sunshine09 :  it’s pretty impossible to force a toddler to do anything. I would open the presents at home, after the party. If there is someone who wants to see his reaction maybe video. And send thank you notes that he helps you “write.”

Post # 7
819 posts
Busy bee

I second the idea of you just opening them, or having him help you open them until he’s bored. My family is the same way, if you haven’t seen the baby open your present then it practically doesn’t count, and it’s absurd. Toddlers don’t operate that way. Let him do what he wants while he can get away with it, and then when he’s older and more able to understand what’s going on you can explain to him that it would be really nice if he sat and opened all of his presents before starting to play with them.

Post # 10
929 posts
Busy bee

You dont. Open the presents after the guests leave. If there is a specific attendee that would like to see your child open their gift, then do just that one. Trust me, nobody likes to sit through an hour of watching a kid open gifts anyhow. Much nicer to reserve that time for later.

Post # 11
751 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2015

I don’t have kids, but I am an aunt to several little ones and I’ve always wondered why even open presents at the party for kids under probably 4? They do not have the attention span of an adult and honestly, just from my bridal showers…opening a ton of presents and oohing and ahhing in front of a group is tiresome even as a grown up! Lol!

Is there any way you could let people know (word of mouth maybe) that presents are appreciated but not expected and then just let the kids enjoy the actual playtime? If your little one receives any gifts (and of course he will, people love to spoil kids at birthdays, I know I do!) then they can be opened later and you can write thank you notes for the gifts which I’d assume you’d do anyway. 

But that way you don’t have to stress over it, the kids can just play/have fun, and then your little one can play with all his stuff later. I guarantee he won’t care that he didn’t get to open stuff AT the party (again, 4 or under…at 5+ they would probably notice and/or care, lol), especially if the gifts are just put on a table and not brought up again. I think cake and playtime and games are more than enough.

Again, I don’t have any kids of my own yet, these are just observations as Aunt MrsGinger from all my nieces and nephews parties.

Post # 12
1078 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

Let him open a few til he gets bored and let that be it. I mean that’s better than trying to make him do it because then he’ll likely have a meltdown and NO ONE wants to see that right? 😉

Post # 14
1945 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

I thought on your own birthday you get to do what you want?! If all he wants is to have fun playing with one present, let him? 

As adults you can open the presents for him.

Post # 15
3115 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2018

Sunshine09 :  I try to just give the benefit of the doubt to busy parents. I don’t spend more than $10-15 on gifts for school friends and don’t mind if I don’t get a note. For my good friend’s kids I spend more but know that the gift will be appreciated.

I’ve gone through the gift expectation/disappointment many times over the years with my nephew. Gifts are sent but never acknowledged until I ask about them. One year I called to see if he got the present I sent and he said “yeah. My mom said I could return it bc I don’t like it.” I’ve had to just let go of any expectation when giving a gift.

That said, I would thank everyone in person and if they ask to have your child open the gift go ahead. Otherwise, open at home. 

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