PREPARING FOR BABY'S FIRST BIRTHDAY
How to Plan a First Birthday Party for Your Child
Celebrating a child’s first birthday is always more memorable for the parents and the guests than it is for the baby. That doesn’t mean that it can’t be an entertaining and eventful day for everyone. Will your baby remember any of it? Almost certainly not, but a well-planned event—preserved with photos, video and memories—can become an important part of your child’s life story. With a little planning and some reasonable expectations, you can create a party that’s fun and stress-free.
Planning the Celebration
Stick to a budget.How much you spend will, of course, depend on the number of guests and your finances, but a majority of parents spend less than 0.00. Don’t feel as though you need to spend a particular amount, or keep pace with other parents. You’ve already spent plenty on your child in their first year, so their first birthday should be focused on them, rather than the staging of an elaborate social affair.
Keep it small.An infant might be scared by a lot of strangers, especially adults, so limit your guest list to family and close friends. Also consider how many people your budget can accommodate. Food costs, particularly, can add up quickly as your guest list grows.
Pick a theme.The guest of honor won’t care one way or another, but your older guests might enjoy a colorful, creative theme party. Plus, your keepsake photos will be a lot more fun if they include decorations, hats and colorful food.Some ideas to consider:
- Cartoon or superhero themes
- Color themes
- Animal themes
- A circus theme
Pick a location that fits your theme and guest list.Although your baby might feel the most relaxed at home, you may need to consider another space to accommodate a larger guest list. If you’ve decided on a theme, perhaps it lends itself to a particular location, like a park or the zoo. If somewhat older children are attending, consider a kid-friendly restaurant.
Keeping Your Guests Happy
Keep your menu simple.You’ll most likely be feeding a wide variety of guests, including babies, adults and kids of varying ages, so plan accordingly. Serve food that appeals to everyone. Remember, some of your guests may not have teeth yet! Also be aware of your guests’ dietary needs, including known allergens and religious restrictions.
Serve finger foods.Your child, and many of the guests, won’t know how to use a fork or hold a plate. Consider easy to eat, one- or two-bite foods.
- Cheese cubes
- Individual sweets
- Mini sandwiches
- Fruit pieces
- Pizza, although it’s a little difficult for toddlers to eat without some help
Have a birthday cake.Sure, plenty of it will end up on your child’s face and hands, but it’s a classic photo opportunity and, well, everyone loves cake. Ask your local bakery for theme suggestions, too. Or, you can bake a cake yourself.
Plan a game or activity that includes everyone.Your child won’t understand more complex and cooperative activities yet, so plan a short, simple activity that makes them the focus, but includes all of your guests.
- Have guests take turns reading from your child’s favorite book. The fun part for guests can be acting out the text and reading it to your baby in different voices.
- Have a sing-a-long. Your child probably enjoys hearing music, and having your guests participate in singing their favorite songs is a great way to include everyone.
Plan additional games and activities based on your guest list.Your soon-to-be 1 year-old doesn’t really understand yet how to interact with other babies, so don’t plan games or group activities that would be only be suitable for older kids. Also consider your guest list. If you’re having a lot of somewhat older kids, consider a separate activity space for them with art projects, books and suitable toys.
Give everyone a party favor.Small bags of candy are a great way to say “thanks” for making your baby’s day a special one. You can customize them based on age. For example, you can put dark chocolates or something more even more elegant in the adult favors, while kids will be perfectly content with milk chocolate and sugary sweets. It’s always best to avoid giving sweets to babies, so substitute a small, cuddly toy for your tiniest guests.
Making the Party Stress-Free
Take pictures before the guests arrive.Sure, you’ll want to have plenty of photos of your child interacting with the guests, but get some shots before your baby’s birthday outfit gets wrinkled and their face is covered with frosting.
Keep it short.An hour or an hour and a half is about the limit of your child’s attention span and energy level. Schedule the party to coincide with your baby’s typically active hours.
Make sure you have help.Hosting even a small party may be more than one person can handle, so consider getting help with food prep, decorating and hosting. If you’re going to have a lot of other kids in attendance, hiring a babysitter gives the host one less thing to worry about.
Plan for messes.You’re throwing a party for a 1 year-old, so some sort of mess is to be expected. You can control the severity of the inevitable spills and drops by avoiding red beverages, jelly-filled foods and particularly sticky items.
QuestionHow can I keep cake fresh?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf it's a whipped cream cake, leave it in the refrigerator until one or two hours before the party. Most other cakes are fine to leave unrefrigerated for a day or two, as the sugar helps preserve it.Thanks!
QuestionWould Sesame Street be a good party theme?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, that would be a fun theme. There is a lot you can do with it.Thanks!
- Limit the presents. While it’s tempting to make a gift presentation the highlight of your child’s party, your 1 year-old will be overwhelmed by them, and your other guests will quickly lose interest as your child slowly tears into a confusing mess of wrapping paper and toys.
- Avoid professional entertainers, for now. Hired entertainment, whether it’s a clown, a magician, a pony or something else, is better suited for older children. Your 1 year-old may be frightened or confused by a stranger in costume.
- Get plenty of balloons. Toddlers are fascinated by them, and they can be a colorful part of almost any theme.
- Always ask your guests about food allergies. Common party snacks can contain nuts and other allergens, so make everyone aware of what’s being served.
- Latex balloons are a choking hazard. Opt for mylar or foil.
Video: 1ST BIRTHDAY PARTY PREP | ON A BUDGET
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