Celebrating your child’s birthday should be time of fun, excitement and laughter. All too often however, it can be a stressful and chaotic time.
This is no truer than when celebrating a child’s first birthday. It is a milestone, just like their birth, and one in which everyone wants to share, from grandparents to next door neighbours.
On one hand, this is delightful that so many people want to share in your bundle of joy but it can also lead to parents and guardians feeling pressured. And, when someone important feels left out, problems can soon arise.
If you are planning a birthday party, there are no shortage of 1st birthday party ideas but, planning and hosting it can seem like a huge mountain to climb. Here we offer some sage advice on hosting a first birthday party…
#1 Watch the clock
You may remember parties stretching for hours on end as a child but for babies and toddlers, a three-hour party can feel like a lifetime! If you are planning on hosting a party for your little one, consider cutting party time to an hour or an hour-and-a-half at the most.
#2 Choose the right time for your little one
Choosing the right time for a baby to enjoy their party is not an exact science but if your baby has a nap routine, then planning the small gathering after their daily nap is a better way for them (and you) to enjoy their day.
#3 Cut back on the guest list
You may everyone wanting to share in their big day and this is when your newly developed powers of diplomacy come in to play. Having too many people coo-ing over your little person all at once can leave them feeling overwhelmed.
If you do have several people wanting to ‘pop over’, try to stagger their visits by asking them to come at a certain time.
#4 Ask for help
You will be surrounded by family and friends all of whom will have some great 1st birthday party ideas and advice. The biggest thing they can do for you is to help you out on the big day. Ask them to help with the food or just be on hand to help on the day.
#5 Watch for toys and accessories
Babies love all kinds of things from brightly coloured balloons to small objects that they should not be able to get hold of. Babies learn about their world around them by putting everything in their mouth from unidentified debris on the floor to pencils, balloons, marbles and more.
Always make sure that you supervise what is around your home, and be vigilant for things can could present a choking hazard.
#6 Create a play space
If you are inviting other small babies and toddlers over for the party, creating a safe zone in which they can play is important.
Most babies at this age are still negotiating their world around them on all-fours, thus creating a play space that is safe from fingers being trodden on and so on is a great way for babies and toddlers to feel safe and secure. Baby-proof this play zone further with age-appropriate toys.
#7 Keep food simple
Wherever you go for 1st birthday party ideas, you will come across advice that tells you to keep food simple. From simple finger sandwiches to small tasty crackers or biscuits, your small guests will not need or want masses of food.
Adult guests, on the other hand, will enjoy birthday party offerings. This doesn’t mean staying up all night baking homemade bread and tasty treats! Make like easy on yourself with a trip to the local supermarket and buying ready-made party foods. Simply cook on the morning of the party, and lay out on the table.
#8 Don’t over-think the party
Hosting parties for kids can become almost competition-like in some cases. What can be lost is the whole reason behind celebrating a child’s birthday and that is, to show them the love, support and encouragement that is around them every day.
The same is certainly true for your year-old baby. You are some time away from planning discos, pony parties and afternoon picnics in the woods. The best piece of advice for 1st birthday parties? Keep it simple, from the numbers of people you invite to the snacks you serve.
And finally, start as you mean to go and send a small thank you note to family and friends for their gifts.