Congratulations! It’s your little one’s first birthday and you probably can’t believe how quickly this first year has flown by. No doubt you’ll be eager to celebrate this milestone with family and friends, but you may never have thrown a party like this before, so where do you start?
Organizing a party for a one-year-old is quite a unique challenge but with a little forethought and planning you can make it a special, stress-free day that the whole family will remember for years to come.
Keep It Simple
It’s easy to get carried away and feel under pressure to plan the perfect party, but there’s really no need – baby is too young to take in much of what’s going on and will be much happier if you’re relaxed and at ease. There are loads of ways to make the day fun for everyone without going overboard to impress.
Make The Party Child Specific
Every child is different and you’ll know yours better than anyone, so plan your party around your little one: if they’re gregarious and bold you can be a little more daring and expansive with your celebrations; if they’re easily spooked and timid keep it low-key and more intimate.
Whichever option you go for, remember to focus on being available for the birthday boy or girl so that they know they’re safe – they’ll want as much mummy/daddy attention as possible!
Dear Friend, You Are Invited To…
Deciding who to invite is a challenge whenever you plan a party, but for a first birthday it’s even more important to get it right.
As we mentioned above, you need to base it on your child’s needs: family and a few close friends for the shy ones; other parents and their little ones for the more adventurous spirit. Remember that this party is an opportunity for you to relax a little too, so don’t be shy about forging stronger bonds with parents from your baby groups by inviting them along.
Timing Is Everything
Nap time is crucial to your baby’s happiness and development, so it makes sense to plan your party with this in mind. A good idea is to organize it just after nap and feed time because that’s when your little one will be in the best mood. Check with the other parents with small children to try and coordinate with their child’s nap time too; this is both good manners and the best way to ensure a happy party!
What About The Venue?
There’s a lot of wisdom in the idea of hosting this special occasion in your own home – you child will feel comfortable, everything you need will be to hand, and it’s easy to deal with napping children. That doesn’t mean that you should disregard other options, though.
A local park is a great place to throw a little party if the weather allows because everyone appreciates some fresh air and it’s easy to arrange. Find a quiet area with some shade and arrange a first birthday picnic party – it’s also much easier to prepare before and clean up afterwards!
It Is Not A Party Without Food
As with every other step to organizing a first birthday party, keep it simple! There should be food for the adults as well as the little ones in attendance, but it doesn’t have to be too fancy.
Concentrate on the foods your little one enjoys and consult with the other parents so that you have something their child will eat too. A first birthday party doesn’t require you to deviate too far from your normal routine – your one year old really doesn’t need a lot of sugary junk food to have a good time – but you can have a bit of fun with the presentation, so go for colorful and inviting foods. We recommend some of the following:
- Use a cookie cutter to make little round sandwiches and arrange them on a plate to resemble a caterpillar. Cut cucumber slices into quarters for the legs and use a cherry tomato with cream cheese and chives for the head, eyes and antenna.
- Crudités are a great healthy addition to any first birthday party, but you can make them a little bit more exciting by putting them in tiny paper cups. Mix and match the colors using carrot, blueberries, cucumber and cherry tomatoes cut in half to make individual servings.
- Make a lion’s head by putting hummus in the centre of a large plate and surrounding it with alternating slices or red and orange pepper. Use olives for the facial features.
- Slice watermelon into small triangles and push a lolly stick into the skin to make melon lollies.
The adults will also enjoy these tasty nibbles, but it’s a good idea to include some finger foods especially for them too – be careful to avoid anything that might be a choking hazard for the little ones, though, and always check for any allergies, especially to nuts.
And The Cake?
Everyone needs a birthday cake, so either make one yourself or ask a local cake making service to do it for you. The lighting of that single but significant candle and everyone gently singing ‘happy birthday’ as you present it to the little one (keep the candle out of reach though!) is a truly magical moment – so this is one detail we feel is really worth going to town on!
Do I Need Games And Party Bags?
Neither of these are necessary just yet. As long as there are lots of colorful age-appropriate toys around for the little ones to play with they’ll have a wonderful time. Avoid party poppers or other loud noises and focus on upbeat music and nursery rhymes instead, to lessen the likelihood of startling the children.
Our Top Tips For A Successful Party
- Be safe: it’s always a good idea to have a first-aid kit and know how to use it.
- If your party is at home, make sure all the breakables are out of harm’s way.
- Let feeding mums know where they can go to feed privately if they wish.
- Take lots of photos!
- Be prepared for MESS! Have towels and wipes to hand – you’re going to need them!
- Enlist some help: trying to take care of your guests and the birthday boy or girl will be tough alone.
- Have fun! Try to enjoy the process and relax – everyone will have a much better time if they know you’re enjoying it too.
While your child’s first birthday is an important occasion and worth celebrating it’s definitely worth approaching it with a carefree attitude and low expectations. Your little one will have a great time if everyone else is happy, they’re well fed and rested, and they get plenty of time with you. Think of this as a trial run for birthdays to come where your kids will be more self-aware and enjoy yourself!
If you’re looking for some inspiration for birthday gifts for your one year old, check out the Kiddit catalogue of great ideas to help them develop in the coming year!