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You are here: Home > Baby > Parenting

Keep Your Child's First Birthday Simple

by Heather K. Grace |
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It's important to think about your one-year-old's needs, first and foremost. He may not remember his first birthday party years from now, but he will definitely react in the moment, amidst all the excitement. He'll know whether he's happy or miserable in the situation you've set out for him-and he'll be certain to let you know (and perhaps pay for it!)

Your baby's turning one already? How did the time pass so quickly? And, more importantly, how the heck are you going to pull together his first birthday party in just a week?

Don't despair. First birthday parties are more important to the parents and extended family than they really are to the child. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't do anything to celebrate your baby's birth. However, keeping it simple will allow you to maintain your sanity, as well as your budget.

That's right, a budget. Have you gone to a birthday party supplies store recently? Take a look at the amazing range of choices, as well as prices. Looks like you'd better make a budget- and stick to it. This will help you get into a healthy habit for your child's next 10 birthday parties...because the parties will just keep getting more and more complicated and costly as the years go by.

Once you've decided how much you're willing to spend, it's time to figure out how you want your celebration to pan out. Should you invite just the immediate family? Extended family? A few friends? It's up to you, but be sure to consider your child's temperment. Is he completely at ease around a lot of people, when he's getting lots of attention? Or does he seem more relaxed being with just Mom, Dad, and Spot?

It's important to think about your one-year-old's needs, first and foremost. He may not remember his first birthday party years from now, but he will definitely react in the moment, amidst all the excitement. He'll know whether he's happy or miserable in the situation you've set out for him-and he'll be certain to let you know (and perhaps pay for it!)

Most parents today decide to keep their child's first birthday party to immediate family and a neighbor or two. Jennifer Gibson, 31, of Ottawa, Canada, says that on her big day, her daughter Katie was perfectly happy to be with just Mom, Dad, the couple next door, and their baby, Teegan. "She didn' t seem to miss having a huge blowout bash," laughs Gibson. "She was more interested in the bows, ribbons, and playing with the icing on the cake than anything else!"

For Katie's third birthday, Gibson realized her daughter had a handful of friends she enjoyed, and a real interest in animals. So she did some research-word of mouth as well as the Internet- and learned of a nearby farm which held birthday parties with hayrides and a petting zoo. "I'd saved enough money from having more simple parties over the years, and felt this was something Katie would really enjoy. I was right-it went off without a hitch."

Unfortunately, a party at the Animal Farm or even McDonalds won't go down so well with a bunch of one-year-olds! Remember, most attention spans at that age aren't developed enough for them to truly enjoy a chaotic, hour-long celebration. So don't buy a motherload of expensive toys and games, or expect your friends to get your child gifts, because it's likely your bundle of joy will only go gaga over the red ribbons and the dog's food. Keep the celebration simple, tailor it to your child's tastes-not yours!- and don't exhaust yourself with the details.

Save all the tears, toil, sweat, and cash for his second or third birthday party-the ones he may remember. In fact, with today's seemingly unlimited choice of themes, color schemes, and invitations, you may just want to start planning it now....


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Heather Grace is a Contributing Writer for Baby Corner. Email her at hgrace@sympatico.ca

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