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Planning Baby's First Birthday Party

Katlyn Joy |27, September 2011


Planning Baby's First Birthday Party

How quickly those first months pass and before you realize it, it's nearly baby's first birthday. Planning a birthday party for your little one is always a big deal but the very first one is truly a momentous occasion. Many parents can feel overwhelmed, or perhaps may be tempted to overdo it.

Things to Consider Before Planning the Party

Your child's temperament. Is she shy and timid or gregarious and talkative? If your child loves excitement and company, you may expand the guest list in the direction of the more the merrier. However, if your little one gets withdrawn or frightened with too many faces or noise surrounding him, then keep the party small and on the quiet side.

Choose the best setting. For most babies, home is the ideal choice. It's familiar and easily adapted for sharing with other little ones, where another location may require more childproofing. Also, feeling comfortable and at ease in the setting may make or break the baby's birthday party.

Pick a time of day that baby is most likely to be happy and alert. Holding a party during baby's usual nap or bedtime is sure to be a mistake, as is a morning gathering for a lil nightowl.

Keep it short. A couple of hours is plenty of time for a first birthday party. Longer than that and you risk melt downs and overload.

Who To Invite

The guest list may include relatives like grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and siblings. It may also include playmates from nursery school or church. However, keep in mind with a younger set of guests, you'll be including family members and a list of five maybe more like ten in the end. Inviting the whole family, the entire baby playgroup class, and the neighborhood kiddies is chaotic at best and insane more likely. Too many guests and baby is likely to become overwhelmed quickly.

First Birthday Party Themes

An elaborate character themed party will most likely be lost on your one-year-old. Instead stick to a general one such as circus, puppy, teddy bear or cars. It will keep costs down and interest baby more anyway.
Treat bags should include simple healthy treats and toys that are baby safe. Nothing elaborate is required and candy may be frowned upon by guests' parents so avoid the trouble.
Games and activities should be simple and short. One year olds will not be playing by rules. Have a water table with toys, or a bubble blowing area. Activities should be easy to handle and open-ended. Competitive games are nothing but a headache at this age and more for the adults than the little ones.

First Birthday Party Checklist

  1. Make the guest list.
  2. Choose the location and date.
  3. Find a theme.
  4. Design invitations that are simple and tied to the theme.
  5. Address and mail out invitations with RSVPs.
  6. Bake or purchase cake and any other treats and drinks for the party.
  7. Purchase tablecloth, napkins, paper plates and plastic utensils.
  8. Purchase simple decorations. Mylar balloons are safer choices than latex ones.
  9. Develop a list of activities for the children and purchase supplies.
  10. Take plenty of photos at the event and send copies in the thank you notes.
  11. Enlist helpers such as nannies or grandparents to act as extended hosts for the party.
  12. Have back up activities planned in case things don't go as you expected.
  13. Prepare your child by making sure you have her well rested and fed before the party and you've discussed the event with her.
  14. Don't allow other babies to feel left out. Make sure they have little things to open up too.
  15. Purchase or make thank yous and mail them out promptly.
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