Your perfect party plan
The first thing to think about is where to host this big event. Maybe you want to invite everyone to your home. Or maybe it’s easier to rent a hall or book a room at your favorite restaurant. Your decision will be based on cost, convenience and how much involvement you want. You’ll also need to decide when to have the party. Consider a weekend party so most of the people can attend, and try to schedule the party in the mind morning or mid-afternoon to accommodate naps. Your party should be short and sweet (like your baby), or your baby may tire or lose interest fairly quickly.
One of the best ways to organize a great birthday party is to plan it around a theme—from sports and superheroes to princesses and animals…the possibilities are endless! Having a theme makes it easy to plan everything from decorations to party favors.
Guest lists and birthday invitations
Once the party begins to take shape, figure out who to invite. Keep in mind that younger babies often get anxious and scared around unfamiliar people so you may want to limit the guest list. When you have your guest list, design your invitations. You can opt for a traditional paper invitation that you mail or create one online at evite or punchbowl. The online invitations have the added benefit of allowing you to keep track of your RSVPs, too.
What will you serve? Will you prepare it yourself, order in or need to select food items from the restaurant. Remember you will most likely be planning a birthday menu for a diverse age group ranging from seniors to babies. So it is useful to plan the party food menu accordingly. When it comes to planning the menu, less is definitely more when it comes to one-year-olds. Most of your menu will be geared for grownups. Little ones tend to find the idea of a birthday party so exciting, that the food is not as interesting as the chance to run amok! Here are a few important things to keep in mind:
- Check with parents and invitees before the birthday party about any food allergies. They are more and more common these days and it is important to avoid substances that may trigger an allergic reaction. If this is the case then often these parents will prefer to bring their own food.
- Keep potential choking hazards off the birthday party menu. This includes popcorn, hard lollipops, nuts, raw vegetables, grapes, marshmallows and chips.
Birthday party games are a popular element of parties for older children. When it comes to your baby’s first birthday celebration, don’t feel guilty if you decide to skip them altogether. If you are keen to play some games and their little friends, a great rule of thumb is to keep them as simple as possible. This may not be the year to hire clowns or party entertainers. Your baby won’t be able to appreciate it. Save your money and spend it on something else!
- Host a teddy bear picnic and get the guests to bring their favorite teddy to the birthday party
- Have a sing along with interactive songs like “pat a cake, pat a cake.”
- Spend some time on the floor rolling a ball back and forth between you.
- Blow some bubbles.
- Get creative with cardboard boxes.
- Fill some plastic containers with rice and use them as shakers. (Make sure the lid is firmly secured.)
Cake. It’s one of the most important parts of the festivities…besides having fun, of course. First, choose the design you’d like. It can be the theme of the party, #1 or anything else you dream up. Cupcakes can be a great alternative to a birthday cake. They are also lovely to send home with guests as well. Next, decide if you want to make it yourself or buy it. There are plenty of places you can buy your sweet some sweets—from local bakeries to super markets to even wholesale stores. No matter who makes the cake, be sure it’s safe for your little one (so nuts and honey). Cut it into very small portions when you serve it up to the little ones.
If your cake decorations include small candles, icing that is tough to eat or items your child can choke on, always remove them before serving your baby or young children their cake. And be sure to be extra careful with candles. Your little explorer will want to reach out and try to grab at it.
In addition to the birthday cake, you want to want to treat your birthday cutie to a smash cake. A smash cake is a smaller cake that little ones can have all to themselves to make a mess and enjoy. Just don’t forget to have your camera ready.
Ask for help
Don’t try and host this without help! Godparents, uncles, aunts and friends are perfect for helping set up the decorations and occupy your baby while you greet the guests. They can write down the names of who gave you what gift so that you can thank them later. If your tot’s grandparents are attending the party, make them feel special by involving them in the planning of the party, too.
It is a thoughtful idea to acknowledge any gifts your child gets. Make sure you make a list of who has given you what item and save it for when you have recovered from the festivities. You can write individual notes to your guests thanking them specifically for their attendance and the gift they have given or a card with your baby’s picture with the message, “Thank you for coming to my birthday party and for my lovely gift.”
- If you plan on having children at the party, keep plenty of toys and activities available to keep them occupied.
- For the babies, choose safe, soft play areas, toys, and plenty of room to crawl around. Place chairs around the blankets for the parents so they can watch their kids
- Younger children usually enjoy drawing or crafts, so a table with paper and crayons is best. Place this table away from the baby area to keep their space free from small items that may fall on the ground.
- Have some photos from your baby’s first year so your friends and family can see how much he/she has grown in the past year.
- Keep pets separate from guests. While they may be your best friend, other children may not be used to them and may find the idea of an animal distressing.
- As your guests arrive get them to take a few minutes to fill in the guest book. Ask them to leave a message for your baby and share something special in it.
- Keep balloons and dangly things well out of baby’s reach. Make sure to dispose of balloons straight after a birthday party, they are a serious choking hazard.
- If you’d like to give your guests a little party favor (although not necessary), you can come up with ideas based on your theme.
Get a peek at all of baby’s 1sts.