Your baby’s first birthday is a special occasion and you no doubt want to celebrate. Unfortunately, your baby may not be ready to celebrate along with you. Your 1-year-old child can be shy around too many people. Your child will need your undivided attention for much of the party, and she can quickly get cranky if a party interrupts her nap time. Still, when you think about your baby’s needs and plan the party around them, everyone can have a good time.
Schedule the party at the right time. Your 1-year-old child may still be taking two naps or he may have made the switch to an afternoon nap only. In either case, you want to schedule your party during a time when he’ll be fresh and not tired. For most 1-year-olds, a late morning or late afternoon birthday party will be the best timing. Choosing a weekend date will ensure that the most people can come. Try to keep the party short–under 90 minutes–to keep him from becoming overstimulated.
Create the guest list. Think about your child’s personality and determine how many guests are appropriate. Many parents of 1-year-olds prefer to keep the first birthday party intimate, inviting only family members or close friends. However, in some places, such as Hawaii, it’s customary to throw a huge party for baby’s first birthday, inviting more than 100 people.
Choose a theme for the party. At this stage, your baby probably won’t have a lot of input on what color balloons she wants. Choose one or two colors for the theme, or choose from baby-favorite themes, such as farm animals, ABCs or “Sesame Street” characters.
Plan the menu. Depending on the time of your party, you may want to serve a meal or just a few snacks along with the cake. If you are inviting other children to the party, consider the types of foods that they will be able to eat. If you want to make food, it can be easy to grill hot dogs and hamburgers or make baked ziti. If you want to cater cheaply, consider ordering pizzas or a large sub from your local grocery store.
Decide on games, if you want them. Due to the short duration of the party and the fact that most of your guests are adults, you may not need to include games as part of the occasion. If you do want some, though, plan in advance. You could have guests try to guess how much your baby weighs or answer trivia questions about your baby’s first year.
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