Your child’s first birthday is a very special milestone—and it’s up to you to choose how you want to celebrate it. Do you want a small, quiet gathering of just close family and friends? Or do you want a big party, with lots of guests and beautifully themed decorations and games?
Whatever party you decide to have, here are some tips to make that day smooth and fun for everyone—especially for yourself and your child!
How long should the party last?
It’s best to keep the party short, since kids are easily overwhelmed and overstimulated. Experts recommend keeping it to just one hour and a half. That’s the most you can expect your child to be sociable or at least interested in the cake, songs and picture taking. After that, you need to put your guest of honor down for a nap—though the adults can stay and mingle, of course, if you’re still in the mood to entertain. (Read tips on how to keep your party guests happy.)
How do I entertain the guests?
Avoid the common mistake of inviting so many people that you end up running around, entertaining them, and completely missing the fun of your own child’s party. Either keep the guest list small, or ask other family members to help you entertain the guests. For example, when you seat people at the different tables, assign someone to talk to them, or to at least introduce everyone and help build rapport until they’re relaxed enough to hang out comfortably with each other.
How do I prepare the venue?
Choose Mylar or foil balloons instead of latex balloons (which are considered choking hazards for kids that are 8 years old and below). If you have a lot of toddlers and preschoolers pick decorations that are kid-proof and safe. Avoid any breakables, or anything with sharp edges or small parts that can break off. You also need a lot of space for them to safely run around and play games—try creating a ‘play zone’ with chairs at the sides where parents can watch while talking to each other.
What kind of food do I serve
The menu depends on your theme, budget and the time of the party, but do have some ‘safe’ dishes for kids who have food allergies. You can ask your guests if they’re sensitive to nuts, eggs or any other ingredients when you confirm their attendance. (Read tips on how to set up a buffet.)
What can I put in the goody bag?
Kids are always excited about the goody bags at birthday parties. Instead of candy, try filling them with animal crackers, art materials like crayons and board books, non-gender specific toys like balls, puzzles or bubbles.
Photo from saidaonline.com