My own first baby was born in January, and even though he’s turning 12 this week, I can still remember his first birthday party. We invited nearly everyone we knew and ended up renting a church hall to hold everyone! When his sister turned one a couple of years later, her party wasn’t as extravagant: It was just cake and punch at our house. After all, I had a toddler to chase after, and at the time, I was also caring for my infant niece while my sister worked full-time.
Whether your baby is your first and you have a lot of time and money to spend on his birthday bash, or you are balancing the demands of several kids, work, home and maybe school, here are some fun ideas for your little one’s first birthday party:
- Theme While your baby might be able to recognize a favorite character, she really doesn’t care what the theme of her party is. So you get to choose your favorite theme this year! It could be a character, a color, or just a kid-friendly subject, like baseballs, balloons, kitties or choo choo trains. Buy paper plates in the appropriate design or color, choose crepe streamers in colors that match the theme, and you can call your decorating done!
- Cake You can make a homemade cake or order one from your grocery store or bakery. If you have a character theme, ordering a cake is easy; often, the bakery can add figurines to the cake for the full effect. You can also, of course, try your hand at decorating your own cake. Parents differ on whether they allow certain ingredients, so if you’d rather avoid sugar or artificial dyes for your fledgling toddler, then check into fruit-based sweeteners and natural dyes. Obviously you’ll need to avoid anything that your child is allergic to, like gluten, eggs or dairy products. Many pediatricians recommend holding off on introducing nuts for a couple of years, so make sure there are no nuts in your baby’s cake.
- Safety There are a few things that seem par for the course, as far as birthdays go, but which might pose a safety hazard. First, think twice about providing alcohol. Some families serve wine and beer at all gatherings and others abstain at children’s events. If your family partakes, keep a close eye on your baby; little ones are known for taking sips out of whatever glass is left at the edge of a table. Balloons are choking hazards; all he has to do is sink his four sharp little teeth into a balloon and he could inhale or choke on the latex pieces. And finally, after the gift-unwrapping is done, be sure that all pieces of tape and ribbon are picked up, as these also present choking hazards.
When your baby turns one, you have the chance to entertain friends and family without too much stress. You don’t really need to worry about keeping the guest of honor entertained with a clown or pony rides, and there won’t be any playground politics concerning which gift baby likes best. Keep the party short to account for naptime, and enjoy yourself!
What are some of your best first-birthday ideas?