Your baby is nearly a one year old and it’s time to celebrate!
Where’s the Party?
Seek a baby-friendly site for your festivities. Your backyard or a park is ideal. The kids can crawl or toddle in the grass and no one will care if they spill juice. For a backyard party, supply push toys, tents, tunnels and, if possible, a sandbox or digging area. If you decide hold your party in the house, create a designated "carefree" play space. Remove furniture and anything breakable, and set out a variety of age-appropriate toys.
But if you don't want to gamble on the weather or stay at home, you may prefer to have the party in a local community or sports center. These settings may be familiar to your baby and parties are often managed by the facility's staff, giving parents more time to enjoy the event.
You’ve got the venue, now what?
Tips for a successful soiree:
- Consider inviting an intimate group of family and close friends. If you want to include playmates, go for no more than five kids with their parents. A bigger group will only overload your child's circuits.
- Plan a low-key, but sweet short sing- and clap-along session with some of your child's favorite songs.
- Nothing puts a damper on a good time quicker than a crying baby. So, schedule your party when your child is most alert and calm (usually in the morning after their nap). Keep the shindig short and sweet ( no more than an hour and a half). Longer gatherings or those held late in the day are likely to find your baby low on both energy and patience.
- For a morning party, the only food you need is the cake and some juice. If you're scheduling close to lunchtime, stave off empty-tummy fussing with nutritious finger foods, such as fruit slices, soft bread sticks and bite-size pieces of bagels. Stay away from items that present an allergy or choking hazard, such as grapes, nuts, popcorn, marshmallows and hard candies.
- Put the presents out of sight during the festivities and explain to the guests that you'll be opening them later to avoid a gift-grabbing free-for-all.
The countdown to the big day
One month before:
- Put the word out about the party. If you're not up for sending formal invitations, just call, sms/text or e-mail family and friends.
Two weeks before:
- Order your party supplies.
- Pick out two outfits for your baby (one that's a bit fancy for photos and another that's more casual for when the guest of honor gets covered in cake!)
One week before:
- Schedule pick-up for the morning of the party.
Three days before:
- Call anyone you haven't heard from to get a final head count.
Two days before:
- Charge the camera! You don't want to discover the batteries are dead as your little one blows out the candle.
- Shop for party food. Don't forget the first-birthday candle, extra garbage bags and paper towels.
One day before:
- Bake and frost the cake or cupcakes (if you're making them).
- Set up decorations and paper goods once your baby's in bed. Party day!
- Pick up extra ice and the cake in the morning (if you ordered one).
- Make sure the cake knife, candles, matches and camera are in a handy (and baby proof) spot.
- Await the arrival of your guests.
And, last but not least, enjoy the party – you, your baby and your guests!