Birthdays are a fun time for kids and there are few milestones as memorable as the First Birthday. It is a celebration of not just the little one but of the mother and father and the rest of the family members who have helped raise the little one. It is a celebration of everyone as this major milestone is celebrated. But as anyone who has kids or has been around babies knows that 1-year-olds can be very temperamental and difficult to make plans around. So here are some tips to help you plan for a low-stress first birthday celebration:
- Respect the nap.
One of the first things parents will learn is that a well-rested baby is usually a happy baby. So, any even where baby needs to be present and in a good mood has to be held any time other than nap time. First birthday parties are no exception. It is important to schedule their party around their normal naptime. While this may mean a different start time than some family members want they will enjoy time with a happy baby better than a few hours with a crying, fussy, miserable baby who just wants to take their nap! Along these same lines remember that babies are simple and don’t have long attention spans so don’t let the party stretch much longer than a few hours at the most to avoid a meltdown at the end of the party.
- Create a quiet area.
It may be a good idea to create a secondary party area in another room or a secured location outside in the backyard for people to go if they need a break from the festivities. Simple quiet toys can be kept there for when any of the kids start to feel overstimulated. Snacks and refreshments can also be set out for adults who just need a few minutes away from kids and possibly crying babies. This can also be a lifesaver if the party boy or girl feels overwhelmed and needs some alone time with Mommy or Daddy to calm down.
- Designate photographers.
Family and friends will love to take photos of your little sweetheart’s big day, but often times when you have half a dozen family members all trying to get the best photos, they all just end up in each other’s ways. The best way to avoid this is to designate one or two people to take photos and assure everyone that they can get copies or digital copies sent to them after the event. That way you can focus on your child and your guests while making sure all those special moments get captured- you can even be in some of them too for a change!
- Choose a simple theme.
It’s easy to get carried away when planning such an important milestone. There is nothing wrong with going all out and throwing a big party with cute decorations, a fun cake, and other nifty decorations from Pinterest. But there also is nothing wrong with having a simple party that focuses on the guest of honor and family members. Simple is often better as the party is more for the family than the child who is only going to want to mess with the cake.
- Consider the weather as you plan.
A park or a playground can be a great party spot for a party but you need to make sure the weather is going to be good- not too hot or cold and not a high chance of rain or bad weather. You will also want to make sure you can reserve some pavilions or something so you have a place to set out the cake and food and presents. If the weather is too hot or cold or you are worried about having the party outdoors, you can easily throw a good first birthday party at home or at an indoor venue of your choosing!
- Put older kids in charge of games.
If you are inviting a lot of friends and family to the party there will likely be other kids at the party. It can be challenging to keep older and younger kids entertained so let the older kids play adult for the party and be in charge of the younger kids! Put them in charge of face painting, music-making, singing songs, and more.
- Take photos before guests arrive.
For the guest of honor, the first birthday is about memories rather than the celebration. A good way to ensure you get the best photos is to take them a day or two before the actual party. Photos of baby with family members are what are important and the cake photos can be taken the day of regardless of how moody baby may be. But to get baby all smiles you need to catch them when they are in a good mood. And years down the road when people are looking through that scrapbook, they will ever know that some of the pictures were taken on a different day.
- Personalize the party.
Highlight a few of your baby’s favorite things over the past year. Incorporate them into the party accessories and décor and use them as a way to brag about your child. First word, first steps, first milestones are great themes to use for the first birthday party. It’s also a fun way to work these moments into photos that get taken so everyone will remember a year of firsts!
- Use a cupcake for smashing.
Smash cakes are popular because they are cute tiny versions of the cakes we have at our birthdays when we are older and they make great photo opportunities for those passionate photo-taking families. They are called smash cakes because most parents don’t expect their child to do much more than make and absolute mess with the cake. And while the smash cakes can be nice and fun, many families simply use a cupcake so the same effect is achieved without as much mess.
- Create a time capsule.
This party activity requires only pens, paper and a box. Ask your guests to write the birthday babe a short letter to be read years from now. Provide a check list of ideas for things guests can write about to ensure no one suffers from writer’s block. Store the letters in a box that is marked with something along the lines of “DO NO OPEN UNTIL AGE 18” or whatever age you want. It will make for good times at the party and then again years down the road!
To learn even more helpful tips or to get expert insight and assistance with your child’s first birthday contact the party experts at Cashmere Dreams today
Content written by Sarah Jo Lorenz-Coryell