Your child's first birthday is coming up. And you're terrified, because you've never planned a first birthday party before!
It sounds ridiculous, but planning a boy's or girl's first birthday party can put terror into the hearts of their parents! But let's be honest; babies' first birthday celebrations are more for their family and friends and less for the guest of honour themselves. So there's no need to go overboard with the details. And there's no need for you to stress about it.
Every child's first birthday party is meant to be a happy and fun occasion that provides our families with the most beautiful memories that last forever. And they can be. That's why we're here!
Here at The Digi Dame Party Shoppe, we're passionate about parties. So we've put together a guide to planning your kids' first birthday parties right here.
Let's chat about how you can avoid stress and panic and create a wonderful celebration that is memorable and enjoyable for your guests and you too.
Don't be a Party Procrastinator
Good party planning will help you to avoid the party procrastinator's curse - that last-minute panic that you're terrified of! Start planning ahead of time. We recommend beginning your plans at least two months before the big bash.
We suggest starting by taking care of the most practical decisions to begin with, such as the date, time and location, followed by your party theme if you choose to have one.
Just remember, that your little star of the party may well find themselves a little overwhelmed by all the fuss. It is important to keep their needs in mind and plan your celebrations accordingly.
For a first birthday, home is the most common party venue. Home is usually the most suitable for the needs of our little ones. Hosting at home also makes parents more comfortable and they are less likely to become frazzled.
Having to carry baby and all of your party supplies somewhere outside of your home may prove to be a big task, making a home party a good choice.
But you can also consider hosting the party at a local park or playground.Some people do like to go all out with first birthday parties, and hire a venue. But this is really not necessary.
Whatever venue you choose, just make sure it's safe for little ones. If any of the babies attending your party are still crawling, consider creating a safe play zone filled with age-appropriate toys for your little guests. You can place seating around it or close by, so their parents are able to easily supervise, but still be able to relax and enjoy the festivities.
The time of the party will most likely depend on what works for your family; in particular what is best for your son or daughter. Our best suggestion for a first birthday party if possible, is to avoid your child's nap time if possible, and hold the party when they will be least tired and the most happy.
We also suggest avoiding the week after their one-year medical check-up and immunisations. Perhaps wait a week, or throw your first birthday party before the doctor’s appointment, to make sure the guest of honour is at his or her best.
In regards to the party's duration, we recommend planning the party to last between an hour and an hour-and-a-half. Babies have short attention spans and run out of energy in a short amount of time. Your party guests can always hang around after bubs has gone down to nap if you don't want to get rid of them in a hurry!
At only one year of age, your child may not already have their own friends within their peer group - if they do, that's wonderful! But if they don't, a small circle of family and a few friends is great for their first birthday.
We suggest keeping the guest list on the smaller side if you think your bubs may be overwhelmed by a large group of people all making a lot of noise and each one wanting lots of cuddles from the guest of honour!
Get Some Help
Consider asking a family member or friend to help you plan your party, and/or assist you with a few jobs on the day. This will balance out all the duties that are required and allow you to enjoy your baby's big day.
Your helpers could possibly help with decorating and setting up, clearing away rubbish, asking guests to sign your guest book (if you have one) and taking notes on what gifts were given, so you can easily thank guests post-party.
Do you own a pet and are hosting the party at home? You may want to consider relocating them on the day. If he or she is absent from the festivities, it may save them a lot of potential distress from having a larger group of visitors than they are used to, or being near children whom they are not accustomed to.
Your one-year-old is unlikely to be too concerned with the party theme you choose. But if you're anything like us, you just love a cute party theme and cannot resist! But where do you start in choosing an appropriate theme?
To keep things for your party simple, choose a single colour that appeals to you and carry this birthday theme through everything.
You can choose all of your party decor, from the invitations to tableware and decorations in this colour. This is a simple and fuss-free way to create a birthday theme, and it makes choosing your supplies an absolute breeze.
If you consider a single-colour to be a bit boring, you can opt for two or three colours instead.
Does your child have a favourite book, nursery rhyme or television show? Perhaps they would love a character party theme!
As with a colour theme, you can carry your character theme throughout all of your party supplies. If the character you choose is a popular one, you will have minimal issues sourcing supplies.
Here are a few suggestions for easy first-birthday party themes:
Be sure to keep all decorations out of reach to your baby and other young children who will be attending.
Games and Entertainment
When your baby is turning one, you are (thankfully) still a few years away from discos and pony rides. So there's no need to send in the clowns just yet. But what entertainment, if any, do you plan for a first birthday party?
The adult guests will happily chat amongst themselves and keep entertained by their compelling conversation. So there's no need to stress about entertaining them too much. But if older children will be attending, you may want to host a few simple kids' party games to keep them entertained. Below are some suggestions:
For your son or daughters first birthday party, your food choices may well depend on your hosting time. That is, whether or not you’ve scheduled the party over a meal time.
For parties with no meal, we suggest serving your basic and popular finger foods and drinks for the adults. Most of your catering is realistically going to be for your adult party guests anyway, but take care to avoid any nuts and hard lollies that pose a risk to young children. We don't recommend serving alcohol at a young child's birthday party, but if it is served, ensure that children will not be able to reach it.
For your little party guests, we suggest serving healthy snacks alongside a few sweet treats. Consider sandwich quarters, cheese cubes, crackers, vegie sticks, fruit, mini muffins or cupcakes etc. Think of food that young children can easily eat with their little hands.
A great idea to cater for the young ones, is to serve them with individual lunch containers. Each of these could include a sandwich, chopped fruit, some cheese and a sweet treat.
If you are following a party theme, you may like to match your catering i.e. pink foods if you have a pink party, or lots of chopped fruit for a frutti tutti party.
Remember that party food for a first birthday is best kept simple. If guests have their own babies, they may bring their own prepared food for their children, so keep that in mind.
Goody Bags/Party Favours
The guests you've invited to your party may largely influence the kind of goody bags or party favours that you give them.Are they health-conscious? Make sure you minimise the "sometimes foods" if you are giving them food gifts.
Usually a cupcake or a small piece of birthday cake is more than enough to send home with your party guests.But, if you’d like to make up a little bag or favour box, below are some ideas to fill them, including some non-food items:
Hosting your child's first birthday party needn’t be stressful or terrifying. Remember to keep it simple. A little planning will help you create an event that works perfectly for you and baby, that you can totally enjoy together.