A baby's first birthday is always something special. It is a great time to give yourself a pat on the back. You made it through your first year!
A first birthday is also potentially stressful and costly. But don't feel pressured into going over the top. Your baby won't appreciate such extravagance and small is definitely beautiful at this age!
Understanding your one-year-old
Your one-year-old may be fearful of strangers, and strange or new places. Despite liking other babies, she won't understand how to play with them yet. She will enjoy individual attention and likes to make you laugh. All of which adds up to an intimate, low-budget family party!
Who to invite
At the closely-attached-to-Mum stage, the best way you can make this a special day for your one-year-old is by offering her loads of undiluted attention. Her social network will be small and intimate and that's how she likes it. She won't thank you for a house full of strangers, so stick to close friends and relatives.
This is a party that grandparents will not want to miss, cameras at the ready, either. You may want to invite some friends from your antenatal or postnatal groups, too. Why not buy or make some really special invitations - you won't need many for a small gathering.
Getting the timing right
By one, your baby may be in a daytime nap routine. The worst time for the excitement of a party is when your baby is tired, so afternoon tea, after nap time, works well. If you are inviting other baby guests, check out their nap times with their parents. Once one starts wailing, they all will! Keep the party brief - an hour or so is quite long enough at this age.
Games and activities
Loud bangs from party poppers and bursting balloons may frighten your baby, and discarded poppers and balloons are a serious choking hazard at this age, so leave them till next year. Why not have some musical fun, such as dancing with your baby, or a nursery rhyme tape on in the background. She'll appreciate a few simple games, such as Row the Boat or Round and Round the Garden with plenty of tickles, too. She'll also enjoy peek-a-boo games, finding toys hidden in a box or under a cloth and, of course, she'll enjoy helping you to open her presents (although the wrapping paper will be far more fun than the gift!). Party suppliers can also help you with suggestions and ideas. Many sell themed party packs and more.
Choosing a venue
Home is the place where your baby will feel most secure. She'll appreciate a few colourful decorations or, if you want something more adventurous, you could buy a baby ball pool.
What food to serve
Keep food simple - most of it will probably end up on the floor in any case!
Finger foods will be excellent for both babies and adults, as eating them won't interrupt play or interaction. Parents may well have brought a bottle or feeder cup with them containing the drink of their choice for their baby, but have water, milk and diluted fruit juices at the ready. If you're providing food for grown ups keep it simple and avoid peanuts and other foods which may present a choking hazard to little ones.
Some babies will have quite a few teeth and be able to bite into food; others may still be toothless, so cater for both extremes: organic bread sticks, tiny sandwiches with cheese spread, cut into shapes, cubes of mild cheese, and mini fromage frais cartons. Chocolate fingers are scrummy, but messy - plain biscuits may suffice. Jelly tends to be more of a play material at this age and is very messy. Your mini guests will probably eat very little food, so aim for a variety of taste, texture and colour rather than quantity.
Aim for a wonderful cake - a home made one is special, but supermarkets have a great variety available, or try a local bakery. You may need to order this in advance. Don't let your baby near the candle as she will want to grab, not blow, it.
Choosing a theme
Party themes aren't important to a one-year-old. You might want to aim for a colour-coordinated look, but it's more for the benefit of the keepsake photos than your baby at this stage.
The party bags
Party bags are really superfluous at this age, and the usual goodies like sweets and balloons are downright dangerous. If you really want to give a going away present to your little guests, opt for a small, safe soft toy each or a board book to chew on.
By now, your baby will appreciate something which makes a noise or lights up, or both, so activity centres are a good choice. It's never too early to read, and textured board books are great fun for your tactile baby or a simple story with great pictures which she will enjoy for the year ahead. A trolley, or push-along to aid walking skills will be popular, and new bath toys are always welcome. You may want to consider a big, lasting present, such as a baby swing for outdoors or a rocking horse. If you already have loads of toys, she won't object if some people buy her clothes! Check out our other present ideas.
Top tips for a successful party
• Have somewhere clean, handy and well-equipped for nappy changing
• Breastfeeding mums may appreciate somewhere quiet and private to feed
• It's crawling, walking and climbing time - stair gates and fireguards are essential
• Stow away precious ornaments and breakables
• Keep pets well out of the way (for their own protection!)
• Keep a very watchful eye on the party area for hazards, such as forks or small swallowable objects, and clear them quickly away
• Babies will play alongside each other, not together, so keep a variety of toys available within a large, safe floor space
• Relax - let your baby and her guests set the pace
• Make sure you have a willing volunteer to take plenty of photos or unobtrusively wield a video recorder - you'll be too busy!
Read more: http://www.babycenter.com.au/baby/traditions/1yrpartyguide/#ixzz0c0OZHEPg