It’s time to celebrate! Your baby is reaching an exciting milestone and is having their first birthday. You are probably wondering where the year has gone and looking back on all those precious milestones your little one has achieved so far such as sitting up, crawling, first foods and possibly even starting to take those first little steps.
Even though your one year old will not remember their party, there’s plenty of milestones to celebrate. Choose that special first birthday outfit, organise a cake and try some of these tips for a stress-free first birthday party.
Work Around Nap Time
A happy, grizzle-free party requires a well-rested baby. While this may mean that the party starts at an unusual time, everyone especially your little one will have a better time if you work with their sleep schedule.
Keep it Short and Sweet
A good length of time for a first birthday party is two hours or less. Little ones can get overstimulated and tired quickly, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself to host a lengthy party. You can always keep things going if everyone’s having a good time.
Take your Family Photos Before the Guests Arrive
To ensure that all your immediate family get in the photos and baby is alert and happy, be sure to take a few quick snaps before your guests arrive. You’ll have better control of the lighting, and there won’t be any small hands grabbing at the cake in your photos.
You can’t be everywhere at once, and you probably don’t have many candid snaps of yourself. Enlist the help of a couple of attendees and enjoy the moments they capture that you may have otherwise missed.
Create a Quiet Space
It’s a good idea to have a quiet space for your breastfeeding Mum friends and overtired little guests who need a break from all the fun. Set out blankets, pillows and snacks for bonus party host points.
Keep it Simple
Pinterest is a treasure trove of party decorating ideas, but before you go down THAT rabbit hole, consider this: more decorations mean more waste and more to clean up later. Consider saving the themed party until your little one can enjoy it, or just fill a kiddie pool with lots of coloured plastic balls and watch the kids go wild!
Once babies pass the twelve-month mark, they officially enter toddlerhood. This means they’re more mobile, more perceptive, and more curious. At this stage, other senses are starting to become more finely tuned, so if you’re stuck for first birthday gift ideas, consider choosing items that soothe, entertain or educate.
Soothing and Settling Gifts
You can’t go wrong with one of the three Bs: books, bath time or bears.
Books: Including reading in your child’s bedtime routine serves many functions. If introduced when children are very young, bedtime reading becomes associated with feeling tired and relaxed, providing a powerful sleep cue. Reading together also provides a time and space for physical closeness with parents, and can be an important ritual in your night time routine.
Bath time: Another important part of the night time routine, bath time gifts are often educational and fun, allowing little ones to stack and splash – all while learning colours and counting.
Bears: Many of us still have a soft teddy or two, gifted to us at a young age. A bear (or bunny!) is a lovely gift that will provide comfort for years to come. Choose a machine-washable soft toy from a reputable brand to ensure that your gift will last the test of time.
Of all the milestones your little one might reach in their first year, walking is the one that requires the most physical effort. This is where push and pull toys can aid their development and promote independence. Push toys, such as walkers, can help babies build the strength and co-ordination they need to walk unassisted. Many also have additional play features, such as music, lights or moving parts, which make them a versatile first birthday gift.
Once babies are walking independently, you can step up to pulling toys—especially those with bright colours and kinetic parts (particularly those that make music or light up) that come to life with motion. These toys teach toddlers to look backwards while moving forward, which helps with developing balance and confidence when walking.
Sorting and Stacking Toys
Colourful stacking toys allow toddlers to practice naming shapes and colours, improve co-ordination through stacking, and even improves core strength, when play occurs in a sitting position!
A great first birthday gift idea, toddlers will gravitate toward anything that helps them make noise. Although 1-year-olds may not be creating melodies at this stage, they can still benefit from musical experiences. Exposing children to music stimulates areas of the brain that deal with language development, social skills, and gross-motor development.
Toys that create music are better than those that make noises on their own. Be warned though: toddlers love repetition, so if you DO choose an electronic toy as a first birthday gift, be sure to choose one with volume control – for the parents’ sake!
A Cute Outfit
You really can’t go wrong with a sweet onesie or neutral basics. Look for pieces with zippers or easy fasteners – and bonus points for choosing pieces that are easy to care for (think machine washable pieces made from quality fabrics). Just be sure to check what size you need to buy – and when in doubt, size up!
First birthdays really are a really special occasion, so give yourself a pat on the back for surviving your first year of parenthood and raising a beautiful baby. This is as much of a celebration for you as it is for your little one. Enjoy all the planning that goes into putting on a first birthday bash (and relax, knowing they won’t remember it!).