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Baby’s First Birthday: Planning a Party Kids and Adults Will Enjoy!

June 15, 2012

My birthday girl, Annabelle, models her party hat!

At five weeks, you started to see some real smiles. At six months, she tasted her first solid food. At seven months, she started crawling, and you scrambled to set up baby gates and install outlet covers. And now she’s trying to take her first steps and her first birthday is around the corner! Read on for our tips on throwing her a first birthday that will be fun for her, easy for you, and enjoyable for your guests!

Who: At this stage, she doesn’t exactly have a cadre of close friends, so your invite list may include many of yours! Make sure to pepper the party with plenty of people she knows well. As things get a bit crowded, she’ll want to feel as if she has a few ports in a storm, including grandparents, aunts and uncles, and family friends. If you plan to invite neighbors and other parents from daycare with kids of various ages, you’ll want to set up a separate kid’s room with toys, books, and possibly a DVD player fully loaded with cartoons.

When and where: Remember to time the party around your one year-old’s naptime, so that she’s feeling rested and ready for stimulation! And keep the festivities to just two to three hours or so…otherwise, you’ll have an exhausted bunch of kids on your hands. You may find that holding the party at home is easiest, since you can set up and get everything ready while she sleeps. But our friends have held wonderful children’s parties at family-friendly restaurants, and even at the park. The advantage of these is that you don’t have to clean before and afterwards, like you would at home!

Annabelle decides her hat tastes even better than it looks!

To eat: Finger foods are your best bet for your little one’s party, since they are easier for kids to handle, and allow adults to eat and have one arm free for their kids. Little sandwiches with cheese and turkey or avocado and chicken will keep everyone’s energy up. A fruit and veggie platter is always popular, as are chips and salsa and pita and hummus. Mini cupcakes are a sweet idea for little hands, too!

And many parents find it easier to present a beautiful cake to their one year-old while everyone sings “Happy Birthday”, and then serve that cake to guests while feeding your baby a smaller version that she can plunge her finger into as much as she wants!

More tips: Remember to keep pets out of the way for their own sanity and protection, and stash your valuables and breakables. Provide a clean, quiet room for moms to breastfeed or change diapers. And ask a friend or family member to take plenty of pictures and videos.

The birthday girl heads off to join the party.

And above all, relax. Don’t feel the need to stick with a strict timeline of presents, cake, and games. The kids and the adults will appreciate plenty of unscheduled time to play and talk. And your baby will set the pace. When it seems like she’ll be able to focus on presents (and wrapping paper), open gifts. When you can tell she’s running low on energy, offer food or bring out the cake. And don’t be afraid to put her down for a nap or some quiet time when she needs it. She may be the guest of honor, but she’s still a baby…for now!!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Heather Brazee permalink
    July 15, 2013 7:18 pm

    My daughter’s name is Annabelle Brazee. Wow! She’s nine. We leave near Grand Rapids, Michigan. Probably the only two out there. 🙂 have a great day.

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