Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Baby's First Birthday

All parents are well aware of how fast the babies grow and reach one new milestone after another. Before parents realize it, a year has passed and thoughts of planning a birthday party start becoming a priority. There are some things to keep in mind, however, when planning that celebration.

When I held a birthday party for my daughter's first birthday, I invited only close family members. I learned something very important at the point. I learned that the baby doesn't really care about extensive decorations or the guest list. If the baby is a sociable little one, having people to be around him or her to spend time with is more important than the other things.

My daughter played with her guests for a while and enjoyed her grandparents and then promptly demanded a nap. She opened her gifts when she woke and the boxes were more fascinating than what was in them. (Isn't that familiar to parents of most toddlers?!)

I had some great decorations and got some excellent pictures that still make me smile all these years later, but too much activity for a one year old is overwhelming and simply burns them out! It is not a good idea to plan a first birthday party for the same length of time that a 5 or 6 year old may be given for a party. It should definitely be kept under two hours for a baby's party and preferably under 90 minutes.

So bearing all that in mind, it is a good idea to keep a first birthday party simple. The next year or two will go by just as fast and having a houseful of your child's little guests will be much more appreciated at that time.

Timing is one important aspect of planning a first birthday party. If your baby is on a schedule and routine dictates a nap at 2 p.m., for instance, don't plan to start the party at 1:30. Plan it instead for 3:00 or whenever baby usually is awake from the nap.

My mother has a picture of me on my own first birthday. I am in my high chair with a small cake in front of me. I'm digging in with a big smile on my face and it looks as if I am about to dive into it head first. I never asked my mother if there was a party with guests, but that picture always gave me the idea that a small cake for the guest of honor at a baby's party is always a good idea. Consider baking an individual cake for the baby while doing a regular cake for other guests.

One of the most important things that will derive from a first birthday party is memories for the parents. The baby will not be able to remember it, so it is important to take lots of pictures and a video of the event if at all possible. The child will enjoy watching the movie in a few years and that is much better than just telling him about the party verbally.

The food you will serve for the party should include things that the baby can eat. If you are planning on just cake and ice cream it's not a concern, but if you are having a meal or a cook-out, there should be at least some foods that the birthday boy or girl will enjoy eating along with the guests.