Your baby's first birthday is cause for celebration! It's "the biggest birthday and milestone [she] will have," declares Circle of Moms member Sherri C. But whether you choose to commemorate the day with an intimate family gathering, a mega-party, or something in between, planning and hosting an event on top of everything else you're doing as the parent of a baby can be stressful. To help, Circle of Moms members offer four tips on hosting a first birthday party that's fun and stress-free.
1. Keep Your Baby's Needs in Mind
Whether you hold a large or intimate gathering, "For a first birthday I would keep it short and simple," says Kara B. She specifically suggests scheduling the event to accommodate baby's nap time, and many Circle of Moms members agree, as babies often get overwhelmed by loud crowds and can get cranky as a party goes on.
"K.I.S. (keep it simple) is my motto," says member Laurel M., noting it's okay to throw a party without a theme. She typically makes a cake and spaghetti to keep costs down, and party attendees have a good time just hanging out together. "Cake, gifts, hot dogs, friends and family. That's all kids really need," she explains.
2. Make it Personal
Incorporating your family and cultrual tradtions into the celebration will make it more meaningful and memorable for everyone who attends — including your child, who may one day look back at photos of the event. For a Hawaiin member named Khara, this means throwing a party that's so large that it may have to be held in a hotel ballroom. As she explains, first birthday celebrations in her home state have been shaped by history: "When the 'white man' first came to and gave [native Hawaiians] the common cold, it killed many babies. It was rare when a baby made it to their first birthday back then, so it was a big deal," worthy of a big celebration.
For other moms, baby's first birthday conincides with another tradition: the christening. The party Gail B. intends to throw will be a "joint celebration" of the two milestones.
Meanwhile, moms like And Kristen K. and Kara B. suggest starting your own traditions. Kristen is holding a joint birthday party for her baby and his cousin, to bring her extended family together. And Kara is asking guests to make a donation to an animal shelter that is "near and dear to their hearts" in lieu of bringing gifts for her son, and to sign a photo keepsake that will become his when he's older.
3. Take Lots of Pictures
Pictures are one of the most important elements to a first birthday party because they make the celebration live on, even for the guest of honor, who otherwise won't remember the event! "My boys love to look through all their [birthday] pictures and want to see how much they changed, what the themes were, who was there, what there cake was, etc.," says Sherri C.
4. Provide Activities for Small Guests
A baby's first birthday party is often geared toward adults rather than children, observes Laura B. Nevetheless, if there will be children other than the birthday baby at the event, it's helpful to have age-appropriate activities to entertain them. Laura's son's party will feature a bouncy house, slip-n-slide, and a big sprinkler for the older kids. Another member, Ann S., is blowing up a small, inflatable pool in which younger party attendees can splash and blow bubbles.
Ultimately, it doesn't matter what kind of party activities you provide, what food you serve, or how many guests you invite to your baby's first birthday, as long as you're comfortable with your party plans. As Kristen K. says, "It's your baby, your money, your time, your effort. Do it how you want to."
(For another perspective on first birthday parties, read Why It's Okay Not to Celebrate Your Baby's First Birthday.)
What are you planning for your baby's first birthday?
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.