Planning and throwing your 1st birthday party is not easy! Especially when it is your little one’s first birthday. From balancing the guest lists (how many is too many?), planning the menu (don’t forget food allergies), choosing a theme, and finding the perfect outfit for your child’s 1st party, this all leaves parents with undeniable stress. Follow these 5 tips to ease your stress and make the job of throwing the “perfect” party much easier.

  1. Keep it simple (and small)

First and foremost, keep it small. Family only, or family and a few close friends is ideal. Add a simple theme to your party, you will reduce your stress in planning and set up. Your one year old will not remember the decorations, nor who was in attendance, but they will love the celebration, no matter how small. Creating a fun and memorable environment for your child’s big day can be anything that works for you. Colorful balloons and colorful paper tablecloths can transform a room into a bright birthday atmosphere. Order the cake from your local bakery, ice cream shop, or grocer. And, to make things easy on your budget and easy for your guests, have the party at home. That way you can have a more family-friendly environment that will feel safe and comfortable for your child and result in a beautiful home memory. Be sure to plan for diaper changing for one year olds and have some extras – diapers and wipes – just in case. Plan the party time around typical nap times so you don’t have a room full of fussy babies! A 1 hour, 30 minute party is the perfect timeframe for a 1st birthday party. Invitations can be homemade, bought, or online, whichever works best for you. Lastly, don’t spend too much time looking at party ideas on social media. They can be overwhelming and overdone. It’s not a competition. It’s a celebration of your baby’s first year, and your baby is the center of it all!

  1. Party proof your home or yard

By the time your baby is finally one year old, it is normal to feel that you have successfully made your home baby-proof. Make sure sentimental and important decor around your home such as vases, plates, and other memorabilia is locked away in a safe environment that is off limits. That will ease your stress and avoid any accidents from occurring. If possible, have the party outdoors. Messes are much less messy in a backyard. Plus, kids can run without fear of knocking into furniture (and knocking over lamps and other things). No matter where you go, a good way to test your party area is to get on your hands and knees to see if there is anything that could harm a child.

3. Hire a babysitter to help

While a babysitter isn’t a necessity, it can make the difference between a stressful party and a fun day of celebration. From your neighbor’s teens to a relative, having someone to intervene with kids is a great stress reducer.  Not only will they be able to enjoy the festivities, but they can also earn some extra money by keeping a close eye on all of the kids.

You could also consider asking your friends and family if they know any good sitters who wouldn’t mind helping out with your party. This will allow your adult guests to enjoy the fellowship with others instead of hovering over their child the entire time.

4. Accept Help When Offered

As a parent, multitasking is a skill that is mastered very quickly. However, on your baby’s big day, you will be doing more than usual. That being said, accept the help of friends. If someone offers to help you out, accept the invitation. Ask your best friend or friends to come the day before to help you decorate. If you plan on putting together party bags, keep them simple, and let your friends help you put them together. Don’t wait until the day of the party. One super cute idea is stacking cups. These are colorful, age appropriate, and can be bought for $3-$5. Check out IKEA – MULA stack & nest cups, $3, IKEA.ca. Remember to check off and complete the little things in advance. You will be thankful when the day arrives.

5. Enjoy the party!

Remember to enjoy yourself at the party. Some tips:  take some photos BEFORE the party begins. An idea for remembering this for years to come:  put together a shoebox (or storage box) each year. At the end of the party,  look around and find keepsakes for the box. Keep the invitation, a deflated balloon, some photos, and anything else from your decor that will remind him/her of their birthday. Down the road, you and your child can look back on this keepsake box and relive the day. Above all, don’t sweat the little things that may not go as you planned. Keep everything in perspective. This is his/her big day!

January 22, 2022 — Caroline Eager

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