Your baby has turned a year old! Check out our tips and ideas to make your little one’s birthday a fun-filled celebration.
WORDS NURULHUDA SUHAIMI
You’ve been counting the months as they go by, and now your baby has finally turned one! First birthdays are special occasions for both parent and child, so don’t hesitate to put on a fun celebration. Whether you keep it intimate with a small party with your family or organise a big birthday bash, we’ve got some tips and ideas to make your baby’s first birthday a memorable one.
Pick a Good Time
Since your one-year-old is probably still taking his morning or afternoon naps, make sure you plan the party either before or after his nap so he won’t be tired during the party. After all, you don’t want the birthday kid to be cranky on his special day, right?
Keep the party short too; maybe an hour or two at the most. Your little one might get tired fast, along with the other little guests, so it’s best not to drag the party on for too long.
The Guest List
This is when you figure out if you want to keep your little one’s party small and intimate or splurge on a big blowout. This is ultimately up to you, of course, but we suggest keeping it relatively small and invite your family, relatives and closest friends. This is especially if your toddler tends to feel uncomfortable or anxious around people he is unfamiliar with. A house full of people might overwhelm him, so try to keep the guest list as tight as possible.
Themes and Decorations
Admittedly, themes for a first-year birthday party are not all that important because your child won’t remember it anyway. If you do want to choose a theme, keep it simple like colour-coordinating the party decorations. Or choose decorations with designs of your child’s favourite book or cartoon character.
A safety tip: if you’re going to put up balloons, don’t go for latex ones. If there are any uninflated or popped latex balloons left on the floor and a child chews on them, the latex will conform to the child’s throat and cause him to choke. For a safer alternative, opt for foil balloons instead as they are less likely to pop (which means there will be no pieces of balloon all over the floor) and they don’t conform to a child’s throat like latex.
For cost-effective decorations, you can print some online too. There are tonnes of pretty (and free!) printable first birthday decorations online, so do some scouring on the Internet if you don’t want to spend too much on decorations.
Get Some Help
You’re going to be busy playing host as well as taking care of your little one, so don’t be shy to ask your family members for help during the big day. Assign them duties like topping up snacks that are running out, taking charge of games and activities, or being the photographer for the day. This way, you won’t have to stretch yourself thin by running around and trying to manage everything. Remember, your little one’s first birthday is a celebration for you too so don’t stress yourself out too much!
Simple and Safe Snacks
Don’t bother with elaborate dishes because it’s just going to get too messy. Finger foods are best for a first-year birthday party since it’ll be easy for all the kids and adults to eat.
If there are other babies and toddlers at the party, don’t forget to take into account what sort of food they are able to eat too. Some of them might already have teeth while some don’t, so be sure you have food that caters to everyone.
Here are some ideas for a kid-friendly menu:
As for drinks, packet drinks might be the easiest for everyone. You can also serve fresh fruit juice, milkshakes or fresh milk.
Be sure not to serve snacks that can be a choking hazard for kids like nuts, popcorn, grapes or hard candies. And most importantly, check with the other parents if they or their kids have any food allergies. It might be a birthday bash for your little one, but safety for everyone is still a priority.
What’s a birthday party without a cake for the birthday kid? If you’re up for it, you can bake the cake yourself. If not, there is a wide variety of birthday cakes you can choose from in bakeries or restaurants. You can get a cake that is in line with the party theme, or simply one with pretty decorations.
Remember, if you’re buying the cake, you might have to order it in advance so check with the bakery or restaurant you’re buying the cake from.
A bonus tip: You can consider taking photos of your little one with his birthday cake the day before the actual party, or on the day itself before the guests arrive. This way, you’ll be able to take some nice photos without having to deal with the party chaos.
And of course, if you’re lighting a candle on the birthday cake, keep a careful eye on your little one in case he tries to grab the candle.
A Play Area
Create some space in the living room for the other babies and toddlers so they can play safely. Make sure the play area is baby-proof and fill it up with age-appropriate toys and books. Put some chairs around the area so parents can sit and keep a watch on their kids while the little ones are playing.
Games and Activities
For older kids who are too big for the play area, you can prepare one or two games they can play with each other. Classic games like pass the parcel or musical chairs are always fun to play at a party.
Of course, you can’t leave the birthday kid out of all the fun. Since your one-year-old might be a bit too young for the games above, you can line up different activities he can take part in. Get one of the adults to do some story-telling, blow bubbles the kids can “catch” and pop, or just turn up the music and have a dance party!
DIY photo booths are all the rage now too. You don’t have to spend much to create your own photo booth; for a backdrop, simply hang a colourful and/or printed tablecloth on the wall, and make your own props your guests can use when they are getting their photos taken.
Pack party favours to gift the little guests so they will have something fun to bring home. If you want to, you can pack two different types of party favours – one for kids who are a year old and below, and another for the older kids.
Party favours for the younger tots can consist of teething biscuits, baby books, soft toys, rattles, or bibs. For party favours for the older kids, you can put in cookies, lollipops, age-appropriate books, bubbles, or crayons.