happy birthday: how to host an easy first birthday party

Congratulations! Your baby is almost one. The time seems to have flown by and yet you can hardly believe you’ve only had this amazing little person with you for 12 months. Celebrating your child's first birthday together is really special. You don’t need to spend much money or time to make it a day to remember.

the venue

Bright lights and loud noises can be a little overwhelming for a one-year-old. And if they’ve just learned to toddle, they won’t want to sit still for too long. Choose a venue that’s not too busy, where your little one can explore and play happily. How about a picnic in the park, hiring your local village hall or just inviting close family to your home?

the guest list

Everyone you invite will want plenty of cuddles with your little one, though your child might not appreciate being passed around all day. Try to keep the guest list small and just invite close friends and family members that your child already knows.

the food

Cold buffets are easiest for children’s parties. If your family offers to help, let them! Ask everyone to bring one dish each, so you only need to make a few sandwiches and pop some crisps in a bowl. If you have other young children coming, you may want to keep some jars of baby food on-hand just in case. You’ll also want to check whether anyone has allergies and avoid serving anything with nuts. As you know all too well by now, most children’s food will end up on the floor. Don't buy or make anything that’s too messy, like chocolate cake or tomato pasta.

the entertainment

Children’s entertainers are great fun for five-year-olds, but babies can find them quite scary and it'll be another couple of years before your child can enjoy pass the parcel or musical statues. Most children do love simple nursery rhymes though, especially ones with actions. A few rounds of 'Wind the Bobbin Up', 'Row, Row, Row the Boat', and 'Five Little Monkeys' are probably all you need to get them playing along. Add some simple musical instruments, such as a rainmaker and maracas and you’re onto a winner.

Then there's always soft play, everyone loves soft play, especially your little ones. The beauty of soft play is even if all the children aren't the same age, there's still plenty of fun for everyone. You can look to hire a soft play venue or find someone that hire's out and can deliver to your venue.

extra tips for stress-free first birthday parties

• keep it short and sweet and avoid naptimes
• consider having the party on a day other than your baby’s first birthday. That way, you get to celebrate the actual day as a family, without worrying about making sarnies or running the vacuum around
• toddler proof the venue: move anything breakable out of reach, add corner bumpers to protect little heads, check for choking hazards and keep pets shut safely away
• have plenty of baby toys handy, particularly if other children are coming
• finally, ask someone else to take the photos, so you're free to enjoy every minute of this special milestone!


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