Your child's first birthday party is as much for you and the family as it is for the birthday boy or girl. They won't remember the event, but you can make sure it's a party that's worth telling stories about. After all, you want to share the joy as your child grows.
No need for a massive party. Keep that 1-year celebration simple. Invite a small group of family and close friends. Too many people can be overwhelming for the birthday child, making it stressful for everyone.
Limit the length of the birthday party and, if possible, plan it for a time of day when your child tends to be the most social. Again, an exhausted child isn't fun for anyone. If the party gets to be too much, close friends and family will understand if you have to put the birthday star down for a nap.
Organize the party around a theme suited to a 1-year-old. Simple decor featuring toddler favorites, such as barnyard animals, music, bouncy balls, or teddy bears, works well.
This milestone deserves lots of pictures, especially the classic messy moment when your kid dives into his cake. And it's the perfect time to start birthday traditions.
Explore these great first birthday ideas for making your child's birthday party a family tradition that everyone loves.
First birthday party traditions start with simple ideas. Select an activity that is easy to achieve. To make it a tradition, you have to be willing to take time for the activity. It has to mean something to you, and it should grow with your child.
Consider your childhood birthday parties. What do you remember? What do you wish you still had from those birthday celebrations? You might find a family tradition already exists. If it fits your situation, perhaps you need only carry it forward.
Maybe a family tradition needs a little update. For example, if your parents always measured your height against a doorframe on your birthday, you may want to do something similar. But what if you're not sure you'll stay in that home until your child is grown? Don't lose the markings. Instead of a doorframe, make a mobile growth chart. Attach a long square dowel to a base so it can stand alone. Paint the dowel in bright birthday colors. Now it's easy to mark your child's height each year, and the growth chart can move with you.
Explore these easy ideas for traditions that can start with your child's first birthday and continue to grow as they do.
- Design a banner. Make a "Happy Birthday" banner from paper or fabric. Customize it with icons that have meaning for your child: his birth date, a first picture, and stickers or cutouts of favorite things, for example. Laminate it so you can use it every year. Extend the tradition by adding something new to the banner each year. The banner will tell a story that marks the ways your child grows.
- Photograph your child star. Take an annual picture of your child wearing a special birthday hat or crown. Create a photo book for only these pictures. Or set up a Birthday Hall of Fame, and make an annual event of hanging the next birthday picture on a special wall in your home.
- Start a yearly birthday invitation. Put your child's cute face on the party invitation. For her first birthday, have her hold a sign that says "It's my 1st birthday." As your child grows, style that year's image to suit the party theme or your child's current interests. For example, if the birthday boy is a cowboy fan, take the picture with him dressed in a cowboy hat and a red bandanna.
- Put your baby in a birthday outfit. Decorate a simple one-piece T-shirt with stamped-on letters and your child's handprint in paint. Design a new T-shirt each year.
Continued on page 2: First Birthday Keepsakes