Hosting Your Child's First Birthday Party

Congratulations, your baby is turning a year old! Soon, your little one will be walking, talking and growing up before you know it. Though your baby's first birthday should be special, it doesn't have to be expensive or over-the-top. Follow these simple tips for planning your child's first birthday party.

baby girl eating first birthday cake

Keep it small

No matter how tempted you are to invite everyone you know, hire jugglers and clowns and rent ponies, you should keep your child's first birthday party relatively small and simple. Your 1-year-old may be fearful of strangers, over-stimulated by crowds or overwhelmed by noise and new places. Keep in mind that your little one won't even remember this party, so anything over-the-top will only be for you.

Read more about baby-friendly first birthday parties >>

Plan around naptime

Most 1-year-olds still take morning and afternoon naps, so try to schedule the party with naptime in mind. Midday might work for some kids, while after dinner might be an option for others. Also, set a time limit. Around this age, any party longer than an hour or two will probably be too long for your child to enjoy.

Stay within budget

According to a poll of over 5,000 parents on BabyCenter, 61 percent of parents spent $200 or less on their baby's first birthday party with 25 percent spending between $200 and $500, and 11 percent spending more then $500. Read these money-saving tips for your baby's first birthday.

Consider other locations

In most situations, your home is the optimal location for your baby's first birthday party. However, if your house or apartment is too small to host guests, consider other locations: Your neighborhood community center, apartment complex club house or church hall. If your child is comfortable in noisy, busy spots, the children's museum or a child-themed restaurant are terrific options. When the weather is nice, the local park or even the zoo are also fun choices.

Set a theme

Kids of all ages love a good theme -- plus, themed parties make for great pictures. You can center the theme around a certain color or plan it around your baby's favorite cartoon character. Disney Baby offers affordable partyware -- plates, napkins, cups, cards and more -- with the popular Mickey Mouse or Minnie Mouse themes.

Hire a photographer

You want tons of pictures of the party but you don't want to spend the entire time behind the camera? Consider hiring someone to take the photos for you. It doesn't have to be a professional -- just a friend or relative who's good with a camera and who you trust to get the shots you want.

Plan your menu

You don't need to spend all day in the kitchen preparing party food and baking a cake. Plan your menu and keep it simple with sandwiches, pasta salads and iced tea for adults. For the little ones, serve up bite-size cakes and other treats, as well as no-choke finger foods and other baby-friendly options. Order a cake from your favorite bakery or pick up the food from a local deli to make things a little easier on you.

Quick Tip

For your baby's first (or even second) birthday party, we love the idea of having a Cheerios and cereal station. Place assorted cereals in clear containers for a simple display. Babies and toddlers love eating dry cereal with their fingers, and it's great for developing fine motor skills.

Check out these easy kids birthday party recipes >>

Get crafty

Instead of buying generic decorations, you can make your own. You can decorate the room with photographs of your baby from every month of the year, hang up clothes that your little one has grown out of or ask your guests (the parents and the kids) to bring a picture of themselves at one year old to use to make a memorable photo collage.

Forget about the competition

Kids' parties shouldn't be a competition among moms. Forget about what your sister, cousin, neighbor and friend did for their baby's first birthday parties. You don't need to compete with anyone in terms of the activities, food or cost of your party.

Relax and have fun

Drinks will spill, accidents will happen and kids will cry, but you shouldn't sweat the small stuff. Relax and enjoy yourself with your baby and your guests. Birthday parties are meant to be fun and sometimes we get too caught up in all the details. Put on some music, break out the bubbles and just have some fun with your wee one. Your one-year-old will be a teenager before you know it.

More first birthday party tips

How to have your baby's first birthday party
First birthday party food
First birthday party themes



Comments on "10 Tips for planning baby’s first birthday"

Erica June 02, 2013 | 8:58 PM

Of my 5 kids, my favorite was my 4th son's 1st birthday. Family and VERY close friends only. It was a rubber ducky theme since he had a wubanub pacifier with a duck on it that he was never without. I made a cake to look like a bath tub with marshmallow bubbles and a rubber duck. We gave our rubber ducks. All the decor was yellow and blue. I found a blow up rubber duck baby bath that we used to stash ice and drinks. We did it early dinner time. Easy, fun, not expensive.

lise mazerolle May 30, 2013 | 7:10 PM

how should i decorate 4 his b-day party?

Carolyn February 05, 2013 | 3:24 PM

Cindy, look into a baby play gym like gymboree. Idk if they have one in your area but seems perfect for the 1st year and is in your price range for sure.

susan February 03, 2013 | 2:27 AM

My granddaughter will be one this month we are renting the clubhouse we did order personalized decoratuons for the diva her picture will make such cute memorabilia for her and finger foods will keep it easy

Glitter bling fun January 30, 2013 | 8:54 PM

I love a themed birthday party especially ones that are not based on a specific character. For example, use pirates and not Jake and the Neverland Pirates, or princesses and not the Disney line-up.

ruth January 13, 2013 | 1:19 PM

Hi. my baby birthday is in March. I'm planning to have it in my house. she is my first child, so I dont really know what to do. All I know is, I want it to have a theme, but I don't have a theme. I want it to be cute, not too finace or too expensive. Please help me.

Cindy January 08, 2013 | 7:52 PM

Hi there my daughter's birthday is next month and its the month of valentines .i have no idea what kind of party should I thinking about going in to a restaurant with a room ,I'm not sure if they will let me put decorations on their budget is $300 to $500 ..please help me thank you so much

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