Celebrating your little ones’ first birthday is a really great way to look back and feel proud of everything that has happened these past 12 months. On this day especially, you can acknowledge just how long it’s been since you saw the babies, heard them, and held them for the first time ever.
It’s up to you to decide how you want to celebrate the big day. Maybe you like parties, or perhaps you’d prefer something low-key. No matter what your style is, we’ve got a couple of helpful hints that could make things a bit easier when the big day rolls around.
What are 1st birthday celebrations like?
It might be helpful to keep in mind that your little ones aren’t going to have much of a memory of this birthday, and they don’t have a ton of mobility or play friends yet. If any celebrations become more of a social time for adult friends and family, don’t be too surprised.
For this reason, many parents choose to have barbecues or picnics to celebrate a first birthday; it’s a little simpler for a day that doesn’t necessarily have to be kid-oriented. Don’t worry – there will be plenty of time for inflatable playgrounds and party games in the future (eek!).
Things you should split in the future (but not right now)
Since it’s their 1st birthday and not their 5th, 10th, or 16th, there are a couple of things that you don’t absolutely need to split right now, to save a little bit of money and a lot of energy! Here are some things that you can get away with combining, for now.
- The date: In the future, your children might ask for separate dates to celebrate, but for now, it’s fine to plan everything for the same day.
- The cake: When the babies are about 3, they might start appreciating their own cakes (even if they’re just cupcakes). But for now, it’s fine to cut them each a slice from the same birthday cake (they probably won’t eat much of it, anyway).
- The theme: If you do continue to hold one party for the two (or more) of them, you might be looking at a situation where half of the get-together is astronaut themed, while the other half is an indie rock party. At this point though, your children probably won’t have much say about the theme, so you can get away with just one. There’s just nothing that says ‘fun 1st birthday party’ like a Wilco theme.
Things you should split, now AND in the future
Some things should always be split though, at least when it comes to birthdays. Here are the things that are probably better divided up between your children.
- Gifts: It’s fine if some gifts are for them to share, but if possible, try to let each baby get his or her own share of birthday presents – even if it’s just a couple each.
- The official birthday song: Each baby will love being the star of their own birthday song, and it’ll start a nice tradition in the family that validates each child’s birthday.
General 1st birthday tips
For obvious reasons, birthday parties at this age are going to be different than birthday parties in 10 years or so. They both require different planning, and guests have a whole different set of needs. So here are some things to keep in mind specifically for a 1st birthday party.
- A gift list: It might help your guests if you included a list of gifts that the little ones would enjoy with the invitation.
- The time of day: When choosing a good time of day for the party, don’t forget to take into account how your babies react to noise and to other people, as well as what times they’re the most energetic or the sleepiest.
- Safety: Make sure the whole party area is baby-proofed, and that no food or toys on the floor are choking hazards – this includes loose parts of toys. Always put children under adult supervision, too, because the (fun) chaos of a party can cause children to go unwatched.
- Pets: Respect your pets’ excitement level and keep them in a separate room – a party could be quite stressful for even the calmest dog!
- Set up ‘baby stations’ around the house: No matter how socially developed your children are, it’s likely that at the 1st birthday party, most of the guests poop their pants multiple times a day. And that’s okay – that’s okay. It’s expected, even. Consider setting up quiet places for nursing moms or napping babies, as well as a changing station to provide everybody with the comforts they need to enjoy the party!
That’s a lot of information, and keep in mind that you definitely don’t have to follow all these suggestions. You might decide to celebrate in a totally different way. And that’s okay – your babies’ 1st birthday party should really be something that has as much to do with you as it does them, because you’ve done so much work helping them along the way. Here’s to another year and many more with your little ones!