Keep it Calm for Baby!

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Let us grant your wish for a sweet first party.

Your child’s first birthday is a momentous occasion, but the party should be like her – gentle, peaceful and loving. Little Sally won’t remember the bounce house or the decorations or even the gifts, so plan a relaxing party to celebrate her first birthday. Here are some do’s and don’ts for a hassle-free party.

Do’s

Keep guest list under control – The fewer people at a first birthday party, the better. First, it’s less preparation for you. Second, you want to invite people your baby is comfortable with. Keep the number at 10 to 20 close family members and friends.

Plan around naptime – Schedule the party at a time when your child is likely to be in a good mood. Make sure you get plenty of rest for the big day, too. You don’t want a cranky baby … or party host.

Keep menu simple – There’s no need for a big spread at a first birthday party; simple foods are easy to prepare and easy to eat. Cut down on prep time by picking up a sandwich tray at a local shop. Finger foods are good, too.

Keep it short – Specify a time frame on the invitation and keep the party to two hours or less. Otherwise, a 1-year-old will get overstimulated, overtired and will be ready to go over the edge. If that happens before the party is over, put the baby down for a rest and let the party continue until the time is up.

Baby takes the cake – Keep a watchful eye on little guests itching to blow out baby’s candle. You don’t want a 6-year-old blowing out the first candle. And let the birthday child eat his cake – he’ll make a mess – great photo op!

Don’ts

Don’t overwhelm your child – Your home or another place your child is very familiar with is a good choice for the party setting. Don’t take him out and expect him to sit through opening presents and eating cake.

Don’t go overboard – If you choose a theme for your party, keep it simple. The first birthday is for the parents, grandparents and the child. Your child is not going to know how much you spent, how many people came or how many presents he got.

Don’t be afraid to limit gifts – Not everyone knows what makes an appropriate gift for a 1-year-old. If you are asked for suggestions, give a few. If you want to limit gifts, include that on the invitations.

Don’t forget the camera – You don’t want to miss your baby poking at the cake or grinning at the gifts, so make sure someone has a camera pointed his way at all times. Make sure your memory card is cleared or you have enough rolls of film on hand. You may also consider purchasing a few inexpensive disposable cameras and having guests take random party shots.

Don’t forget to have fun – Keep things simple and you’ll be able to enjoy the party. The memories made on this day are for the parents, so you want to have fun, too. Have a little food, eat cake, open a few gifts and snap lots of pictures.

Tiffani Hill-Patterson is a freelance writer.

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