You’ve survived the sleepless nights, the nappy changes, and the first wobbly steps, and now it’s time to tackle another milestone: your child’s first big birthday bash. If you are new to the whole kid’s birthday thing, it can seem like a pretty daunting task to organise a party that the kids will love, and remember for all the right reasons, but that will also not be too difficult for you to arrange and enjoy too.
Well, don’t worry because I’ve got your back with my guide to acing that first big birthday bash for your little ones.
The Planning Phase: Where Optimism Meets Reality
Embrace the Theme
First things first, your life is going to be a whole lot easier if you take the time to pick a theme. It could be anything from dinosaurs to princesses, depending on what makes your tiny human’s eyes light up – it doesn’t matter as long as it is a defined theme that you can work with to create a really fun and engaging party environment for the little ones who attend. Remember, at this age, the theme is more for the adults and the photo ops, but it will also set the pace for the kids too, so choose wisely.
Location, Location, Location
Now, where to host this extravaganza? Your home is the obvious choice – it’s free, familiar, and you know where to hide when things get too much. But, if the thought of a bunch of young kids running about the place like a tornado ripping through your living room makes you nervous, consider a local hall or a soft play area where they will have more than enough room to run around and cause havoc in a way that is safe, and will not leave your home looking like a bomb has just exploded. They often come with the added bonus of someone else cleaning up – hallelujah!
Presents or Presence?
These days, a lot of parents request that no gifts are given during the party because most kids already have a lot of stuff, and the cost of living is making it more difficult for many people to afford presents for parties, which can put them off attending at all. So, it is worth sitting down and thinking about whether you require presents or whether you should make a point of mentioning that they are not needed on the invitations. Either way, your child will still have a great time running around with all of their friends so whatever you choose, it will be fine,
On the Day: The Art of Herding Cats
Timing is Everything
It’s always a good idea to schedule the party around your child’s naptime if they are very young, or for the morning if they are a bit older. The reason being, a party with an overtired, cranky birthday boy or girl, and a bunch of their similarly afflicted friends, is kind of like trying to have a picnic in a hurricane – not fun. If the kids are cranky and overtired, they will act up fights will break out, meltdowns will concur and no one will be having the kind of fun you envisioned. It is for this reason that two hours is also the sweet spot for party duration. Long enough to celebrate, short enough to avoid meltdowns (from both kids and adults).
Entertainment: Keeping the Littles Amused
Unless you want a pint-sized mutiny on your hands, you are going to want to plan some fun activities for the little ones to enjoy. This doesn’t have to mean hiring a clown or a magician (though if that’s your thing, go for it). Simple games, a craft station, or a makeshift dance floor can work wonders, especially for slightly older kid who may have grown out of the funny clown phase. And always have a backup plan – because with kids, unpredictability is the only guarantee.
Food: Fuel for Fun
When it comes to food, you will be happy to know that you can keep it simple and relatively mess-free. Think finger foods – sandwiches, fruit, veggie sticks. And cake, obviously. Maybe skip the sugar-loaded stuff unless you want a room full of hyperactive tots. As for drinks, squash is the nectar of the gods at kiddie parties. Just brace yourself for the inevitable spills.
Oh, and it’s so important that you ask all of the kids who are attending’s parents if they have any allergies, so you can be a good host and cater for your guests, while keeping them safe. If one of the kids has allergies, then it’s best to eliminate the contaminant completely from the buffet, but if that is not possible, then having individual boxes with every child’s own meal inside, a bit like a Happy Meal, can work well too.
The Extras: Because Details Matter
Party Bags: The Mini Loot
Ah, party bags, the pièce de résistance of any child’s party, and probably the thing they enjoy more than all of the food and entertainment you take the time to plan to the nth degree! They’re like tiny treasure chests of joy (and future landfill, but let’s not dwell on that). Fill them with age-appropriate goodies: stickers, a small toy, some raisins (if you dare to be that parent). And remember, it’s not about how much you spend, but about sending the little guests home with a piece of the fun, which is why choosing the right party bag fillers, and the nicest possible piece of cake, is such a big part of your party’s success. The kids really do love them and they are a great way to say thank you to everyone who made the effort to come out and celebrate alongside you and your child!
With a gaggle of tiny humans running around, safety is. As you will probably know, key. So, it’s really important that you make a real effort to childproof the area as best you can. Cover sharp corners, secure gates, and maybe keep the family pet in a quiet room if you are having the party at home – not everyone appreciates Fido’s enthusiastic licks, and chances are he will not appreciate a whirlwind of overexcited little ones either!
Photographs: Capture the Memories (and the Mayhem)
You are going to want to capture the moment, but you will be busy hosting, so it’s a good idea to designate someone as the photographer for the day, because you don’t want to miss that one great shot because you’re too busy making sure little Tommy doesn’t stuff four cupcakes in his mouth simultaneously. These photos are the memories your child will look back on with a big beaming smile – or, more likely, the evidence you’ll show at their 18th birthday party.
The Art of Saying Goodbye
As the party winds down, you’re going to want to have a clear end time. This isn’t an all-night rave; it’s a child’s birthday party, after all. A gentle nudge that the party’s over can be as simple as starting to tidy up or turning off the music. Most parents will take the hint – usually, they’re as knackered as you are – and they will start moving the kids out, so you can get on with the “fun” business of cleaning up.
Post-Party: The Aftermath
Once the last guest has left and the birthday child is (hopefully) napping, it’s time for the cleanup to get started (oh joy). This is where you question why you let your child eat chocolate cake in a room with a white carpet. Pro tip: Recruit some family or friends to help – you can repay them in leftover cake and eternal gratitude, and you can have fun with it too.
Reflect and Relax
Now, put your feet up, have a cuppa (or something stronger), and give yourself a pat on the back. You’ve just thrown your child’s first big birthday bash. It was chaotic, messy, and probably not Pinterest-worthy, but hey, it was filled with love and laughter – and that’s what counts.
The Thank You’s
Once the dust has settled on the big event, you should most definitely consider sending out thank you cards or messages to the kids who attended and their parents. It’s a nice touch and a good way to let your guests know how much you appreciate their presence (and presents). It will also teach your kids the importance of being grateful and showing good manners to the people around them who care about them enough to make an effort with them on those special occasions. Plus, it’s a good excuse to show off those adorable candid shots from the party.
Kids’ birthday parties are pretty much going to be mayhem from start to finish, but if you take the time to plan them right they can be organised mayhem and that is the best you can hope for. So, embrace the chaos, have fun with it, and give your child the best birthday party ever.
Featured post© Copyright 2023 Antonia, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tidylife