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Plan a Stress-free and Healthy Child’s First Birthday Party


Angela Gartner

Your baby is a 1 year old. Can you believe it has happened so quickly? It’s time to plan the first birthday party. You want to make this day special for your child.  Parents have to decide who to invite, a theme, find a location, get supplies and how much to spend on this event. Party planning can be stressful for the first time; here are some birthday party tips to help keep the stress levels low.

Make a Party Plan –
A good party plan streamlines your party organizing. A useful plan will set a timeline to send the invitations, purchase party supplies and prepare the menu. You can download a party planner template from many online sites, including www.microsoft.com or www.birthdaysrus.com. The Toys R Us Geoffrey's Birthday Club page provides a free club membership with special savings on toys or clothing purchases.

Pick a Theme –
Your theme can unify your party organizing. Party themes can be characters from a special story, colors or an animal that your child loves. For example, if you child likes Elmo, there are several discount party stores and online services that have character party supply sets.  Save on your party costs by buying coordinating solid-colored plates, table covers or utensils.

Keep the Party to Immediate Family and a Few Close Friends –
To keep the party small and affordable, invite those closest to you and your family. This will minimize any uncomfortable feelings for those who don’t know members of your family.  In addition, this will keep your child from being overwhelmed with new faces and sounds.

Find a Location –
Consider the most convenient location for both you and your guests. Weather can dictate an indoor or outdoor party. If you choose an offsite venue, book early. Ask your family and invited friends about access to local party rooms or community centers.  Ideas for room rentals would be local parks, community centers, pools for summer parties or lodges. Most will have a resident and nonresident fee. 

Party Foods – Providing a healthy party menu will be a great way to please your guests.  Instead of the traditional party foods such as pizza, hamburgers, fried chicken and hotdogs, try some other healthy choices.  Try a low calorie vegetable pizza or have plenty of fruits and vegetable dishes.  Go with a sugar-free cake for everyone to enjoy.

Party Favors – Party favors are a hit with children (and adults) attending your party. The most important consideration is age appropriate gifts. Check labels for choking hazards for the youngest guests. Match older children with favors that will entertain them during the party.   Don’t forget the adults.  Take a picture of your new 1-year-old and make copies. Stores like Wal-Mart, BJ’s or Sam's Club have photo centers where you can use different borders that dress up the picture and have low costs for bulk copies. Or take photos with each guest holding the birthday child. In addition, since we all worry about going to a party and the possibility of getting sick from the event, consider giving guests small hand sanitizers  or have a large bottle handy for people to use.

A Little Help from Your Friends -
Ask your close friends and family to help with some of the food items or clean-up. You can prepare the main entrees, but enlist other guests to pitch in. Let your sister make her famous potatoes. Ask the grandparents to make a special birthday treat for the party. Organize a group of family members to be the clean-up crew to help with clearing the party plates or covering the leftover food during the party. This will allow you to enjoy activities like the cake smash by your child, opening the presents or saying goodbye to guests instead worrying if anyone cleaned up the wrapping paper.

Gifts – Provide your guests with your child's clothing size (or the next size up) to minimize gift returns. Family members appreciate ideas on any special gifts your child would like. If you receive identical gifts, consider sending that treasured second toy home with grandparents or another home you and your child visit frequently.

Enjoy the Day –
Party planning and preparation will make your event memorable for both you and your guests.  Your child will only have one first birthday. Make enjoying the party your top priority.

 

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