There are milestones in every child’s life, and one that is always enjoyable – for child and parents – is the first birthday.   It’s good to keep it simple however so as not to overwhelm your little boy or girl. Celebrate with a small gathering, some food and games, and you’ll have a perfect day to remember.

When it comes to a first birthday party, timing is everything. Little ones will likely be having one or even two sleeps per day, so you’ll want to schedule the event outside their usual sleeping time. Mid-morning or afternoon might work well, and it’s a good idea to keep the party to around an hour as anything much longer than this may tire them out.

Casual is usually better when it comes to a first birthday party. There will undoubtedly be some mess so you’ll want a comfortable environment. Aim for the lounge room at home or perhaps a local park – wherever you and your bub feel comfortable. Wherever you hold it, remember to keep an eye out for choking or other safety hazards. A child-friendly space is vital.

Small is a good idea when it comes to the guest list. Keep it to close family and / or a few good friends. Your child may not be comfortable around strangers and might be overwhelmed with a house full new faces. This is their day after all.

This is entirely up to you. You can keep it casual with a phone call or email, or have fun with some beautiful invitation cards. If you have the time, you could make your own cards featuring a gorgeous pic of the birthday boy or girl.

Finger food is fabulous for parties. It’s not only easy to prepare (or buy) but also perfect for little fingers. Children at this age are just starting to enjoy the delights of finger food, so include lots of child-friendly options like carrot sticks, cheese pieces and mini bread sticks. Remember to avoid nuts and any other foods that could cause an allergic reaction in  young children.

It wouldn’t be a birthday without a cake! You might buy one from a supermarket or bakery (order in advance if you’re after something specific) or perhaps like many parents you’d like to make your own. As far as flavours go, you could go for banana, carrot, chocolate, vanilla…the choice is yours as little ones will probably only eat a mouthful or so anyway. Whatever flavour you choose, all children love brightly coloured decorations and fun shapes.

Children at this stage aren’t quite ready for pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey but they might enjoy some music or simple games. Alternatively you can lay out some play mats with a few toys to keep them happy.

While we tend to think of this as the most exciting part, your baby will most likely not yet know what presents are all about. Still, it’s a great time to spoil your little one with a few gifts.

A child’s first birthday party is a great time to celebrate not just your child’s birthday but the end of your first year as a parent. Yes it’s exhausting but you’ve made it, and it’s worth a celebration! However you choose to mark the day, remember that there’s no need for an elaborate or expensive celebration. Give your child lots of attention, love and hugs, take some photos, and they’ll have a picture perfect first birthday!

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