First Birthday…to party or not to party?

It’s a whole new ball game the moment your 2nd baby enters the picture. Before this moment you thought you had the parenting game sorted…enter another personality, with new sleep habits, new tastes, new likes, new ways of doing everything and your knowledge (and patience)  gets put through the wringer all over again! However one defence you do have up your sleeve now (that you didn’t have in round one) is experience!

Our 2nd baby’s 1st birthday is fast approaching and it’s causing much debate in our household. Do we host a big party or not? Half of me is super excited “yeah let’s go all out, invite everyone we know, jumpy castle, photo booth, over the top elaborate cake and decorations – the works!” But the other half of me is thinking “you know what let’s just keep it simple.  Something low key, a few presents and cake, it could be nice?” Based on experience I’m leaning more toward the 2nd option, and here’s why…

Birthday parties should be about the birthday guest! Our son would much rather enjoy a mellow affair with his nearest & dearest, ripping wrapping paper and playing with balloons over  being forced to deal with a big crowd of people made up mostly of strangers and people he only sees occasionally. Having “been there, done that” with the 1st one, there will be less focus on the details and more attention on the bubba! I’m thinking  simple & cheerful. I want the day to be remembered for joy and laughter, not because the napkins matched the table decor and that the flower arrangements complimented the chandelier.

Which leads me to my next point…. choice of venue. If you’re thinking of having a small casual get together you can be a bit creative with this one. Kids are built for fun, running around, burning energy and being silly! Why contain all of that indoors, in your home? Head  outdoors to your local playground or have a picnic in the park. If there will be other toddlers coming to join in the fun, make sure the location is buggy friendly and easy to get to. The other guests I can imagine will be only too thrilled, as they know all that running about will make for a weary toddler when they get home.

Food & drink – after a few party catering disasters, I am now all for healthy fun food that can easily be transported to the venue. Feeding time should be fuss free! Sandwiches, crackers and cheese, fruit and birthday cake. Save the fizzy pop and junk food and serve water – the other parents will be grateful! This will also save you from having to slave away in the kitchen till all hours and means you will be bright and rested, ready to enjoy the day with your little one.

Attention spans are very short at this age (actually at any age) so why drag the day out? With a simple get together you have more flexibility,and can time it for when your little one will be full of beans so they are able to enjoy it! If they nap in the afternoon, celebrate in the morning or vice versa. The day should be fun for them and you. No one wants to be around a cranky pants! Think short & sweet.

Oh how I wish I knew then what I know now… 1st birthday parties should be fun and should be celebrated but they don’t have to be over planned, over scheduled, over budgeted, stressful and intimidating situations. Find your own unique way to celebrate and maybe even start some new family traditions while you’re at it. I once saw a birthday cake which actually wasn’t cake at all – it was made out of watermelon, and it looked awesome! I think I might just try it out!  As long as the birthday guest enjoys the day, then in my book that’s a success. I think we’ll be better off saving the big birthday party bash for when he is likely to remember it!


How does your family celebrate birthdays? Share your tips for stress free birthday party fun!

About the author:

Casey is the mother of a 9 year old daughter and a gorgeous but clingy 20 month old boy. I have enough buggy pushing, nappy changing, tantrum throwing, parent wins (and some fails) experience behind me to write a book and make a movie! I am all about the blogging life and sharing the parental journey from the mad world of phil&teds. Let's navigate this journey together! I would love to hear your thoughts and tips so feel free to leave a comment or flick through an email to [email protected]

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