Getting the timing right
By one year old, your baby may be used to having a nap during the day. The worst time for all the excitement of a party is when your baby is tired, so an afternoon tea party after naptime, works well.
If you are inviting other babies, check out their naptimes with their parents. Once one starts wailing, they all will! Keep the party brief because an hour or so is quite long enough at this age.
Games and activities
We know the main event of any first birthday party is when you let the guest of honor get his or her hands on their very own cake. And maybe some of us are hoping that cake smashing was socially acceptable for all ages. However, don't forget to keep your guests entertained for the rest of the time with some fun party activities. From DIY keepsakes or crafts to pass down to your baby as he or she gets older to games that get your guests moving, the possibilities are endless.
Loud bangs from party poppers and bursting balloons may frighten your baby, and discarded poppers and balloons are serious choking hazards, so leave them until next year. Why not have some musical fun instead, such as dancing with your baby, or putting on some nursery rhymes in the background.
Choosing a venue
Home is the place where your baby will feel most secure. She'll appreciate a few colourful decorations or, if you want to go for something more adventurous, you could buy a baby ball pool.
Food to serve
Keep food simple because most of it will probably end up on the floor anyway! Finger foods are excellent for both babies and adults, as eating them won't interrupt play or interaction. Parents may well have brought a bottle or feeder cup with the drink of choice for their baby, but have water, milk and diluted fruit juices at the ready.
If you're providing food for the adults, keep it simple and avoid peanuts and other foods that may present a choking hazard to little ones.
To be honest, your mini guests will probably eat very little food, so aim for a variety of taste, texture and colour rather than lots of it.
However, no party is complete without a birthday cake. You can either make one yourself or choose from a variety at a supermarket or bakery. Don't let your baby near the candle as she will want to grab, not blow, it.
Choosing a theme
Party themes aren't important to a one year old. You may want to aim for a colour-coordinated look, but it's more for the benefit of your photo and video records than your baby at this stage.
The party bags
Party bags are really unnecessary at this age, and the usual goodies like sweets and balloons are just dangerous. If you really want to give a party present to your little guests, opt for a small, safe soft toy each or a board book.
By now, your baby will appreciate anything that makes a noise, lights up, or both, so activity centres are a good choice. It's never too early to read, and textured board books are great fun for your tactile baby. A trolley, or push-along to aid walking skills is a popular choice, and new bath toys are always welcome. You may want to consider a big, lasting present, such as a baby swing for outdoors or a rocking horse.
If you already have lots of toys, she's too young to mind if some people buy her clothes instead. Check out our other present ideas.