Where Can I Take My 1-Year-Old for Their Birthday?: Tips for Parents
Your baby’s 1st birthday is a milestone celebration. Besides celebrating a birthday, baby’s 1st is a time to celebrate their transition from babyhood to toddlerhood, as well as their parents who have made it through the grueling sleepless nights and countless diaper changes.
There’s no question that a baby’s 1st birthday is worth celebrating. But before you send out invitations or order a cake, you’ve got to decide on a party location.
There are a lot of benefits to hosting baby’s first birthday party at home — we love the simplicity of an at-home celebration — but it’s not always possible or practical to host a large gathering in your home.
So how do you organize a baby’s first birthday party?
Whether you’re a party-planning pro or a novice, everyone can use a little guidance. Check out these tips for your baby’s first birthday party:
1. Keep It Simple
Odds are, this is your child’s first experience with a large gathering. Limit the number of guests to the family and friends who are closest to you and your child. Avoid excessive noise or decorations that might confuse or scare your child.
One of the best ways to keep it simple is to select a calm, low-key location. If you’re planning baby’s first birthday party during warmer months, hosting it outside means you don’t have to clean the house or spend a lot of money on decorations.
Of course, you can always plan a backyard celebration, but Central Pennsylvania is also home to an array of beautiful outdoor locations — any of which would be perfect for a birthday gathering. All you need to do is reserve a space in advance, then plan a simple menu of food, drinks and, of course, cake!
The ultimate goal is to celebrate your little one’s milestone birthday. Even a wintertime celebration doesn’t need to be elaborate to be fun. Many indoor party venues offer help with decorating, entertainment and cleanup, allowing you to enjoy making memories with your child and guests.
2. Keep It Short
Science has proven what parents worldwide already know — a one-year-old’s attention span is incredibly short. Even a beloved toy or activity typically won’t hold their attention for more than a couple of minutes. Add in the noise and chaos of a birthday party, and you’re on your way to a meltdown.
Resist the temptation to plan a day-long celebration. Odds are, your little one will be passed from person-to-person, then fed cake for the first time, and then be overwhelmed with the colors and noises of new toys. Expect your child to quickly become over-stimulated and require a peaceful nap to recover from it all.
As a general rule of thumb, limit the party to a few hours only — this allows your little one to enjoy all the trimmings before a meltdown occurs. It’s also a good idea to plan the party’s start time around your child’s nap and feeding schedule. Some children are most content mid-morning, so a brunch celebration might be best. Others will be the most pleasant once they’ve had an afternoon nap. You know your child the best, so it’s up to you to choose the best time to celebrate.
Some families come from far and wide to celebrate a milestone birthday. If you have family coming from out of town and you want to continue the celebration, plan an informal after-party at your home where baby can nap or relax in their own familiar surroundings. This is the time for grownups to kick back with a cold beverage and stacks of baby photos to reminisce over the last year and catch up on all the family news.
3. Keep It Family-Friendly
What do you do at a one-year-old’s birthday party?
First birthdays are often as much about the parents as they are about the baby. Yes, it’s a huge milestone for parents too, but remember who the party is for. Choose a location that will offer a safe and fun environment for your child during their party. If other children will be in attendance, consider their ages and abilities, as well. If you’re expecting a mix of ages, choosing a location with a variety of entertainment options and extra space for guests to sit to.
Some locations offer a staff member who will organize everything and even run the party, so parents can kick back and enjoy the celebration. Others simply provide the space and let the parents guide the show. Make sure you know what to expect from your venue, so you aren’t surprised on the day of the party. If you’re planning to have several children in attendance or you expect to spend most of the day running the party, designate adults to keep an eye on the children — especially the birthday boy or girl — to ensure everyone stays safe and has fun.
When you’re planning the menu, remember this is a party for your child. Choose foods you know they’ll enjoy — even if they don’t eat much during the party, they’ll definitely enjoy the leftovers later.
For many parents, it’s not a party without an adult beverage or two. There’s nothing wrong with serving mimosas at a brunch or a pitcher of margaritas at an afternoon soirée, but remember — this is a party for a child. Resist the urge to stock the bar, and put the money into kid-friendly beverages, such as sparkling waters, fruit juices and punch.
4. Enjoy Yourself
There are so many one-year-old birthday party ideas out there. You can spend months pouring over ideas on Pinterest if you really want to — but that can quickly turn a fun event into a stressful experience.
Remember — as memorable as baby’s first birthday will be for you, your child isn’t going to remember this moment. They won’t know if the cake didn’t turn out exactly right or if their aunt couldn’t attend or if the party only lasted an hour. This celebration is simply about making your child feel special, and at their age, it doesn’t take fancy decorations or elaborate games to do that. For some parents, keeping it simple at home is the best way to enjoy the celebration. For others, finding a venue that will handle the details is the best way to ensure a relaxing day.
Decide what you need and then go for it!
The Colonial Golf & Tennis Club
The Colonial Golf & Tennis Club is proud to provide recreation and celebration spaces for members of all ages in Central Pennsylvania. We pride ourselves on our beautiful, high-quality golf, tennis and aquatic facilities, as well as the outstanding food and drink offerings at our on-site restaurant. With the capacity for events with up to 300 people, our banquet spaces provide a variety of options for large or small groups.
We love to host fancy parties, but we also shine when we’re helping you plan intimate family celebrations.
If you’re planning a celebration or social event, let us help you make it memorable. Contact our catering coordinator for more information.