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Baby Bash: Hosting A Party For Your Little One That Offers A Little Something Extra

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

For you, there’s probably not enough time in a day, and in fact, time moves too quickly, but for your precious little darling, time practically stands still and he or she is eager about counting down the days to his or her next birthday, and celebrating yet another milestone of getting bigger, older, “wiser” and closer to adulthood. For many parents, each year of health and achievement (for their child) is also a milestone warranting celebration. From fancy affairs commemorating your child’s birth to more laid back acknowledgment of this very special day, experts say hosting the perfect party is a piece of cake.

Fabulous Firsts: It’s the first anniversary of your baby’s birth, and for you, the first anniversary as a parent. It’s a truly momentous event in both your lives. If your like most, you’ll want to celebrate, and in a big way. Experts caution however that for your “little one”, a big event may be too overwhelming. They suggest keeping your child’s first birthday celebration a “simple” jubilee. They suggest perhaps an open house. Host the party from Noon to 5 p.m., giving guests to arrive at their convenience and leisure, and come and go at will. They note that this is an ideal way to have your cake and eat it too without worrying about junior/juniorette being unnerved by being the constant center of attention or worrying about planning your event around meals, moods, and naps.

Inviting Ideas:

· Be specific about how long the party will last, what time the event will be over and children expected to be picked up. According to experts a party lasting an hour to and hour and a half is standard for most 2-3 year olds.

· Be specific as to what type of party is is/will be including what type of food (and beverage) will be served (if any) so parents can make an assessment about feeding their children.

· Include an RSVP by a certain date on the invitation. Experts note however, that you should anticipate most failing to reply unless they plan on NOT attending. And they emphasize that putting an RSVP on the invitation allows you to follow up without feeling like you are being pushy.

Showing Good Taste:

· Consider a personalized or theme cake for your child. Many bakeries do specialty items for a fee and they also offer a less costly option of designs made of icing on relatively inexpensive sheet cakes.

· Consult your bakery regarding cakes featuring your child’s picture

· Whip up your very own cake. Use books available at the local bookstore or confectionary if you’re feeling a bit creative.

· How about serving cupcakes instead? Cupcakes are especially great for kids. There’s no cutting, and they are often easier to handle and serve…and you don’t need utensils to enjoy them.

· Look for a cupcake “tree” to serve them on. After all, it’s all about the presentation.

· Why not ice cupcakes in a variety of fun and festive colors. Arrange them in a fun pattern, or how about one that spell’s out your child’s name or simply reads “Happy Birthday”

· Get your guests involved by putting out some tasty decorations, allowing each guest to build his or her own creation.

Delight Their Senses: Musing over whether of not to have additional amusement. Experts say while it’s certainly not necessary, it’s a sure fire way to keep kids interested and offers parents a little downtime and extra enjoyment.

· Clowns, magicians, puppeteers, etc are ideal but often “pricey”. If you’re on a budget, consider instead hiring some teens to do balloon tricks or face painting.

· If you have a pool consider hiring a certified lifeguard to tend to the kids, and/or hire a helper to keep kids busy and occupied on swing sets, etc.

· If you’ve ever taken a parent-child music class perhaps you want to adapt the classroom activities to your party, or ask you helper to do so. Distribute some inexpensive instruments, music and a space to dance.

Give Them A Special Treat: Children love getting gifts. Consider putting together an inexpensive goodie bag for your little attendees.

· Consider a book or game….but try to make sure it is an item of significance. Tiny little toys may be dangerous (they can be chewed on or swallowed), and usually wind up all over the house.

Gift Dos and Don’ts:

· Be honest about what gift would be appropriate if they ask

· Wait until after the party to open gifts. Children can’t hide disappointment or excitement as well as adults, there’s no need to hurt anyone’s feeling, so encourage your child to open gifts after the party, then call or write to say “thank you”.

· Refrain from setting up a gift registry (online). Experts note, for a child’s party, it’s simply going un-necessarily overboard.

Food For Thought: Children have lots of energy and are growing, which also means they have (for the most part) good appetites. Keep in mind however, that unlike you and I, children tend to eat on the go and need nutritious, but simply, easy to handle foods.

· Finger foods make enjoyment for everyone much easier. Besides the lack of need for utensils and fine china, finger foods allow parents and children to indulge on the go. Consider sandwiches, veggies and dip, chicken finger, fruit on skewers, etc. Remember, children will more likely nosh than “eat” (too much excitement going on)

Play By Play: One of the best ways to make your child’s party a success is to have plenty of sensory stimulation and games readily available. Experts note, that younger children are rarely intrigued by complex games or crafts. They naturally have a short attentions span, and they recommend that you have instead a variety of activity stations:

· Display bubble sets at a particular station and designate an older child or parent to help with the bubble blowing activity.

· Place all mobile (ride-on) toys in a group and in a designated location such as your driveway. Place balls and other such toys in a self-contained area.

· Pitch a (pop-up) tent for toddlers to use as a fort and run in and out of freely.

· Invest in a water slide, sprinkler or nylon tunnel for children to play in.

· Consider a game of musical chairs or freeze dance where children dance until the music stops, then they “freeze”

· Sit children in a circle for story time to calm them down.

Location, Location, Location: Prefer to have the party and the “noise”, anywhere but at your home? Worried about the added expense? Experts say you can take your party “on the road” fairly inexpensively.

· Consult your local place of worship. These facilities frequently rent out the rec room and come full equipped with tables, chairs, access to a gym or some play equipment.

· Consider hosting an outdoor event at a local park, weather permitting. Experts suggest renting or reserving a space in advance and certainly confirm it prior to your event.

· Get in touch with your local fire station. Often times fire stations will host parties for a minimal fee. Children are given a tour of the fire station and can use one of the rooms for the cake.

Most of all experts agree taking the time to not only host, but also to ENJOY this memorable event. If you have to, hire friends or family members to help you with the day, and doing your job right. Celebrate the day before, or the day after, just you and your family if you really want to capture the sentimentality and significance of the moment.

Long Island Family Life & Parenting Articles > Baby Bash: Hosting A Party For Your Little One That Offers A Little Something Extra

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