Baby’s First Birthday: Celebrate the Growth Milestones!

Photo Credit: merfam (Jason Meredith) from Flickr

Your Baby’s First Birthday

Your baby’s first birthday is definitely a time for celebration. Over the last year, your child has reached milestones and developed socially, emotionally and physically. Read on to learn about your baby’s achievements, and tips on how to celebrate each of these accomplishments.

Emotional Development

Your little one probably goes through plenty of emotions each day. Babies often become frustrated if they drop a toy or if something is taken away from them by this age. They also laugh, giggle and smile to express happiness. Some babies have developed separation anxiety, and may become upset if you leave the room.

Tips for Celebrating: Try to plan a party that will accommodate your child’s personality. You may be excited to throw a big party for your baby, but too much commotion may make your little one uncomfortable.

Social Development

Your baby can now interact with you through gestures, and possibly even a few words. Babies often enjoying seeing other babies, although they will not actually play with them at this age. Your baby still prefers one on one attention from the people he or she sees most often, such as mom, dad, a sibling or other close family members. Some babies experience stranger anxiety, and will be easily overwhelmed if confronted by unfamiliar places or people.

Tips for Celebrating: Since your child may dislike strangers, try not to invite too many people. A lot of people may make your baby upset, especially if he or she does not know everyone who is there. Consider having the party at home or a local park if your child dislikes unfamiliar places. Your little one may enjoy having a few other babies at the party, but too many adults may make him upset.

Physical Development

Your baby may be walking by now; however, some babies won’t walk until a few months past their first birthday. Even babies who are not walking by the age of one still find ways to get around. They may crawl, roll or cruise (walk holding onto furniture or another object). Babies also develop the ability to manipulate smaller objects and play with different toys. Babies like to mimic their parent’s facial expressions or actions, such as waving or clapping. Babies often try to feed themselves by this age, as well.

Tips for Celebrating: Make sure to have plenty of games that your child can play. Some game ideas for babies include rolling a ball to knock down bins or dropping balls into a tub or bucket. Babies may also enjoy a game like pin the tail on the donkey. It can be made with adhesive felt or small pieces of Velcro, so your baby cannot pull off pieces of tape. Other activities can include peekaboo and singing nursery rhymes. If your child is not walking yet, make sure there is a special place setup for him or her to crawl around freely.

Final Tips for Celebrating:

Keep the food simple for your baby’s first birthday: Include lots of child-friendly foods, such as sandwiches cut into fourths, cheese cubes, crackers, or diced fruit cups, especially if other young children will be at the party. Avoid serving foods that could be choking hazards, such as popcorn or nuts. ¬†Ask parents if their child has any allergies before the party. Some parents like to have one small cake just for their baby, so he or she can have fun smashing into it.

Follow your baby’s cues: If your baby becomes frustrated, bored or overwhelmed move to a new activity. Make sure to have a quiet place you can take your baby if he or she needs some alone time.

Plan the party around your baby’s schedule: Babies usually have a certain nap time every day, so plan the party for a time that accommodates your baby’s schedule. Keep the party short; one or two hours will be enough excitement for your little one.

Buy interactive and learning toys: Your little one will enjoy activity tables and interactive toys at this age. Look for toys that teach cause and effect, such as a toy with buttons or knobs that activates lights and sounds when pressed. Sturdy board books and toys that sing the alphabet or say colors are wonderful for your baby’s development, as well.

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