Today we’re talking birthday tips and tricks. Check out Babywise Mom, the Journey to Parenthood, and My Devising for more tips and be sure to check out our Pinterest board with tons of different ideas from themes to games.
As many of you know, we currently live far from both of our families. This is a constant challenge for me and never more so than on birthdays and holidays. I did better this year. Last year I cried throughout Pickles 2nd birthday because I was sad she couldn’t have a big party with lots of family to tell her how much they love her. Dramatic? Yes, well, I am a feeling person okay.
This year we decided to make her day special and not try to fit things into a mold. I avoided Pinterest envy where I’d be inundated with 5 million great ideas for a party. Of course we could’ve had a party and invited friends, but she’s not in preschool or daycare so I didn’t want a party for her that wasn’t really, well, for her. If you know what I mean.
We decided to make a fun day of it instead! Read some thoughts on how to have a memorable birthday without a party.
1. Create anticipation of the day and its meaning.
I’ve written on building anticipation before, and I stand by my opinion that it’s one of the easiest ways to help your children have a good time. The month and weeks leading up to her birthday we talked about it. We knew we wanted to take her somewhere fun, so we talked about fun things people do on their birthdays, and how birthday girls get to wear crowns. At least in our house! We told her she’d get a cake or cupcakes and presents, and that we’d sing to her.
Talking about things before they happen – not with so much hype they are actually disappointed when the event comes – help children to prepare, anticipate and then fully engage in the day’s fun.
2. Have a family day.
I grew up with a fairly large extended family who regularly got together to celebrate birthdays, events, and random meals together. I hope that our family will be like that – and in a different season – be able to be with our extended family regularly once again.
On this particular birthday, we packed up the diaper bag, threw the stroller in the trunk, and went into the city for a big day. We forgot our umbrella and close-toed shoes. And it rained buckets and cats and frogs. In the end that worked out perfectly because the birthday girl spotted an umbrella she liked and walked around carrying her own umbrella “like the people.”
3. Go have an adventure.
Whether it’s a sporting event, a trip to the aquarium or zoo, the beach, a picnic, etc. I believe taking children somewhere out of the norm is a great way to celebrate a special day. It’s not every day we go into the city so it was special to eat hot cross buns in the car seats and take a walk along the harbour. In place of a party you can travel and make memories outside the home.
Think back to your own childhood. Out of all of your parties, how many do you actually remember? I think we should feel less stressed to create a huge successful themed party worthy of Disney. If we love it, go for it! If we don’t, find a new way!
4. Make little details of the day special.
I knew I wanted her to look special on her birthday so I got her a cute crown, sewed a 3 on her t-shirt (or should I say ironed it on…), and gave her a tutu. She’s been talking about ballerinas lately so this felt fitting and fun. We ate something special for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We just focused on having a day free of the normal things in life. After all, a change is as good as a vacation.
5. Skype with family or friends if they’re far away.
We are so used to Skyping that every time the computer gets opened my kids run over yelling “nana” or “granny and grandad.” For holidays when family members aren’t present, we’ll save the presents or cards and let the children open them over Skype. It helps everyone feel a little more connected. It is special to have someone thousands of miles away sing Happy Birthday to you! While it is not the same a real life contact, it is most definitely better than a simple phone call.
Next month Jiggy turns 2 so we’ll be at it again with another fun day out. Maybe it’ll be the zoo or a playland, but either way, it’s okay if we don’t have a party. It’s okay if birthdays take on a different look to the norm. The point of a birthday is to celebrate life, so let’s get to it!
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