I like to make my children’s birthdays as special as possible. We don’t usually do big parties, although we may invite a few friends over to play and have cake and ice cream. Most years we end up doing two “celebrations” – the small event with their friends and then a family affair.
There are many ways to make the day special for your child by incorporating traditions that they will remember far longer than the gifts they receive.
Here are thirteen ideas to consider.
- Serve the family the birthday child’s favorite breakfast, lunch and supper. This one has become a custom at our house and the girls begin discussing weeks in advance what meals they are going to choose.
- Pull out their baby book, baby pictures and videos from when they were born and go through them as a family. How fun to look back and remember those first days of life!
- Put up special decorations in your child’s room for the day. You could use balloons, streamers, ribbon, a poster, even decorate their door with wrapping paper.
- Give them the day off from their chores. Let them skip making their bed, clearing their place at the table, folding clothes – whatever their daily responsibilities may be, allow them to be free from those on their birthday.
- In lieu of preparing their favorite meals, allow them to choose a favorite restaurant where the family can go to eat on their birthday. If every one’s schedule can accommodate, it might be fun (and a little less expensive) to have breakfast out together.
- Have them go on a treasure hunt to find their gifts. Hide the gifts around the house, then give them clues to lead them to the presents.
- Each year, take a picture in the same spot so that you can compare his/her growth from year to year. Alternatively, you could take their picture each year by a growth chart and mark the age and height. Then should you move, you will still have the same standard by which to measure.
- Have each family member (extended family as well, if you wish) write down a few sentences about the birthday child, put them all together, and give them to your child on their birthday.
- Allow them to stay up a little later that night. If it’s been a busy day, maybe allow them an extra fifteen minutes to play on their bed quietly with some of the gifts they may have received. Children who are a little older may enjoy getting a few extra moments of Dad’s and Mom’s time after everyone else is in bed.
- Have a special outfit set aside for the day. This could be one of their birthday presents or just a favorite outfit (even if it’s a frilly party dress) that they can wear on their birthday.
- Allow them to choose some family entertainment for the day/evening. It could be a game to play, a video to watch or heading to a favorite park or playground for a picnic.
- Show them pictures or tell them stories about when you were the age your child is now. I’m guessing older children may not be as interested in this idea, but my girls are at an age where they love to hear about what my life was like when I was younger.
- Tell your child how much you love him/her and how thankful you are that God gave them to your family. Let them know specific things you are proud of them for and ways you see them maturing. This is something we should do far more often than once a year, but we can certainly make sure we do it for them on this special day.
While you likely won’t use all of these ideas every year, you may want to add one or two of them into your planning for your child’s next birthday.
How do you celebrate your child’s special day?
[Originally posted March 25, 2009.]