Simple Ways To Celebrate Your Child's Birthday

Birthdays are the best traditions ever invented. No matter how young or old, everyone deserves to feel extra loved and special on their birthday. Children even as young as 2 or 3, understand and anticipate their birthday. Before I had my kids, I was left in awe and slightly anxious when I attended children's’ birthday parties. It seemed like an insane amount of work. Attractive and enchanting themes, matching cutlery, décor, takeaways, entertainment, entertainers and elaborate party games were just some of the must-haves at a party. It definitely involved a lot of effort, time and money.

Looking back at my own childhood, I fondly remember the simple yet very memorable birthday parties we enjoyed. It never involved party themes or fancy décor but I can still remember how much fun they used to be. The joy of having some friends over, favourite kiddy snacks on the table and the flutters in my tummy on the short drive to pick up my birthday cake. Decades later, when my firstborn turned 3, in the weeks leading up to his birthday, even though it wasn’t the plan, the party somehow escalated from a simple evening with friends to a half-blown construction themed party. Gosh, when D day arrived, I was almost exhausted, running around like a headless chicken and there was complete chaos in the house and desperate attempts to label snacks in keeping with the party theme. But I had my ah-ha moment, when I realized my son barely cared about anything at all and almost all his excitement came through when the birthday cake was brought out, at the end. He’s 5 now and when we talk of his 3rd birthday, he only remembers his awesome dump truck cake. He honestly didn’t care much about the construction themed birthday banner or the labels on the takeaway bags.

If we can be brutally honest about it, the extravagant birthday affairs are not so much for the child than they are for the parents. It’s a “keeping up with the Joneses” kind of pressure and an attempt to master the DIY section on  Pinterest, both of which, rarely ever end well. Do kids really need big birthdays? From my own childhood and from watching my children, I have learnt, that it’s the simple things that make birthdays special for your child (and stress-free for the parents). It’s never too late to begin celebrating birthdays differently with a few special traditions. Here are some ideas we pick from and maybe you too will like an idea or two.

Simple ways to make your child feel extra special on their birthday

  1. Decorate your home. Balloons, a simple birthday banner and some fairy lights work like magic. Decorations don’t need to be fancy or expensive. Kids will love waking up to a room full of balloons or seeing them flying all over the house. Simple colourful streamers will add a pop of colour and we all know fairy lights just make everything more special. We like to keep our decorations on all week and let the balloons last as long as they can. 
  2. Birthday traditions: Kids love little traditions on their birthdays. It just adds to the charm. Keep them simple so they are easy to keep up with.  You can kick start the day with their special birthday breakfast ( It’s now waffles and whipped cream in our home). Other easy traditions you can keep up with are clicking a family picture, measuring your child's height on a wall marked for it, hiding their birthday presents for them to find or spending a few minutes looking at photos and videos of their younger selves. And of course, cake!
  3. Let them make the decisions: Our children don’t get to always choose everything for themselves. So on their birthdays, it’s nice to give them the choice within reasonable limits, of course. Let them have the privilege of deciding what they would like for dinner or how they would like to spend the day. You’ll be surprised with what they actually prioritize. My 2 year old wanted to play with lots of cats and so we did, spending the day at a cat shelter. Happiest baby and the best birthday. 
  4. The gift of giving: Birthdays are a great opportunity to be thankful for your blessings and think of people who don’t share the same privileges. Talk to your child about doing some charity and spreading some joy. You can take them shopping to pick up some gifts to give children at an orphanage. Maybe they can also give away some of their books and toys to other children in need ( this also helps makes space for all the new gifts they receive every birthday). Older kids might even consider celebrating their birthday at an old-age or destitute home. Give it a shot. Your child and the ones they choose to celebrate with, will both make a very memorable and special time of it.
  5. Birthday Interview: I found this idea on Pinterest. Yes, I know it seems ironic when the whole point of this blog was to stay off Pinterest. But how special does this sound? Not only does it give you a chance to know your little human better but will also be a great record of their favourites and likes over the years. Imagine what fun it will be to read them all over again when the kids are older. We've created a printable that you can use. You can do this a few days in advance too.
  6. Pamper them: We’d like to do a bit of this every day, but it may not always happen. Take the extra time to pamper your child on their birthday. Cuddle and squish them, read them that extra book at bedtime, give them the day off from chores and let them have extra playtime at the park. And if they want to have cake for breakfast the next day, maybe that could be a yes too?
  7. Write them a letter: Make a tradition of your own on your child’s birthday. I love writing my boys a letter on their birthdays. In the letter, I talk about the year that has been, the good, the achievements and the challenges they might have faced and overcome. It feels nice to include their current likes and dislikes, and when they were younger, I’d write the funny words they spoke when they couldn’t get all their sounds right. You can read them the letter and talk about it, but most of all, save it for later, for them to treasure when they are older. 

If you have been stressed about your child’s birthday celebrations in the past or if you’re just looking for some fun ways to celebrate their birthday, hope this blog has been helpful. As years go by and your children grow older, you can definitely add new traditions that they will relate to better. When they’re all grown up, they may not remember the little details from their birthdays but they’ll always remember the feeling of excitement and pampering that came with it.

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