This month my baby turns 2! I can’t believe that it has been two years since she was born and turned our world upside down. She is delightfully excited about her birthday and we have been singing happy birthday each night.
Maggie Dent shares lots of information about making memories as a family and the importance of family rituals. I would encourage you to read some of her articles to understand why this is of such great importance to our children. (https://www.maggiedent.com/blog/making-memories-matter/ and https://www.maggiedent.com/blog/how-to-create-family-rituals-why-they-matter/).
Birthdays hold a lot of emotional significance to us, if you think back to your childhood it is likely that some of your strongest and best memories will be of celebrating with your family, special meals and gifts.
Working in different centres and interacting with many families over the years I have experienced many ways of celebrating and sharing birthdays. This has given me some great ideas that I would like to share with you (please know that we don’t do all of these!).
I love cake! Making it and eating it, birthdays are a great excuse to eat something delicious, either homemade or shop bought. As children get older it is great to get them involved in choosing and baking or decorating their cake.
Special Meals or Activities
Often birthdays fall on a work, school and daycare day but we can still make them special by choosing something to do in the morning or evening. For my daughter’s birthday we made pancakes for breakfast, went for a bike ride, and had fish and chips at the park for dinner.
There are lots of different types of parties you can have and I think simple is best! We are planning a pool party for the weekend (although rain is expected!). We’re keeping the food and decoration simple and want to focus on spending quality time with friends and family. As your child gets older they will enjoy helping to plan the party and can even be encouraged to think about a budget.
Everyone loves presents, there are lots of different philosophies on gift giving. A nice one I have heard is ‘something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read’. We haven’t stuck to this list but find it is a good guide, my daughter just loves opening presents so she got lots of practical gifts.
Cards, Letters and Video Messages!
Receiving mail is exciting and not something that children get to experience often, check the mailbox and opening her cards was a delight.
We also had friends and family who sent video messages.
We have decided to write a letter each year in a ‘birthday book’ so she will have a record of her birthdays as she grows up.
Celebrating half birthdays is an idea I have seen families do, this is great for children who are born around Christmas/New Years as their birthdays often get sucked up in the other celebrations. Marking the occasion 6 months after their birthday with a cake and small present is a nice way to recognise them.
Decorate the room
Some people love decorating and birthdays are a great time to release this creativity! Either putting up special decorations for the party or decorating their child’s room over night, children just seem to love balloons. Even now, days after my daughters birthday we still have balloons floating around the house.
We love you
This is one my family did growing up, when it was someone’s birthday we would go around the table, and everyone would take a turn sharing something they love about the birthday child.
Birthday Crown or Badge
A birthday crown or badge is a physical reminder that children can carry with them throughout the day. Birthdays can be hard to understand so children enjoy having something they can hold onto.
You can’t end a birthday without singing Happy Birthday! And there is a second verse as well.
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday dear (name)
Happy Birthday to you.
From good friends and true,
From old friends and new,
May good luck go with you,
And happiness too.
I’ve also come across this fun birthday cheer!
The Birthday Cheer
I don’t know but I’ve been told, Someone here is ____years old. Bad news is we sing off key! Good news is we sing for free! Happy (happy) Birthday (birthday) Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday!
We have had a lovely time celebrating my daughter’s birthday and we look forward to many more!