Right now, most of us are limiting our socializing, and spending most of our time at home. We have had lots of cancellations because of social distancing, and it leaves me feeling sad for all the kids who don't get to have their birthday parties as planned. It also makes me think of all the other reasons people may not be able to throw a big birthday party for their child. Although they will not have the Gamers Fun Truck pull up in front of their house, and all their friends arrive to share in the fun and excitement, there are still ways to make birthdays special in a time when big parties and events are not possible.
1. Decorate! Make this a family activity, maybe even including the birthday child in the fun of it. Find unused party items you've saved, even if they are all different colours and themes. If you don't have any leftover decorations handy, make chain streamers out of colored paper, newspaper, magazine pages. Be creative and find things around your home to use to make the birthday space feel special.
2. Food! Order (or make) a special meal. Maybe you order the birthday child's favourite meal, or maybe you make it at home. Make sure its something they love, and don't get all the time. Set the table with fancy dishes and napkins. Sugar the rim of fancy glasses, and fill them with slushy made in your blender with ice and juice, or chocolate milk. (If you sugar the rim of regular glasses, your kids will think its amazing!)
3. Cake! Nothing new here, just make a cake, or the birthday child's favorite dessert. My kids always liked to help with the baking, because then they could lick the bowl after. You don't have to be a cake master, just make something that tastes delicious and it will be perfect.
4. Fun! So, no Gamers Fun Truck, or trampoline place, or even friends coming over. You can still have fun! Play board games, make music, watch a movie, play video games with the kids, make a craft, dance, sing, dress up, anything that your kids love to do. We used to have pajama parties. Everyone put on their favourite pajamas early in the evening, and each time it would be one child's turn to choose. They got to pick the music we listened to, they got to choose a craft, a game, a movie, the snack food. It was really fun and made the child who was choosing feel really special.
5. Presents! Have each member of the family wrap up something for the birthday child, so it feels like they have a few things to open. These could be gifts you've ordered online, dollar store items, or things you've made for them. Another way to change their perspective a bit is to sit down at your computer with the birthday child, or whole family, and ask them to help you choose a charity to make a donation. Maybe its a society that provides birthday parties to less fortunate kids, or maybe its a local charity helping people get what they need during this crisis. Its a great opportunity to talk about how they are feeling about the situation, and who might have bigger needs than theirs.
Whatever you do to celebrate those birthdays during social distancing, I hope you find ways to make it special. Share your ideas int he comments! I know our kids will remember these birthdays that were unlike any other.