What’s the earliest birthday you remember? For me it was my sixth birthday, made memorable by the huge long table that my Mother set out in the hallway at home. It ran the full length of the room with a white tablecloth, seated all of my school friends with their homemade sandwiches and seemed enormous.
It really wasn’t, but it seemed that way when I was 6.
I always had party on my birthday, no matter what. I never really went in for presents, but I always had a party and they definitely stuck with me much more than many of the toys I had as a child.
Birthday parties were a little tradition. Not a particularly exciting or unique tradition, but still.
They definitely made me encourage my own children to pick parties over presents every year. I know they’ll remember the people and the parties, whereas for me, memories of things fade fast.
Having a birthday tradition in some form is a great idea.
It prompts you do actually do something, rather than allowing the date to slip by.
It can make the day easier to plan, give you something to look forward to and definitely does help to make the day memorable.
With birthdays being such an important occasion, it makes sense to combine them with inventing a tradition of some kind. That way, you’re almost guaranteed to give your children special memories that last a lifetime.
FYI. It’s usually a good idea to start early with birthday traditions. If you start too late, these things can seem contrived and fizzle out fast - and that’s exactly what you don’t want to happen.
Looking for ideas? Here’s a few thoughts to get you started.
Something sweet to keep - put a note under their pillow
On the eve of each birthday night, or first thing in the morning (this guarantees a higher success rate), slip a note under your child’s pillow. You can write anything you like here, but words such as “I love you” will be remembered.
I’m a massive fan of affirmation cards. These would work incredibly well and there’s plenty of ideas for these online if you’re stuck for inspiration.
A grand entrance - decorate your child’s bedroom doorway
It’s your child’s big day, and nothing beats a grand entrance! Decorate your child’s bedroom doorway with confetti and bunting - maybe even their favourite superheroes and Disney characters.
It’ll be there when they wake up and still there when they go back to bed in the evening. There’s absolutely no reason at all why it can’t stay there all week.
Do it every year and don’t forget the balloons.
A great way to start the day - Make their favourite breakfast
Whether it’s bacon and eggs, pancakes with syrup or chocolate cake and milk, nothing beats a tasty birthday breakfast. Birthdays only come around once a year so don’t be afraid to treat your little one to something - even if it’s not that healthy.
A little of what you fancy does you good (and all that).
Something magical - send and receive a special birthday letter
To a child, their favourite movie characters, television characters, or whoever they’re currently into are really special. Be it Disney’s Elsa, Tinkerbell, Peppa Pig or Pikachu. Whoever the current obsession is, you can make your child’s day super-memorable by writing a letter from them to your child.
Find a free template online, think carefully about the words, remember to post it out in good time and make sure it ends up it in their morning pile of birthday cards.
Become the hero - dress up to surprise your little one spectacularly
If you’re not afraid to dress up, become their favourite character for an hour or so. If you are afraid, ask a friend, relative or considering hiring them!
If your child is very young, chances are they’ll be so excited, they won’t recognise a family member dressing up. Feel free to dress up as anyone.
Even is the costume isn’t very convincing, from Spiderman to Ariel the Mermaid, your little one will adore the occasion and always remember it.
Create adventure – hide your child’s presents and have them scavenge
This one only really works if your child is going to get a few presents. I’m taking a leaf out of the Easter Bunny book for this one. Hide a few of your child’s presents around the house or in the garden. You can leave special clues for them, notes, directions and even claim the presents were hidden by a fairy, pirate or magical birthday treasure hunter.
This has the added bonus that it’ll keep them busy and entertained for a while. After all, who doesn’t like a good treasure hunt or game of hide and seek?
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