Every year when I was a kid, my parents would let me choose where I wanted to eat dinner out for my birthday. Kids love to feel special, and it can be a challenge to find the time to come up with ways to make a birthday a knockout. Never fear! Below are 8 ideas for birthday traditions to start with your own kids. Pick and choose a few of them each year … and stick with the ones you and your birthday kid love!
- Rise and shine. I like to wake my kids up on their birthday with an extra-long snuggle and a story about the day they were born. Adopted and foster children can be told how they were meant to be brought into the family and how special they are.
- Personal letter. Every year I write a birthday letter to each of my children listing the great things they did, said and learned in the past year. I save a copy for myself and plan to give each child all their letters when they move out—so they’ll get somewhere between 18 and 30 letters.
- Birthday slideshow. With just a few clicks you can create a special slideshow just for your child. You can even add captions and music if you like. Be sure to save it so you and your child can always look back on it. (Grandparents love these too.)
- Annual photo. I try to take as many pictures as I can on birthdays and even make sure I’m included in some of them, since I’m the mom and all. I like to see how long I can get away with having the child pose the same way each year.
- Special meal. One of my kids loves the neighborhood restaurant where they sing “Happy Birthday” and are given a balloon to take home. Another is content heading to the local fast food indoor play area and grabbing bites of food in between trips down the slide.
- Sweet treat. We like to hit the cupcake restaurant or grab huge, frosted cookies from a local baker and share with our friends and neighbors. You could make your child’s favorite dessert at home: cookies, banana splits or ice cream sundaes are always a good bet.
- Party. If you get a few gray hairs every time you think of planning a birthday party, don’t fret. You could pull off a simple party at your place with just a few people, a bash at a park or a celebration where a local party place does all the work.
- Weekend sleepover (for kids over age 7). Warning: this one is not for the faint of heart! I suggest a maximum of three friends to stay the night at your house. Order pizza to make life easy, stream a few movies and have the kids set up their sleeping bags as far away from your bedroom as possible.
Kerrie McLoughlin is proud and kooky mom of five.