We wish we could look forward to anything in life the same way a child looks forward to their birthday. The excitement on their face, the way they can’t sleep at night, how much they can’t wait to see their cake, or their friends, or what you have got them, or what you have planned, or just the fact they get to wear a badge that proudly displays that this is their day and nobody else. It is the most infectious type of euphoria we have ever experienced.
The problem is, this total elation that bursts out of them like sweets from a pinata really heaps the pressure on us parents. They are so excited about this day and it is our duty to make sure that it somehow exceeds all expectations (knowing that we are setting the bar dauntingly high next year, and all the years after that).
But no matter how hard we try to do something special, we always have that niggling feeling at the back of our heart that says we need to do more. We think back to our own childhood birthday’s, think how hard our own mum’s worked to supersede our imaginations and then try and work out how we can achieve the same thing, but on steroids.
The thing that probably stands out more than anything, though, is the fact your parents always made every part of that day about you. You’ve probably forgotten what you did, who was there, what sort of cake you had, how many candles there were and the fact you got to tear the wrapping paper off Disney Princess mystery box and fawn over it with momentary joy. All of these details seem to fall away. What lasts a lifetime is that feeling of excitement, and that is exactly what we are going to try and help you take to another level because we have come up with a list of ways you can keep the surprises coming and the feeling of joy bubbling away like a pan of custard left on the hob.
This is your kid’s birthday and it is going to be the best birthday yet!
- Make The Build Up As Exciting As Possible
Your kid is going to be naturally excited by their birthday, but that doesn’t mean you can’t fuel that gorgeous little fire a little bit more. As we’ve established, the excitable thing is the best part, so latch onto this and have a countdown that lasts the entire week leading up to their big day. Have a black board in the kitchen that counts down or a calendar where they can mark the days off with a big, fat, red pen. Maybe have a bouquet of ten balloons, and let them take one away every morning. It doesn’t even have to be a countdown if you don’t want. It could be a series of clues, each clue leading them to another until they finally discover their stash of presents you’ve hidden somewhere genius. Whatever you think will get their excitement boiling over, do it. Your kid will love this as much as their actual birthday.
- Nothing Beats A Birthday Breakfast
Every child has a favorite breakfast, that thing usually only reserved for special occasions. Well, whatever it is, make it with sprinkles. Literally. If your kid hasn’t got a favorite, know that you cannot go wrong with the smile-inducing classics. We’re talking a stack of pancakes (covered in sprinkles) or a breakfast milkshake (with extra sprinkles) or a pile of waffles (yes, with sprinkles). Anything that can be deemed fun and special and worthy of the best birthday breakfast ever. Oh, and if you can, try and add a candle or ten just to add to the joviality that much more.
- Decorate The House While They Are Sleeping
Nothing beats that moment where you wake up, rub your eyes, stretch out your arms and legs, ponder the world for a moment and then suddenly remember that it’s your birthday, motivating you to jump up and run downstairs to find the whole house has been decorating in your honor. So go utterly crazy on this front. Buy a selection of shirts for the birthday boy and lay them out for them to choose a birthday outfit from. Hang up streamers and balloons and banners. Get pictures of their life up to now printed out and stick them all over the place. Write birthday messages on the mirror in the bathroom. Absolutely everything and anything you can think and, remember, the wilder your ideas the better. Get all creative on this birthday.
- Decorate Your Car Too
There is nothing that will make your kid feel like their birthday is 100% their day than having random people and passersby celebrate it with them. They kind of expect you to celebrate it with them, but they do not expect everyone to get involved. That’s why you need to get yourself some colorful window marker and cover your glass in messages like, “Birthday Boy!” and “Ten Today!” And “Honk for Sam!” And anything else you want to add, like pictures of balloons and cakes and all that kind of jazz. Having people honk as they drive past will have your little one smiling and laughing, and it won’t get boring for any of you either. Every single beep of a car horn will fill your little world right up, which is just how it should be.
- Little Things Can Make A Big Difference
The little thing on their day is what makes all the difference. Things like declaring it a screen free day for their siblings and you, the parents, will ensure that all the focus is directed towards them, which is a nice feeling to have. If it is their birthday on a school day, then why not go the extra mile and wrap every single item in their lunch box in birthday wrapping paper, while also throwing in a couple of balloons and party poppers and that sort of thing. Measure them too. Every kid wants to see how much they have grown since their last birthday, so make sure you have a wall chart you can add to, or start. Make this a new tradition in which to follow because, for them, every birthday is proof of how much bigger they are, and they will want to see that first hand. These are all little things, minuscule and minute things that can go easily unnoticed, but they are things that will make all the difference.
- A Very Special Meal Out
Go to your child’s favorite restaurant, or to that place that will completely blow their mind because it is more than just food on a plate, it is an experience that will totally blow their mind. This could be somewhere you have heard people rave about, or it could be somewhere you stumbled across in a local magazine, either way, indulge their childish fantasies. Just remember to call ahead and let the restaurant know that it is your kid’s birthday. Like we said with the whole decorating your car thing, the more strangers that celebrate their birthday with them the more special and unique it is going to feel, and nothing says that like a restaurant full of strangers singing happy birthday to you while sliding a cake you didn’t expect onto the table in front of you. This is what magic looks and feels like. These are the things that will stay with them for a lot longer than presents.
- Get All Creative With This Day
We’re not just talking about arts and crafts here, although yes, please do indulge this side of things too. Make a special (non-alcoholic) cocktail or smoothie with them that they can get involved with, and let them name it. Maybe even add the recipe to a book of your creation, one that you can add to at every special occasion. It could be that you make a birthday crown with them too, something they can wear all day and attract calls of “happy birthday” from people everywhere they go. The other type of creative we were alluding to, however, was to do with memories. Set up a special interview with them. Have a video camera and ask them questions while filming, things that will make them smile and laugh years down the line, maybe even prove they were right about their hopes and dreams and aspirations. We live in a world where we can document things like never before, and these will be cherished in time. It doesn’t even have to be a video interview, though. It could be a written one, with you tucking the paper into their memory box to open on their 21st.
Making your child’s birthday is all about building their excitement, devoting every part of this day to their happiness and creating memories that will easily outlast the toys that you give them. Of course, the presents are an important aspect, but it is the feeling of this being their day that will make them happiest of all. So get your thinking cap on and think outside the box a little. There are ways to build their glee that you have never thought about, and it is up to you to exploit these.