The first couple birthday celebrations, it’s really more about you than them. So go nuts with a whole dog and pony show – and we don’t mean that metaphorically, we’re talking about an actual petting zoo in your backyard – or just order pizza and enjoy not doing that.
Because somewhere around the 3rd birthday, your child gets it: Birthdays are all about ME (and presents and cake)!
It’s the perfect time to institute some simple birthday traditions that aren’t so things-focused… and truly say we love you kiddo! year after year. These are the big things they’ll be excited to pass down to their kids.
3, 2, 1
Once they understand the idea of a birthday, it seems all they ever ask is “wait, when’s my birthday?” Answer with a countdown chain. Thirty days out from the big day, create a paper link chain with one link for every day. Every morning invite your kiddo to tear off a paper link and count how many links/days are left. Bam! Educational, informative, and they get disproportionately gleeful when it’s time to rip the day’s link.
Channel David Letterman
Everybody loves a top 10 list – including 5-year olds. The night before the big day, tear a long scroll from the easel paper, borrow a mix of the most colorful magic markers, and get busy crafting a list just for them (think top FIVE reasons we love Olivia – one reason for every year). We tape the completed list to the front of our child’s bedroom door to discover in the morning.
Call On Your Inner Barbara Walters
In a quiet moment before the birthday celebration, sit down with your little guy and ask a series of hard-hitting questions: What’s your favorite food? Who’s your best friend? What’s your favorite book? Record their answers via video or make a book and stash away in a memory box. Repeat every year and watch your kid grow up and change before your eyes. Cue the tissues.
Ain’t No Party Like a Breakfast Party
Nothing says good morning birthday girl like rainbow pancakes. For more party, string steamers across the back of the chair, put a paper crown next to the OJ, stick a candle in the short stack, and get the day started.
Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs
While she’s getting her beauty rest, plaster your house in birthday signs. We make ours rhyme with the age: “Love you to the core. You are FOUR.” “Jump and jive. It’s great to be FIVE.” The sillier and more nonsensical, the better. Bonus: If you have a driveway or walkway, use sidewalk chalk and extend the silly birthday wishes outside.
Be The Yes Man
Make the birthday a “Yes” day. In other words, mom and dad cannot say no to requests (within reason, of course). The joy this gives our kids (and believe it or not, us) is hard to describe. Go ahead, throw out the rules, if only for a day.