Social distancing has made it impossible to throw parties, but that doesn’t mean you child’s birthday can’t be memorable! Here are some things we did to ensure that our four-year-old had a great time on her birthday—despite being under lockdown!
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Our eldest turned four this week! It seems like just yesterday she was a tiny baby, yet somehow she’s now out of diapers, talking, counting, dressing herself, and starting school in less than a year and a half. It’s amazing how far she’s come in only a few short years!
She’s been really excited about her upcoming birthday and was looking forward to having a party with other kids to celebrate. Obviously, that’s not likely to happen anytime soon. But even though we can’t have a party for her at the moment, we wanted to make sure her birthday was special.
If you’re also on lockdown and looking for ways to give your child a memorable birthday, here are a few of the things we did to make that happen!
1. Spend Time Together
This pandemic has been hard on everyone.
A lot of parents are having to juggle caring for their children and working from home. Others have been laid off and aren’t sure how they’re going to make ends meet. Others still are putting themselves at risk by working on the frontlines to provide essential services.
These are stressful times, and not knowing how long all of this is going to last only makes matters worse.
If you’re feeling stressed out, the likelihood is that your child is too. Perhaps family downtime has been placed on the back burner temporarily as you try to balance all of your obligations.
Whatever your situation, if it’s your child’s birthday, consider putting other things aside so you can spend time together as a family. Your child is probably missing all the friends and relatives they usually spend time with, so turning their birthday into a family day will help them feel reassured and might give you a much-needed break as well.
If you can’t put things on hold for an entire day, set aside whatever time you can, even if it’s only a couple of hours. Alternatively, you could pick a day where you’ll have more time (for instance, on the weekend when you would have been throwing your child a party) and celebrate on that day instead.
2. Break Your Routine
One of the main ways we tried to mark the occasion was by setting the day apart with activities we don’t do all the time. Even though we weren’t throwing a party, we wanted to make sure that our daughter’s birthday didn’t blend in with every other day of the lockdown.
Consider making pancakes for breakfast, throwing a pyjama party, having a family movie night, or doing any other activity that your child enjoys and that doesn’t happen on a daily basis.
3. Keep Birthday Traditions Alive
You can’t have a birthday without cake, presents or whatever other traditions your family chooses to partake in! Do your best to keep these traditions alive so you child feels like they’re having a “regular” birthday in spite of the circumstances.
And if you can’t carry out certain traditions due to the lockdown, try to think outside the box! If your child is the right age, why not let some stuffed animals sit at the table with you while you’re having cake so it feels like you’re having a small party?
Who knows, maybe the creative ideas you come up with during lockdown will become long-standing traditions once this is all over!
4. Take Pictures
Just because you’re not throwing a party doesn’t mean you shouldn’t immortalize your child’s special day! Take as many pictures as you normally would so your child feels that this birthday is just as important as all the others, even though they’re not spending it the same way they normally would.
The pictures will give you all something to remember, and you and your child will be able to share them with friends and family who weren’t able to celebrate with you in person!
5. Let Your Child Call the Shots
Being four years old and very strong-willed, our daughter likes to make her own decisions. So, for her birthday, we decided to put her in charge.
She loved the chance to choose all of her favourite activities, including simple things like blowing bubbles and watching a TV show with her younger sister. She even decided what we should cook for supper and what kind of cake we should make.
If your child loves to make decisions too, consider making their day memorable by letting them call all the shots (within reason)!
6. Use Technology to Stay in Contact
Even if you spend the entire day together, your child will probably still miss all the other people they usually spend time with. Thankfully, today’s technology helps us maintain contact with friends and family that we can’t see in person.
I’ve heard of some people using video conferencing to sing Happy Birthday while blowing out the candles. We decided to take a different approach. Instead of calling everyone at once when it was time to have cake, we spaced out calls from friends and relatives so they occurred at various points throughout the day.
This allowed our daughter to have quality interactions with each person who called her and gave her something to look forward to all day. Several of the relatives who called lit a candle and asked our daughter to “blow it out” through the screen, which she very much enjoyed.
And if your relatives live nearby, perhaps they might consider driving by your house with a sign in their car window wishing your child a happy birthday. Our daughter’s great-uncle surprised us all by doing this, and she loved it!
7. Plan a Party for Another Day
You may not be able to throw your child a party right away, but nothing’s stopping you from throwing one once you’re no longer on lockdown. You can even involve your child in planning it so they’ll have something to look forward to.
Give the lockdown a positive spin by pointing out to your child that they get to celebrate their birthday twice—once with their immediate family, and once more with their extended family and friends once the restrictions are lifted!
I hope these tips can help you make your little one’s birthday special in spite of the circumstances! Our four-year-old had a great time and is looking forward to having a bigger party when this is all over.
If you have any other tips for celebrating a child’s birthday during lockdown, I’d love to hear about them in the comment section!