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On our way up the stairs, we noticed that Sophia had been a busy bee after bedtime last night, creating a special birthday trail of love for her big sister. My heart always melts to see my children doing nice things for one another, but I especially love how they want to make each other's birthday celebrations meaningful.
Seriously, how sweet is that? She had made about 30 little notes for Bria trailing down the hall and all the way downstairs.
As it turned out, we didn't even get to give our early bird breakfast in bed because she was already up and showered and blow drying her hair. So she got breakfast in the bathroom instead, which is slightly less exciting, but she was happy to have her birthday acknowledged so early in the morning.
I also texted her seminary teacher to make sure that she knew it was Bria's birthday, hoping she would have the class sing or something. I knew I could count on her friends to make a big deal over her at school, and they did not disappoint. She arrived to a decorated locker filled up with balloons. You can always count on teenage girls to celebrate birthdays in style!
Nothing makes a home happier than a birthday celebrated in style.
It's so important for our kids to feel loved and celebrated on their birthdays. I realized today that we don't really have many set in stone birthday traditions—unlike other holiday traditions—but I do try to do whatever I can to focus on the birthday girl on her special day. Maybe most of them haven't made tradition status because I like to keep the surprise element there for birthdays! Gotta keep the kids on their toes, right?
8 Ways To Really Celebrate Your Kid's BirthdayEveryone expects birthday cake and gifts, and probably even a party with their friends. Those are all fine and good, but I love to help my child feel really special on that one day each year. They still get their cake and presents and sometimes a party, but the things that make them feel really special are much more personal than that.
1. Tell them all about the day they were born—in just enough gory detail.
I love The Gilmore Girls, and I love how Lorelai Gilmore would go sit on Rory's bed in the middle of the night at the exact time of her birth and tell her the story of her entry into the world. None of my kids were born in the middle of the night, but it's fun to wait for the clock to turn to the exact minute they were born and wish them an official happy birthday. Some of my girls are more into knowing about their birth stories than others, but it's still fun to tell bits and pieces if they'll listen. It's also really fun to look at their scrapbooks and see photos of them in the hospital all cute and wrinkly and brand new.
2. Put notes all over the house.
Growing up, my best friend's family used to put a big poster in the kitchen on birthdays. Everyone would write qualities they admired in the family member who was celebrating that day. I was always impressed with just how many things they could come up with! Again, I haven't made this a tradition of my own, but I have done it here and there.
You can also put sticky notes all over with cute little notes or stories about the birthday child. You can even hide them in their school things so they'll get a little surprise and smile at school, too. Sophia obviously took the reins on that one today—she'll be a great birthday mom someday!
3. Spread the word!
You all know how you feel getting all the Happy Birthday messages on Facebook. It's crazy! I want to do that kind of flooding for my kids, even though they aren't on Facebook. My mom always texts everyone in the family when it's someone's birthday. She even includes their phone number in these texts and reminds everyone to call. She did not disappoint today, and when I picked Bria up from cross country practice she excitedly told me how her uncles and cousins had texted her. One of her cousins even called her to talk for a while! She felt special, and even though she knew that her grandma sends reminders, the texts and calls still meant a ton to her.
I texted her as much as I could throughout the day, too. Oh, and I did let the seminary teacher know, remember?
4. Fill the birthday girl's bedroom with balloons.
I do this sometimes, especially when the kids are younger. Nothing is more fun than waking up on your birthday to a bunch of balloons everywhere! There are so many fun kinds of balloons that you can easily get the perfect ones for your child. I got these leopard print balloons for my animal-loving Sophia, and Chloe would love these fun music note balloons. For the next time I do this, I want to try these clear balloons and fill them with some fun confetti circles. The possibilities are endless with balloons, but the easiest thing is to just grab a package of them next time you are at the store. Your kids will love waking up surrounded by balloons.
5. Serve them a special birthday breakfast in bed—complete with candles.
Hopefully you don't have to wake up as early as The Maestro and I had to this morning in order to accomplish this task! This is one that actually is a tradition in our house, and Sophia will diligently wait in bed until her breakfast is brought up to her. Hers is a summer birthday and she's the early bird of the house, but on her birthday she stubbornly stays in bed until we are ready to pamper her!
We have a special breakfast-in-bed tray like this one used for all special occasions warranting breakfast in bed, but it's mostly used for birthdays. And I think fun candles like these ones with colored flames or these star birthday candles stuck into their pancakes or muffin are the perfect finishing and very special touch!
6. Let them skip some school for a special date with you.
I worked all day today, and the little bit of time off I had was spent making the German Chocolate cake Bria had requested, so I didn't get to do this today. (Yes, that's her actual birthday cake in the photo up top.) But it's something to do sometimes. There's nothing better than a surprise check-out of school, right? Especially if you get to go to your favorite restaurant with your mom—and if you're lucky, your dad, too.
7. Make their favorite meal for dinner.
If you read this blog at all you know I'm not a big fan of cooking dinner. That's The Maestro's job. I enjoy baking, but cooking is not my favorite. So it makes me smile that my girls almost always request my famous chicken enchiladas—the one meal I enjoy making—for their birthdays.
We are extending Bria's birthday celebration to Friday when she will get her enchiladas. Tuesday night is orchestra rehearsal, so The Maestro doesn't usually eat with us. The next few evenings are taken up with all of the girls' many activities, so Friday it is. Which is special in and of itself.
8. Don't forget the super traditional stuff.
You do have to have a cake and candles. And you have to have presents. It's all part of the package. But hopefully everything else you've done throughout the day has made them feel so special they could almost go without blowing out the candles.
What Birthday traditions do you have for your kids?
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This post is part of my 31 Days to a Happier Home series.
To see all the posts in this series, click here: 31 Days to a Happier Home
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