Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Tips For Celebrating Your Kids Birthdays During Lockdown

If your kids are anything at all like mine, then no doubt they countdown the days until their birthday from the moment that Christmas is over! That first part of the year is always filled with lots of planning and prep for the celebrations - from booking entertainers to finding gorgeous party decor like the ones I came across from Dallas Flower Wall Rental.

All three of my children have their birthdays within 6 weeks of each other (Yep, pretty poor planning on my part!) starting from mid-February.

Luckily for my youngest son, his 12th February birthday was celebrated before the world went a little crazy - but my oldest two had their much-anticipated birthdays fall during the middle of lockdown.

We could never have imagined this when we first started planning the festivities a couple of months back which meant that lots of plans had to be undone.

We'd already sent out invitations for a Battlefield Live laser battle session for my eldest and a cute Aladdin themed birthday tea party complete with visit from Princess Jasmine for my middle child.

We had to contact friends to cancel, pause the bookings, and cancel the custom made cakes we'd ordered for them - and then figure out how to still make not one, but TWO birthdays (4 days apart!) special while isolated at home.

Honestly, I sort of dreaded the birthdays coming around and I felt constantly sad throughout the days themselves - thinking of all we should have been doing, and the family and friends we should have been with - and I think it's important to let your children AND yourself feel those emotions if they come up.

We're always reminded to count our blessings in times like these -  and of course in the grand scheme of the chaos in the world right now, a downplayed birthday is the most minimal of inconveniences - but I think it's important that we don't try to push feelings of sadness or disappointment down inside ourselves. Sometimes emotions need to be felt in order to be processed in a healthy way. It's ok to feel sad if we're missing the people we'd usually celebrate with, it's ok to feel disappointment that things aren't the way we'd planned or hoped for.

This isn't a case of being spoiled or ungrateful for all we do have, it's simply a natural human emotion and one that we shouldn't feel shame for.

Having said that - I have to admit that the feelings of sadness seemed to be purely my own, as both of the kids said that their birthdays ended up being their favourite ones yet.

Where they saying that just to make me feel better? Maybe, but I doubt it. I actually think that perhaps there's a lesson in all of this for me - that maybe all of the lavish parties and extra fuss that I think makes a birthday great for little ones isn't actually necessary after all.

So having successfully managed two lockdown birthdays, I thought I'd share some of the things we did to mark the occasions and make them special.

Get Favourite Foods In & Make Special Breakfasts/Dinners

We're currently only allowed to go to do our Essentials grocery shop once per week here in the UK and many supermarkets have been facing shortages of stock, so this can be tricky but we added some dinner and breakfast favourites of each child to our shopping list for that week and were lucky enough to find the items we wanted in stock.

This meant a breakfast in bed of Nutella pancakes and strawberries for Noa along with a dinner of chicken unicorns and chips! And for our eldest son Tyne, it meant pizza for dinner.

We also got in things like sausage rolls, cocktails sausages, fairy cakes and popcorn to do a party style lunch for each of the kids too - I'd already ordered their party plates and tablecloths before this all started so we set the table ready for their "party" which helped to make it feel more special.

In a lot of places, there are still takeaway and food delivery companies running so this could be something to consider to make it a bit more of a treat too - we had ice cream sundaes delivered from a local ice cream parlour on Tyne's birthday evening.

Indulge In Favourite Activities

I racked my brains for the week running up to the birthdays to think about what sort of things each of the kids love most, and how we could incorporate that into a fun birthday activity.

Tyne is a big fan of video games and nerf guns - so for him we came up with a family Wii battle, and the idea of setting up a Nerf target shooting course around the house as well as a family nerf war!

For Noa, she's all about make up and makeovers - so we decided to set up a make up and nail station, and have a bit of an at-home pamper session.

Whatever your child's interest, there is most likely a way to make their day by turning this into a family activity for their birthday.

Have A Create & Keep Party

For Tyne's birthday, I managed to get hold of a really handy Teddy Bear Making set which included not one but THREE teddy bears to make! Ideal for my 3 little ones!

We set up the table for the bear making party, and each of the kids got to pick which bear they wanted, stuff it, sew it up, put its ribbon on and complete its birth certificate - just like they would do at Build A Bear!

They were absolutely delighted with their special teddy bears, and it kept them entertained for the best part of an hour too.

We got our teddy bear making kit from a local Toymaster toy shop who are still running deliveries in the local area, so it's worth checking social media to see if your local toy shop is offering the same service.

This was the set that we used:

If teddy bears aren't your little ones thing, you could try a bath bomb making party, chocolate lolly making or anything else you can get hold of a set for. You could even do fairy cake decorating or making your own chocolate bars which can be easily done without needing a special kit.

Play Traditional Party Games

For Noa's birthday, we decided to do all of the traditional party games that we would have played at her tea party with her friends - as there are three children here, it makes playing games much easier and more party-like which helps but Mums & Dads could also join in if need be.

We played Pass The Parcel, Pin The Tail On The Donkey, Musical Chairs, and Musical Statues - you could also do a treasure hunt around the house for chocolate coins or treats, play a game of Limbo using a broom handle, or play musical bumps.

We also finished up with a Mini Disco and a little Best Dancer competition which the kids always love!

Facetime Family & Friends For Happy Birthday

Of course, a birthday wouldn't be complete without a birthday cake (we made sure to get candles when we did our essentials shop too!) and so when it was time to sing Happy Birthday, we Facetimed family members so that they could join in too.

I just hope the kids wished for an end to quarantine soon!!!

All things considered, their birthdays were certainly different this year but I think we managed to make the most of a bad situation - the main thing is that the kids had fun.

If you want some ideas for ways to celebrate a birthday isolation-style, check out this great article from Toddle.

Hope this post was helpful, and that you enjoy your celebrations.

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