The Covid_19 pandemic has cast a long shadow on how we socialise and it’s fair to say that many occasions will be celebrated differently for a long time to come.
Birthdays and other milestones are hugely important in terms of helping children feel connected to their community.
However, if you or your child are in a vulnerable group, have an underlying condition or want to protect someone who does, it’s okay to keep observing a level of social distancing.
If you’ve been wracking your brains trying to think of what to do, here are several ways to make your child’s big day special and safe.
1. Organise a virtual birthday party
Get in touch with your child’s grandparents, best friends and anyone else you think they would like to see on their birthday to arrange a special (albeit virtual) celebration.
Setting up a video call for your child’s birthday will help them feel more connected to their community, at a time when we must remain physically apart.
Even better, set a theme for the party. Whether it’s a pizza party or a fancy dress competition, your child will love seeing their family and friends joining them in celebration.
If your child is younger, a video call with all their friends and family might be a bit overwhelming. Instead, you can ask invitees to record a short video message.
2. Get crafty in the kitchen
This year, let your child choose their birthday menu and invite them to help out in the kitchen.
Find some fun recipes online and create something delicious together, such as easy marshmallow pops or a more adventurous vegan cake.
3. Stay connected offline
Try pairing virtual activities with some offline surprises too. Ahead of the big day, consider arranging a “drive-by” party, where a limited number of your child’s friends can drive past your home with signs and birthday wishes.
Another surprise for your child could be asking friends and family to send messages, small gifts and cards in the post.
Receiving objects and letters will be an exciting addition to your child’s birthday celebrations, and is a physical reminder of how much they’re appreciated.
4. Decorate the house
Since we can’t spend time and money organizing gatherings, why not go all-out on birthday decorations for your home?
Balloons and banners are a great start, but getting your child involved in crafting their own perfect birthday is even better.
Does your child love mermaids? Let your child turn their bedroom into an underwater kingdom. Would they prefer to be an astronaut? Work together to make their playroom look like the surface of a distant planet. If you need some inspiration, check out websites like Pinterest.
Of course, take lots of photos of your creations and share them with friends and family.
5. Create your very own home cinema
If your child is a budding film buff, find ways to recreate the magic of cinema at home.
Hang a white bedsheet on the wall, buy or borrow a projector, grab some popcorn and put on their favourite film.
If you want to get friends and family involved, set up a watch party by using Teleparty or simply by setting up a Zoom call so everyone can chat while watching.