Living simply in the wild

Ways To Make a Child Feel Special: 12 Ideas for Birthdays

I’ve spent weeks on planning and prepping to make the Juniors birthday parties amazing.  Always thrifty and homemade…but amazing.

  • Spending two days making a birthday cake that looked like a bath tub for a rubber ducky party.
  • Tying cotton balls on the tree one by one to make it look like bubbles floating in the air.
  • Custom making and ordering handmade invites
  • Making matching shirts for the boys for a Thing 1 and Thing 2 birthday.
  • Making up and creating games to play.
  • Scouring 6 stores in order to find the exact color of cotton candy needed.

I spent a ton of energy on the party. Through the years we all become a little smarter. I’ve learned that while birthday parties are fun and great, there not something that the boys will ever probably hold near and dear to their hearts.

Thinking back to your birthdays as a child…do you remember the gifts you received or the party decor? Or do you remember things people did…the way you felt…people making you feel special?

I’ve given up the themed parties. I probably won’t give up the homemade cakes. Their cheesy and awful and incredibly homemade…but their fun. They give a touch that says ‘I’m trying really hard’ to them. Now I’m concentrating my energy on making the child feel incredibly special on their day instead of making a Party look incredibly special.

Ways To Make a Child Feel Special: 12 Ideas for Birthdays

Ways To Make a Child Feel Special: 12 Ideas for Birthdays

Here’s what we do:

1. Let them pick all meals of the day

Special pancakes, oatmeal, a cereal that you always say “No” to (think Lucky Charms or Cookie Crisp). Funny faced pizzas for lunch. Chicken Nuggets and Fries for supper. One day of junk won’t kill them, throw in some veggies and fruit for good measure.

2. Let them choose their treat

Maybe they want Apply Pie or Cookies instead of Birthday Cake. Let them pick and help make it. Of course you must let them lick the bowl!

3. Wake up feeling special

Fill their bedroom with balloons while their sleeping. Hang streamers from their doorway. Put up banners, and decorations around the house.

4. Call them ‘Birthday Boy/Girl’ every time you see them.

5. If they were born during daytime hours have a countdown and celebrate the minute they turn over to the next age.

6. Say “Yes”. To everything.

All day long. Within reason of course.

7. Play with them. Limit screen time and play.

Your emails aren’t going anywhere, I promise.

8.  Let them pick the bedtime story

…and read it. Every. Single. Word. You thought you were the only bad parent who skips words or pages? Not a chance. Maybe make a trip to the library for a new book.

9. Make bath time fun!

Overflowing bubbles. Glow sticks. Balloons. Dying the water. Hiding toys inside balloons. Having water balloons filled with different colored water (think blue bath water, yellow water balloon water=green bath water).

10. Look through their baby pictures and videos.

Oooo and aaaaah over them.

11. Give them special privileges they don’t normally get.

For us it is letting them have some video game time and letting them stay up a 1/2 hour later.

12.  Excuse them from normal chores all day.

The family gets to ‘wait’ on them. Deliver their food, clear their dishes from the table etc…


Focusing on making the child feel special is way less stressful then planning and creating a special party. Parties are fun and great but we’re choosing to focus on the child now rather then a party. We will still have parties…but spending more energy and attention on the party rather then child will not be happening again.

Do you do anything unusual to celebrate birthdays? We’d love some more ideas.


One response

  1. What a great birthday and getting down to what truly matters!!! LOVE IT! Wish I was there for the cake!

    February 25, 2014 at 9:59 am

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