Birthdays come and birthdays go. The years fly by in the twinkling of an eye when you have little ones to care for. And with all the hassle and organizing that is part and parcel of organizing a birthday do for your tiny tot(s), it’s often difficult for us parents to stop, take a breath, and just enjoy the moment, before it flashes us by.
Here are four meaningful and fun ways to find that breather for yourselves and your child. Make them a tradition for your family, to be repeated every time his birthday comes around, and you’ll be surprised how precious these times become many years down the road when you look back.
#1 Breakfast surprise
Surprise your child with breakfast in bed. Tie a helium balloon to the side of his bed, so he sees it when he wakes up. (You can even decorate his room while he sleeps if you’ve got the time and energy for that.) Prepare a tray with some of his favourite foods – pancakes, waffles, toast with peanut butter or a bowl of fruit loops and milk perhaps – and “deliver” it to him in bed. Don’t forget to add a nice wake-me-up smoothie, juice or glass of ice cold milk!
Take a photo of your child every year in the same place, in the same position. For example, sitting on your sofa in the living room. Or holding a prop, like the family cat or a signboard with his age. Or lounging against a favourite wall. Don’t just ask him to ‘stand there’ – get him to think of a fun pose or facial expression to make! Just make sure he’s prepared to do this for many more years to come.
#3 Give a gift
Your child will probably receive many presents each year, but life isn’t just about getting – it’s about giving! Find out and discuss with your child ways in which he can give back to society, as a birthday gesture of goodwill. It not only blesses others, but it also teaches your child to appreciate and value the things that he does have, and encourages him to step out of his comfort zone, sometimes sacrificially, to help someone else who is in need. For more ideas, go to www.give.sg.
#4 Bake a cake together
These days, fondant cakes are all the rage. And many of them are definitely exquisite, delicious and easy fodder for picture frenzies. Yet, there’s still something extra special about a homemade birthday cake. It might not look as presentable or taste as grand, but it bears testament to a mother’s love. So why not try it for yourself? You can easily find a recipe online from any number of baking blogs or websites. Or scour through your recipe books to find something that would work. Involve your child in the whole process – from selecting the cake to purchasing the ingredients, preparing the mixture, and decorating the finished cake! Prepare for a load of mess, but also, a lot of fun! And, most importantly, a precious memory for safekeeping.
By Dorothea Chow
This article was first published in The New Age Parents e-magazine