Today my baby girl turned 6 years old. SIX years!! How in the world did THAT happen? And where did the time go? I love celebrating birthdays and special occasions and am often teased for trying to extend them or make birthdays a week long celebration or yes, sometimes even over-doing it. But birthdays are fun. They’re big milestones, especially when you’re a kid, right? And I like to mark milestones in our lives and our family when I have time and think of something that is fun and/or meaningful to do. Normally, I try to write a letter to my daughters on the eve of each of their birthdays. I’m always feeling sentimental and nostalgic and it seems like the perfect time to put pen to paper and write them a letter about how they’ve grown and changed and of course how much their daddy and I love them so.
Turning six just seems like such a big milestone. Even bigger than 5 in some ways. I felt like I needed a new birthday tradition to incorporate for the big “SIX” so I did a little research and thought I’d share what I found in case you want to start a new birthday celebration tradition in your home, too!!
Cover the floor of their bedroom in balloons while they’re sleeping! Caution: do this only if your child is 4 or older and only if you think it won’t scare them when they wake up! (Keep in mind too that if your child often gets up in the night to use the bathroom this probably isn’t the best idea.)
Interview your child. Use your phone or computer’s built in video camera to record an interview of your birthday child. Ask them questions like “What is your favorite movie? What is your favorite book? Who is your best friend? What’s your favorite ice cream flavor? What do you love about school?” This is a great way to capture a particular time in their lives in their own voices. What a great digital treasure to go back and watch over the years.
Send an “annual report” to family. Work with your child and write up a year in review to send to family. Include big events and milestones as well as a photo and maybe a drawing from your child.
Share the happy. Encourage your child to create a birthday box for a less fortunate child. Put together some donation items (old toys, clothes, even party favors and supplies) and donate to a local family in need or local charity.
Old is new again. Find an old toy that your child loved in the attic or old toy bins and dust it off and present to your child. Or, just share photos of them playing with that toy.
Free passes! Children often hear “no” so often from adults in their lives. Give your birthday child the gift of “yes” and make a few “yes” passes to use during the day.
Plant a tree or perennial flower in your yard that will bloom around your child’s birthday each year. Take a photo of your child with their special tree each year and watch how they both grow!
Light the birthday candle. I have a friend whose family always used their special birthday year candles each year on their children’s birthdays.
Stuffed animal surprise. Gather all the birthday child’s favorite stuffed animals together around the table and put them all in party hats for a special gathering of friends at birthday breakfast.
Birthday Bath. Make birthday eve or the birthday bath special with a unique and fun bath filled with either soap roses (I get them at the dollar store) or colored water (bath fizz) or even a glow in the dark tu with little glow bracelets floating all around.
And here are some birthday traditions from other parts of the world that you could incorporate into your child’s next birthday celebration too! (International birthday traditions are via List Planet and Mental Floss.)
Australian Birthday Tradition: Aussie kids expect to get “fairy bread” a popular snack of simply buttered bread with tiny round sprinkles (called “hundreds and thousands” in Australia).
Indian Birthday Tradition: Kids in India wear new clothes on their birthday. Children often will rise at daybreak and get dressed in their new clothes and then kneel and touch the feet of their parents as a sign of respect.
Israeli Birthday Tradition: In Israel, children wear a crown made with leaves and flowers and sit in a chair decorated with streamers. Children and guests dance around the chair as the parents lift the chair with the child sitting in it.
Chinese Birthday Tradition: Chinese children are encouraged to eat and slurp away at a plate of long noodles for good luck on their birthdays. (I know a lot of kids in the US who would love this easy new tradition!!)
Jamaican Birthday Tradition: In Jamaica, kids are antiqued by having flour (lightly) thrown on them! This is done to birthday babes of all ages and can be done in an organized way or by ambush on the unsuspecting birthday recipient.
I’d love to hear what your special birthday traditions are in your family!