Raise your had if you have kids who will be celebrating a birthday during this crazy pandemic. Keep your hand up if you feel a little bit heart broken that the option to celebrate with loved ones is gone for unforeseeable future. I feel you, mama. Frankie just had her third birthday, and for weeks had been saying
“I can’t wait to celebrate my birthday with all of my friends?”
Ok, so I know that there are much worse tragedies going on in the world than cancelled birthday parties, but guess what? This isn’t a contest. It is perfectly OK to be sad for your kids, (who will have to find a way to celebrate while social distancing from loved ones.) That is my first bit of advice, actually. Allow yourself (and your kids!) to have whatever feelings come up around the current situation. You are allowed to feel disappointed. But I also want to assure you that a pivot is possible, and you can still throw an epic birthday party while social distancing in quarantine. Here are a few suggestions that really worked for us and a few other ideas too.
Instead of cancelling or postponing; pivot (like Ross!)
We had already planned Frankie’s birthday party. It wasn’t going to be anything extravagant, but she knew it was coming and was excited. I honestly didn’t have the heart to cancel it until we were really left with no other option. Even though we had notified guests, we continued to plan her birthday party, only now it would be a family party at home. We kept the same dinosaur theme she had requested, but shifted our language around the party. So instead of talking about the park it was originally going to be at, we talked about celebrating at home. Instead of talking about the friends that would be there, we talked about how fun it would be to celebrate with our family. Doing this sort of laid the foundation for her expectations.
Decorate Like Crazy
We basically made it look like our house vomited birthday decorations. Streamers everywhere, colorful balloons, banners, etc. We did this the night before Frankie’s birthday, so that when she woke up she would feel special. It really worked, and set the tone for a really fun day (at home).
Plan a Special Breakfast
Normally for a special occasion like a birthday, we might take the girls to our local donut shop, but with the stay-home order in place, that wasn’t an option. Frankie loves cereal. She would (and sometimes does) eat it for all 3 meals, if we let her. We are not typically a ‘sugar cereal’ house, but for her birthday breakfast we served lucky charms. She was super excited and surprised (as was Ayden).
My kids love a pinata. I mean who doesn’t like beating an inanimate object until it explodes, releasing buckets of candy. After we had a family lunch, (grilled hot dogs for the birthday girl!), we did the pinata in the backyard. I honestly feel like a 2 person pinata is where it’s at! They got to take turns wailing on the paper machete party-staple, and didn’t have to wait long for their turn. I even got to give it the last whack, making it rain sugary goodness everywhere. Then they were able to fill their bags with candy, without fighting off other grabby hands.
If you are planning a socially distant, quarantine birthday party; buy the pinata.
My very favorite part of the entire day, was our mini Zoom-party. I reached out to a bunch of our friends and family to come sing ‘happy birthday’ to the birthday girl. It was very low maintenance and a very small time-commitment for people. I created the event in zoom, sent out the link and voila! We had a full-blown party. Frankie was so happy and blown away to see a lot o her favorite people. Everyone sang ‘happy birthday’ as we presented her with her cake, and it felt like a normal birthday party for a minute. I was worried she may wonder why people were not there in person, but she was so happy and never even asked. Never have I felt so grateful for technology.
You do not have to overcompensate with presents to make up for the current state of affairs.
We gave Frankie the same gifts we had intended on giving her, and it was honestly perfect. Some of our amazing friends even dropped off and sent birthday gifts, so she still experienced the joy of opening her presents. It is my belief that quality counts much more than quantity.
Attitude and Intention
I think probably the most important part of creating an epic party while social distancing, is your attitude about it as the parent. Kids will always pick up on our own energy. Mike and I were super intentional about making the most out of what we had access to. We didn’t talk about what we had originally planned. We didn’t treat Frankie with pity. We didn’t reference the cancelled plans. we were incredibly intentional about focusing on the fun we had planned, and I have to say, the day was a complete success.
Some Other Ideas
Some other ideas to celebrate your kids birthday while social distancing:
Have people drive by and honk or wave out the window
Do a birthday tour, and drive by friends and family’s houses (let them know you’re coming)
Schedule FaceTime and Skype time with loved ones
Have a neighborhood picnic from your own driveways (at least 6 feet away)
If you have other suggestions, find me on Instagram and DM me! I always love your feedback.7