Celebrating birthdays creates a sense of magic and honours the child’s unique life. It invites beauty and wonder to simple traditions that enrich family life.
Setting up a birthday table or little display somewhere at home with a simple silk or special cloth, where you can sit photo’s, seasonal treasures, candles, a hand-made or small gift to open on the morning and maybe a birthday crown and or cape to wear on the day. This is a lovely tradition to do either with your child the day/night before the birthday or after they go to bed (some children like to wake to the table already set…….extra magic!) and this little verse can be shared at bed time:
When I have said my evening prayer,
And my clothes are folded on the chair,
And mummy/daddy switches off the light,
I’ll be (age) years old tonight,
But from the very break of day,
Before the children rise to play,
Before the greenness turns to gold,
Tomorrow I’ll be (birthday age) years old!
(birthday number) candles on my cake,
(birthday number) kisses when I wake.
And on the day, a kiss for every year is a nice way to start it and some time to explore the birthday table and open the little gift upon it. If it’s a school/kinder day, the more detailed celebrations might be left until the afternoon or evening when the family can come together. Wearing the birthday crown and or cape for the day may also be enjoyed by your child…….and may include any visits to the shop, park or other outing!
When ready to begin the celebrations together, if you have a wooden candle ring or spiral, light a candle for each year and share some memories as you light each candle, pausing in between to share (children love hearing about themselves and the funny, brave, kind, celebrated moments in their life). If you don’t have a candle ring/spiral, you can easily make a simple one from air dry clay or salt dough…….make holes for the candles and decorate with nature, crystals, eco-glitter, fresh or dried flowers. Tea lights work well also.
A reading or telling of the birthday story ‘Through the rainbow’ is another well-loved tradition to include in your celebrations together (see book link below for more details).
Remember the focus is on the child and the gifts they bring to the world, cultivating appreciation and love rather than consumerism. Keep present giving as the last activity, after you have shared stories, lit candles and enjoyed the birthday meal/tea. Presents can be placed in a basket near the birthday table for later and sitting in a birthday circle is a nice way to share one gift at a time, allowing the child to appreciate who gave/made the gift and receive it with gratitude.
Birthdays are magical milestones in a child’s year so creating your own traditions that grow with your family creates special memories that your child will cherish and most likely continue, with their own children. And remember to celebrate the adult birthdays too……they may not be as detailed but a little extra magic goes a long way to making us all feel special, loved and celebrated.
Below are some links for resources to support your birthday tradition making!
Through the rainbow (a birthday story)
Natural Celebration ring
Rainbow wish candles
Australian seasonal cards (includes birthdays)
Air dry clay
Happy child Happy home – conscious parenting book