Recovering The SelfA Journal of Hope and Healing


How to Celebrate Your Kid’s Birthday During Difficult Times

by Alycia Coloma

It can be hard to put on a happy face and make birthdays feel special when your family is going through a difficult time. Whether it be that you and your spouse are going through a divorce, you’ve experienced a recent loss, or now, during the pandemic, you can still find ways to celebrate. In fact, in these times, it is even more important to shine a light on important milestones and spark some joy in your child’s life.

Birthday image

If you need help finding a memorable way to mark their birthday, these tips can serve as your inspiration.

Social Distancing Birthdays

If your child’s birthday has fallen within the span of the stay-at-home-order and they can’t see their friends or family, it might feel like there’s no way to throw them a birthday party. However, that’s not necessarily true, you just have to get creative. Here are a few ways you can throw a social distancing birthday party:

  1. Drive-Through Birthday Parade 

Have friends and family caravan past the house with their own signs, noisemakers, and birthday wishes. This will give them the chance to see the birthday girl or boy without any health concerns. Any child will be thrilled to have their very own parade going by.

  1. Throw a Six-Feet-Apart Party Out Front

If you have a big driveway and decently sized lawn, you can throw a social distancing party in your front yard. Invite family and friends over to spend time together (while sitting at least six feet apart and wearing appropriate protective gear). Make it extra festive by decorating. While you can’t go to the store, you can order balloons and decorations, bake at home, and customize lawn signs online.

  1. Digital Birthday Party 

If your child is a little older, say a preteen, they might appreciate a video-conference surprise party with their friends. You can set it up for them by coordinating with their friends to hop online at the same time. And, for an extra special flare, you can choose a theme and send party favors to them to use during the video chat. Plenty of companies are offering virtual birthday parties for younger kids too, if the first one works out well.

During a Divorce

At the beginning stages of a divorce, it’s understandable that your family may be disjointed and not exactly in the mood to celebrate. However, not making the effort to make your child’s birthday special can just add to these issues. Instead, you can:

  1. Have Separate Birthday Parties

If they can’t have one combined birthday party, two separate parties can be double the fun. That way, each parent can celebrate with the birthday boy or girl in their own way, without any confrontations.

  1. Ask the Child How They Want to Celebrate

Let them choose what they want to do, whether that’s separate celebrations or one with the whole family. Of course, this only works if you’re on civil terms, but it will mean a lot to your child to have the choice.

  1. Host a Friends-Only Party

Instead of worrying which family members can attend the celebration, have a friends-only party on their actual birthday. That way, they don’t feel torn between parents. Then each parent can celebrate individually on different days, but this keeps the date focused on what’s important, their happiness.

On a Tight Budget

Many parents feel a lot of financial pressure when it’s time to celebrate birthdays and that’s felt ten-fold when money is tight. However, there are plenty of ways to make their birthday special, even during financially tough times. Start with these ideas for budget-friendly birthdays:

  1. Keep It to Just the Family

Having a big birthday party with all their friends can add up quickly. However, keeping it to just the family will make it special but much more cost effective. Plus, this way you can use the budget toward doing something they want to do, not on tons of food, party favors, and games.

  1. Party in the Park 

Hosting a birthday party at the park means the venue is free and there’s already fun activities for them to do—especially if you choose one with a lot of equipment or even water features. Pack some food, table covers, and the birthday gifts and you’re ready to celebrate.

  1. Potluck Party 

There’s no shame in asking for some help to make your child’s birthday special. Instead of extravagant gifts, ask your family members to bring items that will help with the party. This could include food, games and activities, or even decorations—it’s really up to you.

Don’t let circumstances get in the way of your child’s special day. With these ideas you can figure out a way to shine a light on your birthday, despite the odds.

About the Author

Alycia Coloma is a mother to four beautiful girls and loves to craft DIY projects in her spare time. She enjoys finding new ways to work with tight budgets and spreading her knowledge to parents everywhere. Alycia is a staunch advocate of continuing education and believes that an insatiable hunger for knowledge is the key to better finances, a warm family, and a fulfilling life as a whole.

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