How do we do birthdays in our large family?
I used to think, before I was a mother, that I needed to put my children into activities so that they could socialize and make friends, which end up being the children we would invite to birthday parties. But, we tried that a couple times. Inviting everyone who our oldest child played with at church, or any other activities we went to, only to be turned down or stood up on the big day.
My eyes have been opened. We, now, take a page from some other large families that I have come across, and keep the party a family affair.
When the child reaches five years old or so we plan our family fun day, or outing, on the same day we are going to be celebrating and they get to pick the activity. Two of our children have allergies to gluten and dairy, so attending birthday parties anywhere is extremely difficult, and potentially dangerous, and many children wouldn’t want to eat the cake or other desserts we choose to indulge in when they find out the ingredient list. So, family parties work for us in many ways.
I took my current ideas on decorating for a party from one of my favorite bloggers, Jamerril Stewart, and make use of my dollar store or Walmart.
I take the birthday child with me, or consult them about what they like at the moment, and we go pick out their decorations. Party hats, streamers, balloons and other fun things are gathered. Then, I set them up before the kids get up on the big day. With our oldest daughter I made a streamer wall hanging from her bedroom door, this year, to greet her when she woke up, she thought that was really fun.
Teaching Children to Honor Others
This weekend our youngest child is going to be two. I was watching a vlog last week and noticed that the children were giving gifts they had made or bought to the one who’s birthday it was. This idea really resonates with me, because parties have become so much about what the guests will get to bring home in their goodie bags, instead of how they will honor the birthday kid.
So, this momma took the four oldest to the dollar store without the little one, and they each picked out a gift for their sister. We also picked wrapping paper, with a group plan to have a wrapping party in my room before the big day.
It was a bit of a disaster, really. The six and five year old did not understand that we were not picking out toys for them, and meltdowns ensued once they did. But, they rallied quickly and I believe this will be an important routine in our family to cultivate an understanding of how to honor someone other than themselves.