How to Virtually Celebrate Your Child’s Birthday While Socially Distancing

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Kids birthday celebrations are the latest casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic. Current guidelines mean that birthday parties have to kept to a minimum with “very small numbers of guests” in order to help slow the spread of COVID-19. For many families, this means rethinking traditional birthday celebrations as parties planned for home and at external party venues get cancelled. Families can’t even go out to a restaurant or an attraction to celebrate birthdays either.

It’s beyond disappointing for kids not to be able to have a birthday party or birthday excursion. Kids are already reeling from the upheaval in their lives with the cancellation of school, sport, playdates and outings. So how do you still celebrate their special day and make it memorable in the midst of coronavirus social distancing directives?

Our advice is to focus less on cancelled plans and concentrate on creating a wonderful day for your kids to enjoy. Here are a few ideas to celebrate your child’s birthday at home and make it memorable for all.

[Please note, we’ve put this together as per the current social distancing & government advisories. Things are changing rapidly so please adjust accordingly and don’t abuse us if our suggestions don’t comply with new regulations]

Have a Virtual Kids Birthday Party

Your child can still see their friends. Just do it virtually. Use Zoom to invite their friends and they can have a party for up to 40 minutes. You can also use Google Hangouts to celebrate virtually – you can invite 25 people with no time limit. You can also Facetime and Skype for individual video calls like with grandparents.

Arrange Gift Delivery Beforehand

Arrange to have birthday cards and/or presents mailed or delivered ahead of time. Then hold a Zoom, Skype or Google Hangout sessions and open them. This enables everyone to enjoy opening presents together.

Organise Video Messages

Get family and friends to record a special video message and send it to your child to play on their birthday. It’s not the same as being there in person but it’s a lovely way to celebrate the day. You can record messages on Apple iMessage, Messages in Android, WhatsApp, Skype and other messaging apps.

Organise a Car Parade

If kids want to see their friends, organise a Car Parade. This fun event abides by the social distancing rules. Get friend and family to drive by your house at a pre-arranged time with cars decorated with banners and balloons. They can yell out birthday greetings or sing Happy Birthday as they drive by with the windows down. Check out this YouTube video of a 4 year girl in New Jersey receiving birthday wishes.

Go on a Birthday Drive

You can also be the one to drive around in your car on your child’s special day. Decorate your car with balloons and a sign saying Honk for Tom’s 7th Birthday! Drive past friends and family’s homes and get them to wave from their house or put up a sign in their front yard wishing birthday greetings.

Walk Around to Read Chalk Cards

If your friends live nearby, arrange for them to write birthday messages in chalk to your child on the pavement on your street or neighbourhood. Then go for a short walk (complying by social distancing) and read the birthday greetings. (Ignore if it’s a rainy day!)

Decorate the House

Go all out and decorate your house to celebrate your kids birthday. Order balloons and decorations and go all out. You can even decorate the outside of your home and put up the Christmas lights to make it all sparkly.

Do a Balloon Drop

To surprise your child on their birthday, organise a balloon drop. Blow up balloons the night before when they’re asleep – use a balloon pump if you can. Place the balloons in a plastic or cloth tablecloth and attach to the ceiling or high up on the wall and pull down when your child wakes up. If that’s too much work, stuff them in a closet and ask the birthday child to retrieve something out of it. Surprise!

Have a Micro Party

Have a small birthday party for just your immediate family at home. You can order party supplies, treats and even a pinata online and get it delivered. Get dressed up in your best outfits and play party games like Musical Chairs, Pass the Parcel, Charades, etc.

Go Out Stay In to Watch Movies

Do you normally head out to the movies for your kids birthday? Screen a new release at home. New releases like Frozen 2 and other new releases have now been released via streaming so you can watch these flicks at home. Just add popcorn, ice cream treats and chocolate treats to make it like an authentic trip to the movies.

Take Birthday Photos

It’s going to be a  memorable birthday for your child this year so take a photo of your child holding a sign “I turned {age} during the COVID-19 Pandemic”. It’s one to keep in the family photo album. While you’re taking photos, put your phone’s camera on self-timer and take some family photos. Take some nice smiley photos to get framed and some silly ones to just have fun!

Have a Family Slumber Party

If you promised your kids a sleepover with friends, change it up and make it into a family slumber party instead. Although you all sleep in the same home, throw a slumber party in the living room and enjoy the novelty. Organise sleeping bags, blankets and pillows and just enjoy some family bonding. Or if it’s still warm outside, set up the tent in the backyard and “camp”.

Bake or Buy a Birthday Cake

Make this the year that you make a birthday cake with your child. It’s actually pretty easy to make a cake – flour, sugar, eggs, milk. For some great kids cake recipes, check out the Donna Hay website. Favourites include the Chocolate Freckle Cake and the Pink Vanilla Cake. If baking is not your jam, check with your favourite bakery to see if they are still open for pickup or delivery of a birthday cake.

Organise a Scavenger Hunt

It doesn’t matter how old your kid is. A scavenger hunt is always fun. Order presents online and get them delivered and then hide them. Give kids clues to find them. The older they are, make the clues harder to solve.

Cook or Order Their Special Meal

Make your child’s favourite meal for their birthday if you have all the ingredients. Or if your child’s favourite restaurant isn’t closed and still doing takeaway or delivery, order their favourite meal as a treat.

Make them a Birthday Boss

Let kids make the decisions for the day. Cake for breakfast, no schoolwork and a movie marathon. Sure! Letting them set the rules for the day will make it memorable for the birthday child. They get to be the boss for their birthday.

Give Them Raincheck Vouchers

We know that during this time, there will be things that our kids miss like outings, planned events with family and friends, sports tournaments, etc. For a birthday gift, give the opportunity to choose 3 – 5 events or experiences they want to do when the COVID-19 restrictions lift. For my daughter who turns 10, this is a trip to the zoo (our planned birthday family excursion), going out for a movie night with her friends and a treetops adventure experience. This gets them to focus on fun things they can do after COVID-19.

Celebrate Twice

Let your child know that they will have two birthday parties this year. One a small home (while social distancing) and one later on with their friends. You can then organise a “birthday party” down the track when the COVID-19 pandemic is over. We’ll all need something worth celebrating and it’s a fun event for you and your child to look forward to.

You might also like:

How to Help Kids with Coronavirus Anxiety

How to Keep in Touch With Grandparents & Elderly Relatives in a Time of Social Distancing

40 Ideas For Family Fun When You’re Socially Distancing

How to Practice Self-Care During These Anxious Times

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