While the start of May sees the start of relaxation of our lockdown, life as we knew it pre-corona is still some time away. We can start visiting people in small numbers and a staggered re-introduction to school is on the cards. But working from home is still very much a thing, and social distancing measures are being encouraged. And that means our May, June and possibly even July babies will be looking at celebrating their birthdays a little differently this year.
If you’ve got a birthday coming up for the special little person (or people) in your life, it may be time to think about what that might look like. We’ve put together some ideas to help you get started and make your child feel loved, special and connected for their 2020 birthday. It will no doubt be one that they’ll never forget ;)
If there’s one thing that isolation and corona has taught us, it’s the impact of expectations. How we work, how we learn and how we experience milestones have all taken a hit, and we’ve had to quickly adjust our views on what we expected our lives to look like this year.
By now, your kids are already aware of what ‘the virus’ means for their lives and that their 2020 birthday may look a little different. They, and you, might be feeling a bit disappointed. But the good news is, as we’ve all been shown over the past month or two - kids are so resilient and adaptable. Which means that whatever celebration you do go ahead with, you can still leave them feeling special, loved and possibly feeling like it’s their best birthday yet.
Planning the party
There are some staples of a birthday that no lockdown can stop. Think cakes, balloons and party food – all of which are still in easy reach.
Birthday props can help bring that birthday vibe to your home. Balloons, hats, streamers and banners are just a few easy ways to create that party vibe.
TIP: Set-up an artwork project for your kids to create a prop with a birthday theme. Using cardboard, paint and scrap paper, let their imaginations lead the way. They project can keep them entertained at home for a few hours and get them excited for the party at the same time.
Surprise them with a birthday balloon bunch. Balloon Expressions in Wollongong create custom bunches
that can brighten any iso birthday, catering for both young and young-at-heart.
Plan the menu around your kid’s favourite food or cuisine. Younger kids may be sold with staple party treats like fairy bread, sausage rolls and chips, while older kids might consider their favourite restaurant a treat. Take a look at the Illawarra Menus Facebook page for details on who is open for takeaway or delivery – you might be surprised at the options.
Speaking of outsourced food, cupcakes, cakes and sweets are still available from the usual suppliers.
Perhaps 2020 might be the ideal time to attempt making a cake at home. Another way to help pass the iso time, you can get the kids involved for cake selection, cake making and of course, the cake testing.
Virtual party ideas
Now that you have the basics sorted, you might be wondering what to actually do on the day. Virtual parties are, naturally, on the rise and there are ideas to suit any age, interest and parental energy levels.
Dress-up theme online – A dress-up party always helps lighten the mood, and this holds true online. There’s something about getting in character that helps bring out the fun.
Online games – Just about any party game can be easily hosted online, with games like charades, trivia and charades a popular choice.
Set–up a synchronised movie night – Create a mini-slumber party vibe complete with popcorn, a feel-good movie and shared commentary.
Virtual dance party – You can set up your own playlist or even join a DJ set online. Add a dance-off or karaoke component to really get the laughs going.
Online cooking lesson – Make something simple and fun like cookies or pizza. Send out a list of ingredients to invites beforehand so they are prepared.
Online craft lesson – much like the cooking lesson, only with craft. Search YouTube for just about any idea you are after, and get your supplies ready.
Host a talent show – The talent challenge can be set as part of the invite, with each guest having to prepare beforehand. A great idea for creative kids, and one where the parents can get involved too.
Create a video – A great idea for milestone birthdays, you can collect pre-recorded messages from family and friends and create a very special birthday video. You can provide questions as prompts or let family and friends go wild, creating a priceless gift that will capture this unique time.
Organise a personalised message from a celebrity – Yes, this is an actual thing. Cameo lets you organise personalised messages from a range of actors, athletes, musicians and more.
Outsourced virtual entertainment - If you are fresh out of energy from the home school/work/life juggle, why not outsource the party ideas and support a local business at the same time? Fizzics Education hosts awesome online science parties, Symbio Zoo provides educational video and activity packs and Miss Zoe’s School of Dance offers online dance classes in a variety of styles that are yours to keep forever.
TIP: When organising a virtual party, keep in mind that the use of new technology can be a challenge with some family and friends. Be clear on the
time and date, set reminders via text or email and allow some extra time for tech difficulties. There are so many free options including Zoom,
Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp and Houseparty. Think about who will be joining in and what app they already have access to, or are
comfortable with using.
Feeling connected (at a socially acceptable distance)
One of the things we’re all missing at this time is connection with our friends, family and wider community. Connection has strong links to our feelings of belonging and wellbeing, and can really help to make your little one’s day extra special. With a little creative thinking, you can still create a feeling of connectedness even while socially distancing.
Drive-by or staggered visits from family and friends A surprise visit by your child’s favourite people can go a long way, even if well wishes are sent from the car or on the street.
Along the theme of the bear hunt in the windows we’re seeing throughout the Illawarra, you can arrange for signs to be put up at windows or even on chalk messages on driveways, all for you to ‘accidently’ drive or walk past on the day.
Birthday cards sent in the mail Receiving personalised mail is so rare in 2020, and even more so for our digital savvy kids. A personalised message or homemade card is a special way to wish a happy birthday.
Scheduled calls with best friends Easy to organise but big on results, simply giving your kids time to spend talking to their friends can leave them feeling like their old selves, back when they saw their friends on most days of the week.
Focus on family Regardless of what you plan, the day will be spent largely at home and it could be a good chance to keep it in the family. It’s a great time to look back at old photos, go camping in your very own living room or simply curl up on the lounge with popcorn and a movie.
As you can see, you can still have a lot of fun on iso birthdays. While they might not be what you had planned, they can definitely be a birthday to remember. Happy party planning!
Bio about the Author
Diana Ioppolo is a copywriter and marketing consultant who is thankful to be ‘staying home’ and raising two little people in beautiful Wollongong. She works with mainly service-based business owners who are great at what they do, but need help letting the world know. Diana can transform your expertise into words that really connect with your customers, and get your business noticed online. She can help with websites, emails, articles, case studies and more. Check out ignitecontent.com.au or follow her on Instagram at @ignite_content for details.
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