Mr P turned 5 this past week and it was an exciting time for our entire family. This little boy has been talking about his birthday and Christmas since Christmas 2011. The thought of cake, icing and toys has most little children buzzing. It has been a big year for him with all the moving, starting at a new preschool and just recently new kindergarten and going from being an only child to a big brother.He’s taken it all in stride and Mr BAM and I had to keep our urge under control to spoil him rotten for being so wonderful and accepting of all the change along the way. Normally his birthdays are pretty moderate affair, for instance this year their was no school on his birthday (no school on Yom Kippur in New York) so it was hard to organize a party while others were fasting.
It’s never too early to introduce the concept of being thankful to a child, so though Mr P got all the regular birthday trimmings – including a Toy Story cake! I also tried to share some concepts with him to make his birthday not just about receiving, but also about giving and being thankful.
I tried to organize some of these items as things to cross off a list everyday leading up to his birthday – a birthday countdown. It served the purpose of reminding him when his birthday was coming. Kids have a hard time getting a handle on time. Even when you try to explain it as “5 more sleeps til your birthday” they still don’t always get it.
If I were to do this perfectly (not likely!) next year, I’d create a much more visual list that we looked at everyday.
Ways to introduce giving and thankfulness around birthdays
- Go through your child’s room and help them clean up old toys and clothes to donate to someone in need. Remind them that more is not always best. This way as they get new toys and clothes for their birthday they a reminded of those in need. It also encourages not living beyond their means, hoarding for no reason
- Arrange phone/Skype calls with family members to thank them for their presents. Start a discussion about presents and how it is a gift and not a right
- Have your child thank people for celebrating their birthday, including friends and teachers at school