By Lina Ashar
Birthday parties, according to me, are overrated, with parents trying to outdo each other. We should be able to have a simple celebration and keep it at that. Also, if your child is refusing to have a massive get-together there is nothing wrong with that. It is absolutely fine to not throw a party at all.
We need to understand that some children are extroverts, while others are introverts. Some are also socially uncomfortable and do not like to be the centre of attraction or are incapable of dealing with large gatherings. It is alright if your child opts out of having a birthday party. They may not be in the mood to entertain people this year and will be absolutely fine with the idea the following year. All you need to do is be calm and talk to your child to find out the reason for it. If the reason is legit then let them be, respect their wish and sentiment. If you think they do not want to have a party because of some kind of conflict or social anxiety, then speak to them and counsel them. Parents need to play the role of being facilitators and counsellors. Make sure you do fun things with your children to make their day memorable and that need not always mean a lavish party that many people have started hosting.
As children grow up, they outgrow parties and would like to do different things. In fact, a birthday can be an occasion where you inculcate the life skill of being empathetic and compassionate, a norm you can start right when they are young. Take them to an old age home or an orphanage to distribute goodies, cut a cake and interact with people there. This will sensitise them to less privileged people and the hardships they face. Remember that the act of giving releases the happy chemical ‘dopamine’, which lasts longer than the short-lived happiness of receiving.
There are various things parents can do with their children on their birthday to make it a memorable one. Some of them are listed below:
Watch movies: Either visit a theatre or watch children’s movies at home with them.
Go camping: Take your child out camping or just set up a tent in your backyard.
Enjoy a daytrip or weekend getaway: Visit a farm stay or resort and do some fun activities with them.
Have a quiet dinner: Step out to your child’s favourite restaurant or make their favourite dishes and enjoy a family meal.
Organise a sleepover: Call some of your child’s friends and have a simple sleepover.
Visit an amusement park: If your child loves going on rides, take them to a nearby amusement park and have a fun day.
Let your child choose: Let your child decide what they would like to do on their birthday.
Go shopping: If your child enjoys shopping, go the mall and treat them to what they wish for their birthday.
Spa Day: Visit the spa and pamper your child to a nice massage or other fun activities.
(The writer is Founder, Kangaroo Kids Education Ltd.)