Sarah Sarah quit her social work job to become a stay-at-home mom when her twin girls were 1, their older sister was 2, and her husband graduated with his doctoral degree and got a full-time job as a professor (aka could not stay home with the kids on his days off of school, and full-time free childcare from wonderful grandparents was not an option!). Now the twins are 4, their big sis is in kindergarten, they’ve added a baby brother to the mix, and Sarah is getting back into part-time Geriatric Care Management. She loves spending time outdoors and trying her best to do crafty, educational activities with the girls, including reading tons of books with them! If you would like to contact Sarah, e-mail her at

I have 8,000 things to do, including figuring out dinner. I have a baby meekly fussing in his swing. I have two girls playing some imaginary game that seems to involve a lot of jumping around, including off of their beds in their bedroom. I also have a sweetly sleeping almost 4-year-old on my lap. I just can’t get up and get anything done. It’s mind boggling to remember just four years ago when she and her twin sister were both IN MY BELLY! Though sometimes the days seem so long, the time really does fly by so fast!Two of the things on my to-do list involve making some wishes come true. A few years ago, with my oldest daughter’s second birthday looming, I started looking into fun birthday traditions, and here are a few of my favorites:

Birthday Traditions

Celebrate the child’s very last day of being the age that they are.

Some years I have let the birthday child determine everything about their last day (wearing her favorite dress, going to the park, deciding what to have for dinner), but now I’ve adapted it to a “wish” for their last day. One of my daughter’s last-day-of-being-three wish this year is to do some crafts; the other’s is to have a camp out in the living room. Whew! Do-able wishes … I am always a bit nervous that they will choose something impossibly expensive and/or outlandish! We may have to adapt these birthday  traditions as they get older, but so far so good!

Retell the story of the child’s birth. 

My girls delight in hearing me tell about the cicada invasion in the area near the hospital where they were born, and me waddling in, in labor, ducking and swatting at the cicadas coming in the door with me – shudder! They delight in my fear of those huge creepy bugs!

Watch “movies” of when they were babies.

I’m so glad we’ve taken so many videos of our kids growing up, and now that I don’t always have to have a cumbersome camcorder to do it, I take several a day on my phone. I used to do a lot of scrapbooking and writing about all of the events of our lives, but (of course) never have time for it anymore. I hope that watching the videos over and over and retelling the stories will help my brain remember the sweet (and often hilarious) moments better … or at least keep them alive until I get around to finishing up those baby books (Ha!).

Have a special breakfast followed by a fun outing.

I love our birthday traditions of eating a breakfast they love (usually Daddy’s chocolate chip pancakes) and taking a trip to the zoo. There is a Build-a-Bear store there and we let the birthday kid make a new stuffed animal, while siblings get to pick out a small, pre-made animal. The girls are accumulating quite a collection and always reminisce about which animal they made on what birthday. They also have plans about what additional animals to make during the next couple of years!

Interview the birthday child each year with the same questions and watch how the answers change as the years go by. 

I’ve also seen ideas about doing this at the beginning or end of the school year, or at each New Year. As the child gets older, you can have her fill out the questionnaire on her own to have a record of how her handwriting changes over the years. But I’ve never made the time to do this one!

Throw a party!

We usually have a birthday party with friends and family for our kids. I feel like this is as much for my husband and me as for the girls. I have so much fun planning the parties, and sometimes they are the only chance we have to hang out with some of our friends who are busy parents as well!

This year we are trying a new tradition that I wish we had started when they were babies (then it wouldn’t take as much persuasion to get them to agree to it!). Instead of gifts for the girls, we are asking guests to bring donations. I tried to convince my 5-year-old to do this last year, but she really did not want to go through with it. So far, my twins are into it, as long as we remind them that their grandparents will still probably give them gifts. Ha ha! One of my daughters wants the guests to bring snacks for the Ronald McDonald room where we spent a lot of time during their brother’s NICU stay. The other wants to donate books to the library. Another item on my to-do list: Call the library to see if there are any programs accepting book donations!

I love making our kids’ birthdays special, though I try not to get “too” over the top with it all. There are so many cool ideas to be found: special birthday-sprinkled pancakes, filling the bedroom or baby crib with balloons, celebrating half birthdays with half a cake.

Do any of you have any awesome birthday traditions to share? I’d love to try some new ideas, though sometimes it seems a little ambitious for a mom who hasn’t yet completed her kids’ baby books!

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Category: Family Free Time

Tags: birthday party