Minimalist Birthday Party Ideas for Parents (10 Tips for a Meaningful Celebration)

Today, I’m gonna share 10 ways to have a meaningful
birthday celebration for your child. At the end of these 10 steps, I’m gonna share
with you, the gift that we gift each child for every single birthday. Stick with me till the end if you want a fool
proof idea for a beautiful birthday gift for your children too. If you want to love parenting and parent from
love, then smash that subscribe button and hit the notification bell, so you’re sure
to be told, every time I upload a new episode, every Monday. I’m Avital, mindful parenting coach and mother
of four. I have been blessed to help thousands of parents
reclaim presents, peace, and play for their family. Slam on the like button and let’s do this. We typically do very minimal, almost non existent
celebrations for our one year, old and two year, even our three year old. It’s really going to be, just about the immediate
family getting together and enjoying a dessert or something, or a little hike in the woods. At that age, almost any type of celebration
is going to overwhelm the children. If you want to celebrate for yourself with
your friends, that’s great. Having a full on birthday party for a very
young child is often going to be overkill, and actually be stressful for them, which
is not what we were going for. Take everything I’m saying here with a pinch
of salt, or a spoonful of sugar, and figure out what works in your context. Number two is to decide on the purpose of
your celebration. This might sound a little, bit weird. Well, the purpose is to have birthday celebration. I’ve been reading the book, Gathering, by
Priya Parker. In it, she explains that a birthday celebration
is a category of event, it’s not a purpose for the event. A purpose for the event might be very different
from one family to the next. For some of us, a birthday celebration’s purpose
might be about filling our children up with love, showing them how special they are, and
celebrating them. That party will look one way, and will lead
to a certain set of choices. The purpose might instead be, to celebrate
the year that’s past, and to reflect on all of, the milestones and the growth that they’ve
had. That party celebration will look very different. A third might be to surrounding them with
the people that they love and the role models, and the community that we want them to feel
a part of. Again, a very different approach. As you’re deciding on how to celebrate your
children’s birthday, just reflect on what you’re trying to accomplish. What are the feelings, messages, and value
that you’re trying to impart through this gathering. It will really be helpful in deciding and
deciphering, the rest of the choices that you need to make. Number thee is to choose a venue that feels,
that it aligns with the purpose of your gathering. Where would your child feel like, this is
most about me? This is most about my, you know, hopes and
dream. Now, I think all of us want that a little,
bit. We want a little bit of that feeling in a
birthday celebration. We’re here to celebrate you and to make you
feel special. Maybe it’s about a class that your child loves,
or a place that your child loves to go, that wouldn’t be overstimulating or overwhelming. Often, children’s birthday parties are so
over kill, in an attempt to create a marketplace, where parents are paying so much for the entertainment,
for the food, for the activities, it becomes overstimulating. It doesn’t end up being about that child having
a good time, and being surrounded by people that love them, it ends up being about the
place, about the venue and the activity and the entertainment. It becomes, really just a marketing transaction,
rather than a celebration that’s more pure and more connected with that unique child
and their needs. If you’re child doesn’t like being the center
of attention, gets shy, or only likes being with small groups of people, or even just
with one friend, consider that when you’re choosing your venue. Thinking about birthday parties in this way,
is a very good idea, because I know from experience that you can end up spending too much money,
creating an event that you didn’t even enjoy, your child was overwhelmed by and didn’t enjoy,
and was bad for the planet as well. Give me a love in the comment, if you know
what I’m talking about. Hit that like button, if this has happened
to you. Number four is to choose fun and meaningful
activities. If your child’s into animals, or into dancing,
or trains, or ninjas, or vacuum cleaners (That one was for you Maxine). How can this celebration be about that, about
celebrating their interests, their desires, their fun, their themes, or perhaps just about
creating fun between them and the people that they love. I want you to remember that some of the best
activities are homemade and absolutely free. If you want a whole list of creative, homemade
and some of them are free ideas for your birthday party, then download my meaningful birthday
guide, which is linked here in the description box below. In it, I’m going to give you lots of different
ideas, of ways that you can fun activities, fun themes that celebrate your child, and
that just connect between people. A lot of them are gonna hark back to old fashioned
games. I would love it, if you would share in the
comments below, what were the games that you played as a child, especially at birthday
parties, that you love to do. Things like pin the tail on the donkey, musical
chairs, pass the parcel, and Simon says. These are fan favorites, and they’ve become
classics for good reason. In recent years, we’ve somehow lost touch
with, this simple and super fun approach to birthdays. Another thing is, to have the children themselves,
be very active members of creating that entertainment. Face painting, for example. Maybe your child wants to be the face painter. If you’re having a Simon Says game, maybe
your child wants to be the one who does, Simon Says. If you’re having a jam session, maybe your
child wants to play a musical instrument or do the dancing. You could have a movie night, or a bubble
party, or a bring-your-own-wheels party and have everyone riding their scooters, and skateboards
together. There are so many, different ways to do it
in a, creative way in a, free way, in a, homemade way and in a way that your child can take
pride in the celebration itself and in the themes, activities that have been planned
out. Number five is, to make the preparations with
your child. If you’re making a cake for example, having
them bake it with you. If you’re sending out invitations, having
them choose the theme on Evite, or write out the wording with you. Having them be involved in the guest list
decision, if that can make sense. Having them taking ownership … This is an
amazing learning opportunity, learning about how we balance a budget, how we plan an event,
how we host, how we word our invitations, how we make decisions based on eco friendliness,
or based on budget, or based on the weather. So often children show up to their own birthday
parties with zero insight to what it takes to put that together and to make those decisions. I feel that, that’s a lost learning opportunity. Plus, when they take ownership in a process
like this, they’re much more likely to be grateful for it, to be aware of what goes
into it, and not to feel so spoiled and entitled, like they just show up, like the king. Making the preparations with your child also
means preparing them emotionally for what’s coming. Just walking through what to expect, what
to be aware of. Things like, “Your friends might touch all
your toys when they come to your home. Do you wanna put some of those toys away?” Things like, “We have a guest who has allergies,
and therefore we all need to wash our hands and be careful, not bring any nut products,”
et cetera. Even if your celebration is very minimalistic
and low key, the magnitude of being the birthday boy or girl, can sometimes overwhelm children. Just preparing them emotionally for what to
expect, and then really letting go and accepting whatever it is, whatever it comes and just
focusing on having a flowing good day. Just do your very best, not to be yelling
at them, and being tense with them on their special day, because it will derail all of
your efforts, to have made them feel loved on that day. Number six is to be an active host or hostess. Again, from the book, Gathering, by Priya
Parker, I have learned the importance of having generous authority when you’re a host. Being a good host, or hostess means that you
include your guests, that you show them what is expected of them and that you help them
to overcome the obstacles to participating in the party. If for example, there are children that are
shy, it means making them feel at home. If there are guests that don’t know each other,
it means introducing them to each other. Hopefully, if you’re having a children’s birthday
party, most of the people are close to your child and they know everyone. It’s also a great opportunity to teach them
to be a good host and to include different members of their community together, to build
bridges between people, because often children can get cliquey or stick to only one friend. If there’s just a neighbor, or someone who’s
not part of the school, or someone who doesn’t know the rules to the game, they can feel
very left out. This is a great opportunity to aware of that
and to model good hosting. Number seven is to think on your approach
to food. I know that birthday parties are typically
a sugar fest. I definitely let my guard down a lot about
what we usually eat when it comes to birthdays. You don’t have to. You can maintain your healthy approach to
food, even during your children’s birthday celebration. I will give you a list of great ideas for
healthy snacks and the meaningful birthday guide, so make sure to download that. If you have ideas for healthy snacks, please
comment here. What I wanted to say is, yes, we do let our
guard down a little, bit. We certainly have some icing on the cake,
and that kind of thing. We have a cake. We have sugary foods. Just like everyone else, being pumped full
of sugar, doesn’t bring out the best in children. It’s something we want to be aware of. Next, I want you to think on your approach
for gifts. If you’re at all interested in minimalism,
which you probably are, or you wouldn’t be here, then you probably don’t want a ton of
plastic-y, junky gifts being flooded into your children on their birthday. You do need to let go and accept that some
people are simply going to bring gifts, and they’re not going to be the type of gifts
that you particularly want in your home. That’s okay. It’s a beautiful problem to have, that people
are giving us gifts. All we need to do is say, “Thank you so much,”
and that’s fine. If you do want to be a little bit, proactive
about directing people to the type of gifts that would most serve your family, if you
send out an invitation … I highly recommend going with an eco friendly invitation, such
as an evite, then you can actually word, what type of gifts or what your gift policy is. Now, I’ve never done a no gift at all policy,
because I feel like, we’re part of a culture where children expect gifts for their birthdays. Adults expect to give gifts for their birthdays. That’s okay. We can try to create more of an awareness
around the types of gifts that we give. In a separate video I’ve mentioned that I
don’t give gifts to other children. That means that I don’t go out and buy new
plastic toys for them. We could always give them something, right? We can give them a homemade piece of art. We can give them a letter. We can give them an experience. We can give them some kind of toy or object
that does make sense, or a toy or object that is pre-loved, that is second hand. We can give them money to spend either on
their future investments and savings, or on something that they’re saving for now. For this last birthday party, we went with
the Fiver birthday party approach. I’ll give you the wording that we used for
our birthday invitation. Something along the lines of, “Johnny is so
blessed to have all of, the things that he needs. He’s really saving up for this big ticket
item, such as a large Lego set, or a bicycle. Please feel free to bring no gifts at all. If you do want to gift him something, then
perhaps five dollars or less. Just put in an envelope, would help him to
save towards this gift. In Canada, this is known as the toonie birthday
party, because they offer two Canadian dollars. Make it the sum that makes sense within your
culture. Five dollars or less sounds too much, make
it less, or make it more, depending on what’s going on where you live. It should be a small and almost insignificant
amount of money for your guests, but something that when pooled together, is a significant
amount that can cover at least part of the cost of something that your child’s really
coveting. You can also ask that all gifts be second
hand, or pre-loved, or that they simply be handmade cards. You can say that we would love to spend time
with you, rather than to get more things, so if you could give us a coupon for a play
date. If you want more ideas for wording on this,
just download that guide below. Number nine is to consider meaningful party
favor options. Now, you actually don’t have to do party favors. In fact, if you’re having a minimalistic gathering
with just family members, then it’s wonderful to cross this one off your list. If you love doing something crafty and fun
for party favors, and if it’s something that is accepted and expected in the culture where
you’re at, then you’ll probably want to send going home gifts. You could consider a going home gift that
is linked somehow to the experience that the children have just had together. If they were face painting, perhaps it’s a
little tattoo. If it was a bubble party, perhaps it’s a little
bottle of bubbles. If you were out in nature, perhaps it’s a
little seed packet to plant a seed. One idea that we’ve had is to give guests
a pre-stamped envelope to the birthday child, asking them to be pen pals. Think creatively about a little gesture that
is meaningful to you and that actually builds connection between the children and their
guests. Number 10 is to follow up with your child
in creating, thank you cards. I think it’s incredibly important to thank
people properly, for the gifts that they’ve given us. That could be in the form of a written thank
you card, or a drawing that your child draws, or a video that you take of your child and
they say what they appreciated about the gift, and thank that guest for coming to the party
and for thinking of them. I think it’s a really important chance for
your child to show gratitude, and to really take a moment to note everything that they’ve
received. Saying, “Thank you,” isn’t just old fashioned
etiquette. It’s still a very important part of reciprocity
and relationship building. Okay. Those were my 10 tips. I would absolutely love to hear your tips
in the comments below. Now I wanna share with you, what we gift our
children every single birthday. What we do is, every birthday, we create a
photo book for our children. We create a book with photo’s of them, and
of the things that they’ve done and the art that they’ve created, and the projects they’ve
worked on, over the past year. It’s a memory book. We also add in some text, telling some stories
about the important events that year, milestones, things that we want them to remember about
their character development or about their friendships, names of friends, names of places
that they visited. We gift this birthday book tot hem each birthday,
as a way of cementing their memories and celebrating them. I think to me, this is an opportunity and
a tool to help my children form, their memories and form their sense of self, their narrative
and their story of their childhood, so that every year, they add a year, they add a book
and they’re able to read back and reflect about what they’ve accomplished, what they’ve
learned, where they’ve been, who they’ve been with. To me that’s a really beautiful way of celebrating
a child each year, and an of accomplishing communicating our family values, and what
we love about them, and what we celebrate about them. We tend to gift this to our children on top
of a physical gift as well. If you also create birthday book, or if you’d
like to, let me know in the comments below. Please share your resources for creating these
books. What platform or software do you use? I’d love it if you could let me know either
here, or over on our guilt free community, Love Parenting with Avital on Facebook. If all of this was super helpful, and you
want more resources, ideas for wording invitations, ideas for gifts, for activities, et cetera,
then download the Meaningful Birthday Guide now. You’re definitely going to want to subscribe
to the channel and hit the notification bell. Next week, we are talking about, five reasons
your kids don’t listen, and what you can do about it. I have a very special guest on that episode,
so subscribe.

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