Family Time: Tips for making your child’s birthday extra special this year

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald
Brandpoint photo

Tip of the Week

A birthday is a big day for any child, and especially for kids 3 to 6. Yet busy parents can find it challenging to come up with creative ways to make a child’s birthday truly special.

The challenge, however, is that with more two-income families, increase in single parent households, and busier work and school schedules, finding the time and the creativity to make kids’ birthdays extra special is difficult.

“There are many fun and easy ways to make your child feel extra special on their birthday. It is amazing how these little touches can make such big and lasting impressions,” says Tish Dahlby, the author of “Pinklejinx.” Here are some simple ideas to help your child feel special.

* Start the celebration early. While the child is sleeping, sneak into the bedroom and decorate with balloons and streamers. Cover the floor or stuff the closet with balloons. Form a trail of confetti that leads from the bedroom to the breakfast table.

* Provide surprise birthday wishes throughout the house. Hide birthday wishes in unexpected places. Using soap, craft a birthday greeting on the bathroom mirror, the kitchen window or the rear window of the car.

* Involve the whole family. If there are siblings or other relatives in the house, have them wait on the birthday child. Even the family pet could wear a special birthday hat.

* Create a festive environment fit for royalty. Consider dining at the fancy table in a room reserved just for special occasions. There you can pull out all the stops to make your child feel like a real prince or princess.

* Celebrate loud and clear. If possible, find a way to celebrate the exact moment of the child’s birth with lots of hoopla - perhaps blow some horns or bang the pots.

* Break the routine. This is a day unlike any other, so don’t follow the same routine. Get creative with the food you serve, its color and how you serve it. Instead of making the child wait to open presents, start the day by opening at least one very special present.

* Communicate what’s special about your child. This is the time for letting your feelings show. Take turns going around the table and let everyone in the family give one reason why the birthday child is special.

* Lunchbox surprise. Pack school lunches as normal but take a few extra minutes to wrap the birthday child’s sandwich in gift wrap. Imagine your child’s smile as he or she unwraps the most special sandwich at the lunch table.

* Start a new tradition. Make this birthday so special that your little ones will already be counting down the days until the next birthday. Consider doing the same thing every year.

— Brandpoint

Family Movie Night

“The Giver”

Rated: PG-13

Length: 97 minutes

Synopsis: Based on the popular book of the same name. In a seemingly perfect community, without war, pain, suffering, differences or choice, a young boy is chosen to learn from an elderly man about the true pain and pleasure of the “real” world.

Violence/scary rating: 3

Sexual-content rating: 2

Profanity rating: 2

Drugs/alcohol rating: 3

Family Time rating: 3. A decent film for the teen crowd.

(Ratings are judged on a five-point scale, with 5 being “bad for kids” and 1 being “fine for kids.”)

Book Report

“We Were Liars,” by E. Lockhart

Ages: 12 and up

Pages: 240

Synopsis: A beautiful and distinguished family. A private island. A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy. A group of four friends — the Liars — whose friendship turns destructive. A revolution. An accident. A secret. Lies upon lies. True love. The truth. “We Were Liars” is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. Read it. And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE. — Delacorte Press

Did You Know

According to a study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, preschoolers who are depressed are 2.5 times more likely to be depressed as they age than peers who aren’t depressed as preschoolers.

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