The big day has arrived, it’s your child’s birthday! The presents are wrapped and the party is planned but what about their siblings? When they’re really little, kids can have a hard time being patient, taking turns or accepting that today is not all about them because let’s face it, most of the time it is!
On birthdays, your other children may throw a tantrum, sulk or even refuse to participate. Don’t worry, you haven’t done anything wrong as a parent and they will grow out of it. In the meantime, there are some steps you can take to help your little one realise just how fun it can be to celebrate the people they love. After all, there is a lot of satisfaction to be found in making other people happy!
To promote fairness for the whole family, try to keep birthdays consistent. No matter how old your children (or you) are, stick to a rough plan for everyone that will give each family member an idea of what to expect on their own birthday.
Make wake-ups a big event, enjoy breakfast together, ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ over gifts and plan special birthday activities. Let the birthday child choose their favourite foods to eat on their own personalised plate and spend the day doing things they enjoy. If their sibling starts to make a fuss, remind them that it will be their day soon and then everyone will be focused on them!
If your little one is feeling left out, find ways to make them feel a part of the festivities. If they are really young, you can assign them small tasks before the big day such as drawing a pretty picture in their sibling’s birthday card, choosing which balloons to blow up or even simply stirring flour into the cake batter.
As they grow up, assign your kids the role of ‘official birthday helper’ to perform very important tasks, which may include hanging up decorations, icing the birthday cake or waking up the birthday child. This will help your little one to feel useful, wanted and hopefully a little excited to watch their sibling enjoy their day.
If your little one is complaining about what they don’t want to do, gently remind them what they get to do. After all, birthdays can be fun for everyone! When else do you get to go to a party, eat lots of yummy cake and play all day?
Over the last few years, you may have heard about a new trend, unbirthday gifts. This is a gift that is given to the non-birthday child to stop them from feeling left out or less loved than their sibling. While opinions may differ on whether or not this is a good idea, there are ways to involve the whole family in the gift giving process. Take your children to choose a toy that they can play with together or pick out a gift set that they can share. Take turns playing shops with a wooden cash register, personalised with your family name, or dress them up in matching robes to celebrate their special sibling bond.
As your children grow up, birthdays will become easier and easier. Rather than worrying about the possible problems that come with birthdays, think of these as opportunities to encourage your little one to develop empathy and to understand the importance of showing those we love just how important they are to us. The most valuable lesson we learn from having siblings is that sharing is caring – and it’s cool to care.
If one of your children has a coming up, share the joy with us by tagging us on Instagram @My1stYears and using the hashtag #My1stYears so we can see how your family celebrates this momentous occasion.
My 1st Years x