Celebrating your children’s birthdays after divorce will likely feel different. Depending on your agreement, you may not get to see your child(ren) on their actual birthday, and I know that is hard. Birthdays are such a special time to be together in person, but just because it is different doesn’t mean it’s not still special.
Wondering what to do for your child’s birthday?
To start with, you may consider really getting on board with the idea of a birthday weekend or a birthday week. That takes a little bit of the emphasis off of the “day” being the end all be all, and it allows for a wider opportunity of celebration. That way, if you don’t see your child on their birthday, they know for sure that you’ll still be celebrating during their birthday week/weekend.
Secondly, while you may feel sad/guilty that your child will not be celebrating their birthdays together with both of their parents, it’s okay to position the opportunity for multiple celebrations as a fun bonus. (“Wow, you get to have cake with mom and then again when you’re with dad. Two cakes!”) Kids often feel that more is more. More cake = good. More presents = good. And the internet is filled with ideas for parties on any budget. Go to Pinterest and feel the overwhelm of possibilities.
Thirdly, take a minute and think about what has made your child’s birthday special in the past and continue those traditions. At my house, when it’s someone’s birthday, I hang up 3 birthday signs for them to wake up to. These are signs I bought at one of those stores where everything is one dollar. This $3 tradition is one that I have been able to maintain no matter what home we were in, and we have been in several. My kids know that when it’s their birthday, those signs will be up for them when they wake up on their birthday, or when they return from their dad’s house.
Finally, think of something fun and new you can do. It does not need to be anything extravagant, maybe you start doing a sundae bar to celebrate their birthday. Or have a movie night with popcorn. Whatever it is, your child will know you’ve spent time thinking of them because you love them, and that is the most important thing. This is what they will remember beyond the actual date.
Wondering how to handle other holidays? Read this article.
Celebrating Children’s Birthdays after Divorce can be challenging but but it’s an opportunity for you to make new memories, embrace previous traditions and start new ones!