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Family Traditions: How to Make a Birthday Special for Kids

Use family birthday traditions to make a birthday special for kids.

Birthdays.  We all have them.  As a kid, you couldn’t wait to be “one year older”.  You were proud to say “I’m 5 and a half!”.  As the years go by, you get to a place where you don’t want to admit your age.  Um, yeah, I’m 35… Then comes the time when you’re again proud.  I’m 75 today!  Look how far you’ve come! Sound familiar?

Family birthday traditions

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How to Make a Birthday Special for Kids

You may think of family traditions as being holiday-related, but traditions are important to families all year long.  ChildHelp.org shares some of the many ways traditions can positively affect your relationships.

No matter your age, we all enjoy (at least I hope you enjoy) celebrating our special day!  Adding family Birthday traditions to your celebration can make birthdays even more memorable.  You may have to work around other activities, but the celebration can happen in the weeks surrounding the actual birth date.  I have a good friend who celebrates “Birthday Month” with a little something special each day.

Here are some ideas for Birthday traditions you could use for making a birthday special for your Grandkids.  Every Grandparent situation is different, so choose one or two that could work for you and your Grands.  Making a birthday special is easy!

A One-on-One activity.

A special activity with just one child on their birthday.  This gives you an opportunity to connect on a deeper level, sharing moments that are difficult to come by when you’re in a large group of people.

  • Pick them up after school and go to the park, for a walk, to a movie, or some other fun place.
  • Take them for ice cream.
  • I know a grandma who took her granddaughters to Build-A-Bear on their birthdays and let them – you guessed it – build a bear (or other stuffed critter of their choosing).
  • Pack a picnic lunch in a cute picnic basket like I have and head to – the beach, the river, the park, the backyard – for a picnic.

Turn your Birthday Gift into a Tradition.

Starting Birthday Traditions creates a special bond between the generations.  They probably won’t remember what you gave them for their birthday when they are older, but they WILL remember if your gift was an annual birthday tradition.

  • Give a favorite book each year.  Write the date, a note, and sign the inside.
  • Buy them a new pair of shoes, or an outfit each year.
  • Purchase a savings bond, CD, or make a contribution to their college fund.
Make it a Birthday to Remember: It's a Family Tradition! Click to Tweet

Making a birthday special with birthday traditions.

Cook for them.  Or WITH them.

Cooking a special treat, just for this Grandchild’s birthday, will leave them with the warm fuzzies.  They’ll appreciate being the center of your focus for this special day.  This is how to make a birthday special!

  • Make their favorite cookies, just for them.  But encourage them to share, of course.
  • Ask them to choose their favorite meal and make it for them.
  • Have them join you in making something special for their birthday – cinnamon rolls, caramel apples, smores, or brownies.  You could even make something healthy, like a fruit and yogurt smoothie.

Plan a trip to mark special birthdays like 10 or 13.

Time spent together, making memories, laughing, having fun, and enjoying each other over an extended period of time, is sure to please.  Laughing and fun are good for the soul.  Read about that here.  Shared with family, there will be moments to last a lifetime.  They will remember the effort you put into making a birthday special.

  • Spend the weekend together doing something of interest to your grandchild.  Go fishing, camping, to a museum, or to a baseball game.
  • Take them on vacation with you to the beach, the mountains, or a place they have chosen.
  • Let your grandchild help plan an activity with you – go to an amusement park like Six Flags or Disney World.


Write to your Grandchild.

Handwritten letters from people you love will be treasured always.  It takes an effort to do, but the blessings return to you many times over.  Writing to your Grandkids for their birthday can be a way to connect and make their birthday special even if you’re a long-distance grandparent.

  • Send a birthday card or letter in the mail.  In today’s world, snail mail is becoming obsolete.  Getting something in the mailbox is a real treat!  Here are som great ideas for letter writing.
  • Start a journal and make entries each year, including a recap of the fun things you’ve done together throughout the year.  Include your advice and words of wisdom, then give this to them on their 18th or 21st birthday.
  • Email them.  Text them.  Send a Facebook Happy Birthday wish.  (You ARE on Facebook, right?)  Surprise your Grands by showing them you, too, can use technology.

Use Amazon’s Wish List Feature.

Did you know that you can create a wish list on Amazon?  How great is that?  Simply ask your grandchild (or his/her parents) to start a wish list.  You can find their list online and use that for gift ideas.  This feature is really good for those times during the year when you hear them say “I’d really like…”.  Add that item to your gift idea list.

Take (or request) a Photo

Last, but not least, be sure to get a picture on or around their birthday.  Watching them grow and change each year is priceless!  Make a sign with their age, or have them hold up fingers so you will remember the birthday when that photo was taken.  Preserving birthday traditions begins with preserving the moments.  Photos are a way to capture that moment in time.  You’ll have a record of that memory to look back on in the years to come.

There are other moments that should be captured in photos.  There are the obvious ones, but there may be some you haven’t considered.  Photo Memories.

Family traditions and making a birthday special remind your Grandkids how much you care for and love them.  You can be a positive influence in their lives by finding a way to be in contact regularly. Start connecting when they are young to reap the greatest benefits.  Start a Birthday tradition in your family and Pass Down the Love.

What birthday traditions do you have in your family?  How do you go about making a birthday special?  Share with me in the comments, please.

And, as always,

Keep Passing Down the Love,

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