Has the coronavirus put a damper on your child’s birthday party? Like many parents are now experiencing, telling your child their birthday party either has to be canceled or postponed is hard. Explaining the coronavirus is hard enough, but telling them they can’t celebrate their birthday because of it makes zero sense to them. Why would it? There are many of you who are struggling with the idea of how to still make your child feel special on their birthday now that we’re all quarantined from our favorite people.
My best friend Lauren sent out a mass text to family and friends early last week asking who’d be able to attend an in-person party for her daughter, Joey’s, fourth birthday. Because we’re social distancing ourselves, Lauren was left with a sad kid who couldn’t understand why she couldn’t celebrate with her friends over cake and presents.
I happened to be watching the end of the nightly news after the responses to her text were sent out and they highlighted a feel-good story about a kid who had a parade for their birthday instead of a party. Immediately, I texted Lauren the idea and she began rallying Joey’s favorite people.
Sunday, nine cars parked along the main entrance to their neighborhood just around the corner from their house. There were cars with handmade signs and some with kids hanging out of windows and sunroofs. A 10-year-old “Miss America” even made an appearance!
As we turned the corner to their street, Joey was in her front yard surprised to see her family and friends honking horns and yelling “Happy Birthday” out the windows. Neighbors gathered at their doors – also cheering for Joey. As we drove down her street with our hazard lights on, we dropped off presents with her dad at the curb as we danced, waved and yelled from afar.
As we left the parade, I turned to my husband and said, “More birthdays should be in the form of a parade!” Joey’s face was priceless and her parents teared up, knowing that this simple way of celebrating their daughter meant so much to all of them.
As you are trying to find ways to celebrate your child’s birthday, rally your friends for a neighborhood parade. You can decorate the cars, decorate the people in your cars and even play Happy Birthday songs from inside. For us, we chose Hannah Montana’s “Party in the USA” as requested by my 5-year-old. This truly was a birthday that Joey – and her parents – will never forget!
Photos by Betsy Gregory
How have you celebrated your child’s birthday during quarantine? We’d love for you to email your creative ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org!
For even more creative ways to celebrate a birthday during quarantine, check out this article filled with a dozen social distancing party ideas. Or, read about one family’s experience participating in a drive-by birthday parade.