updated 10 Aug 2010, 23:51
    Powered by
user id password
Wed, Feb 25, 2009
The Star
EmailPrintDecrease text sizeIncrease text size
Birthdays create lasting memories
by Ruth Liew

MY youngest daughter celebrated her 11th birthday last week. I want my children to savour the idea of birthdays being more than just presents and parties.

Birthday celebrations for children are getting more elaborate and expensive. I prefer to celebrate my children’s birthdays moderately and by creating memorable moments. Children in Montessori schools are familiar with the birthday walk. Whenever a child is celebrating his or her birthday, the whole class gets to experience the child’s life story in a time line from the day he or she was born.

They would watch the child holding a globe walking around a lit candle in the middle of a circle marked out by each month of the calendar year. This activity gives children lessons on history and geography.

Here are some interesting birthday activities that can create lasting memories:

Picnics: Picnics outdoors are wonderful for young and active children. Take your friends and relatives to the park for an exploratory walk. You can prepare fact cards for children to use as reference as they check out the floral and fauna.

Painting a plate: You can get your child to paint a plate, bowl or mug on his birthday.

This piece of crockery can be used during family meals. You can talk to your child about what he would like to remember of this birthday in years to come. This practice is extended to all members of the family. Even Dad and Mum can paint their own plate when it is their birthday.

Imagine having a family meal with your grown-up children and their children using birthday crockery which holds loving memories.

Family speeches: I still have fond memories of my father’s family meetings whenever he came home from long working trips. Those were the times when we voiced our grouses, shared our achievements and sought support from our parents. From the youngest to the oldest, we were given an opportunity to express our opinions.

Birthdays are special times when the whole family can share their feelings and thoughts. Have everyone make a positive speech to the birthday boy or girl. Share what you like best about him or her and your favourite memory. This practice can boost your children’s confidence and generate love among family members.

Sharing presents: Children often get too many presents for their birthdays. They can learn to share their presents with those who are not as fortunate as them.

Discuss with your child what he would like to do with his many presents. Family traditions are formed when certain activities and beliefs are continued. You may not realise that you have some family traditions as you carry out the same activity with every birthday. Children like traditions, the good ones only. They can generate a sense of belonging and continuity.

Sleepovers: Having friends over for a sleepover can be fun for children.

Slumber parties should be simple with one or two activities that the guests can do and take away as souvenirs. You can plan a cooking activity or a football game. For primary schoolchildren, sleepovers are a great time to catch up with friends.

Children in schools do not get much time to chat. With a heavy homework load and extracurricular activities, there is hardly any time for children to hang out.

Birthday book/video: Every child should have his or her special scrapbook/journal/photo album. Children enjoy browsing through a collection of anecdotes and holiday photos. This special book will make a delightful present for the birthday child.

If you have a handycam, you can document your child’s daily activities along with interviews of people he loves sharing their birthday wishes. When parents work at keeping positive family rituals and activities, they lay a foundation for their children to be rooted in goodness and faith. There’s more to life than just academic achievements and material comfort.

Time spent with children will help them gain confidence. They will develop into individuals who will be able to contribute to society.

readers' comments

Copyright © 2010 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co. Regn. No. 198402868E. All rights reserved.