Virtual Baby Shower Ideas For When Loved Ones Can't Be There
Traditional baby shower are getting a virtual twist while the country fights the coronavirus pandemic with social distancing measures. From how to host the perfect video hangout to what games to play, here's how to make your remote celebration a memorable one.
From drive-by birthday parades to virtual graduation ceremonies, everyone is looking for innovative ways to simultaneously celebrate and practice social distancing. Baby showers are no different. "Connection looks very different these days, so moms and dads-to-be aren't finding it easy to celebrate," acknowledges Amy Lundy, a mom of three and founder of The Mother of All Baby Showers, a company that hosts nationwide events for expectant and new parents.
But there are ways to ensure the show goes on—virtually. "Virtual showers look different, but you will still feel the love and excitement from your attendees," says Lundy. "You might be surprised how much 'presence' you can feel using modern technology, and your guests will be delighted to spend time together and celebrate you."
Get inspired by these fun virtual baby shower ideas that will make for a memorable celebration.
Choose a Virtual "Venue"
If you want to connect with your guests via video conferencing, consider which platform will work best for your crowd. "Three ways to have a live baby shower where people can participate in real time is through Zoom, Facebook Live, or Google Hangouts," notes Lundy. Other options include Skype and WhatsApp.
Expert tip: If your party is taking place on Zoom, take advantage of the opportunity to add a custom background. (Go to the up arrow next to the "Stop Video" button in the bottom left corner of the screen, then click "Choose Virtual Background.") Users of the platform also adore the "touch up my appearance" button, which puts a smoothing, brightening filter on your face.
Concerned about privacy? You can customize your settings so only those you invite to join will be able to watch and comment, says Lundy.
Hit Record for an Instant Keepsake
Celebrating on a video platform also offers another sweet perk: Most have the ability to record, so you can memorialize the moment. "Get the attendees' permission to record the event," advises Diana Spalding, MSN, CNM and co-author of The Motherly Guide to Becoming a Mama: Redefining the Pregnancy, Birth, and Postpartum Journey. "What an amazing memory for the parents to be able to look back on—and share with their new baby."
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Pick Old and New Games to Play Together
There's no reason to feel like you have to miss out on engaging baby shower games because you're not meeting up in person. "A lot of the classic shower games can be played over Skype, Google Hangouts, etc. like measuring the belly and placing bets on the due date and weight," says Evan Porter, founder of Dad Fixes Everything. "But you can also liven things up with some online games like Drawful, free on Jackbox right now, that everyone can play remotely on their own screen."
Another cool tool to consider using during game time: Slido, which is compatible with video conferencing platforms like Zoom and Skype and allows people to guests to weigh in with questions or take polls. "Just because you are not in the same room doesn’t mean you can’t test the new parents how much they know about babies," says Elle Wang, Founder of sustainable maternity brand, Emilia George. "With Sildo, guests can type fun questions to quiz the couple. Plus, they can’t cheat since they are live on camera!"
And if you're up for planning ahead, consider printing out certain follow-along activities, like Bingo or matching games, and sending them off to guests. Email works, too! Spalding suggests a party-from-home twist for your Bingo game: The cards can have timely items printed on them like "I have a dog in the background" or "I’m wearing a fancy shirt and sweatpants on this video call."
Design a Creative Drink or Dish
A signature drink menu—think a mocktail and a cocktail for guests who aren't expecting—makes for a memorable detail at any party. You can replicate the fun by landing on a recipe ahead of time and sending it off to guests so they can prep it at home and everyone can enjoy it together, advises Porter.
A special baby shower snack, appetizer, or dessert could serve the same function. Just be sure to take guests' potentially limited pantries into consideration, striving for common ingredients people are more likely to have on hand, like cheese, veggies, or crackers.
Assign Tasks Ahead of Time
When it comes to running the games portion of the party, having point people ready to go is key—even in-person, but especially when you're celebrating online. "You can ask friends to each play a role in terms of running the shower games," says Lundy. For instance, maybe the expectant grandparents are in charge of Bingo. And the siblings spearhead various rounds of "Name That Tune," in which you set up a playlist of songs that have "Baby" or "Babe" in the title—like Britney Spears' "Baby One More Time" or The Ronettes' "Be My Baby"—hit "play," and the first guest to guess the track (perhaps via the Zoom chat box) wins.
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Get Everyone to Dress Up
Most of us are spending our days in yoga pants and loungewear—and expectant parents are sure to be on the comfy clothing bandwagon more than ever. But a virtual baby shower presents an opportunity to dress up, if the guest of honor wants.
Wang recommends that the baby shower host gift a beautiful baby shower dress or outfit to the expectant parent. "With so many stores temporarily closed, both brick-and-mortar and online, finding the perfect dress for a shower can be tough," says Wang. "As the host, you can alleviate some of this stress by gifting a beautiful baby shower dress to the future mom to help her feel beautiful and happy for her special day."
You might also suggest the attendees wear neutral colors, so the guest of honor stands out in the "crowd" of virtually connected loved ones.
Open Gifts as You Usually Would
The literal "showering" of expectant parents doesn't have to change just because a party is virtual. "Everyone can simply send gifts ahead of time, buying exactly what you want from your online registry, and you can open them live during the online shower," says Lundy. Just as you would during a traditional gathering, you'll do well to designate a point person for tracking who gifted what.
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Consider Entertainment Options
Just because you're meeting online instead of at a traditional venue doesn't mean you can't have live entertainment. "Invite a performer to join virtually," suggests Wang. You could hire a musician, a caricaturist who can sketch guests, a dance, meditation, or yoga teacher to lead a quick routine, or a Tarot card reader or astrologer to do a handful of guests readings.
Let Guests Take the Stage
"Ask attendees to share a piece of advice, a memory of the honoree, or simply a sweet message during the party," suggests Spalding. "Not everyone will be comfortable talking a lot on video, so providing a prompt—especially with a few days' notice—will make sure that everyone has an opportunity to chat a little with the soon-to-be-parent."
Throw a Drive-by Baby Shower
Perhaps in addition to your online fête, or as an alternative, consider inviting guests to come by for a social distanced greeting. "Decorate your home in all things baby, including adorable yard signs, or let your family/friends do it," advises Lundy. "Ask people to come by at a certain time and let people drive by, wave."
You can still exchange gifts and favors this way, too. Lundy suggests putting out a table full of individually wrapped/packaged treats for your guests to snag one at a time. As Lundy notes, "Also, make sure to leave a covered spot for gifts, because you deserve to be showered."
Don't Forget to Keep the Love Coming!
Perhaps even more important than the party itself is how loved ones step up for the parents-to-be now and in the months ahead, points out Spalding. "Remember that a new parent’s need for support is ongoing," she says. "This pandemic will end, and we will be able to see each other in person again. Maybe the baby shower needs to be virtual, but in a few months you can have a fourth-trimester shower where people come over, help around the house, bring frozen meals, and most importantly, remind the new parents that they are still not alone."