Birthday Traditions to Start Now
If your child is turning 4 or older, cover her bedroom in balloons while she sleeps on the night before her birthday.
Read All About It
Send a report to close family members about your child's growth over the past year. Add a recent photo and let the birthday girl decorate it with a drawing.
Sift through the stash in your attic for a toy that meant something to you as a child. A piece of your history makes a sweet and meaningful gift.
Encourage the concept of giving year-round. Through various local charities, you and your child can help provide a birthday party to someone in a less fortunate situation. Visit guidestar.org to find a cause near you.
Indulge your child on her birthday and give her three free "yeses."
Plant a tree or flowers that will bloom annually around your child's birthday, and make sure you snap a pic each year.
Starting at age 3, interview your child, asking what his favorite color, ice-cream flavor, and hobby is. Repeat on every birthday and record his answers in a notebook or on video.
Tell a Tale
At the approximate time of her birth, recount the story of the day your child was born. Sing "Happy Birthday" and eat a treat to mark the special moment.
What a Card!
In lieu of a disposable paper greeting, give him a storybook with a handwritten message on the inside. Your child will have a memorable collection to remind him of birthdays past.
Turn gift-giving into a game. Provide a few clues to help your child find presents that you've hidden around the house and yard.
Make the approach important too. Hang a garland of seven envelopes, each with a small daily goodie, leading up to the grand finale.
Have Your Cake
Make each meal a celebration. Put candles on the morning pancakes and on his sandwich at lunch, as well as on the traditional cake after dinner.
Originally published in the March 2010 issue of Parents magazine.