What your child REALLY wants on their birthday

Birthdays are extortionate affairs now. Exotic parties, lavish gifts and 'making the most of the entire day' seem to be the norm now. Pictures of piles of birthday presents with the tagline "ready for the birthday boy/girl" fill my newsfeed and the expectation is that we go ALL OUT to make our children feel loved, special and adored on this day.

Can I tell you a secret?
They don't really want that stuff.

Sure, it's nice to buy your kids gifts. If you have the money then go crazy! Buy the toys, the bike, the clothes, the electronics - spoil them rotten, it's absolutely your prerogative. Make a day of it. Make a week of it! Go on holiday, or to a theme park, or to the cinema. Cook them their favourite meal, throw them a lavish party and invite all of their friends. Give them money until it's coming out of their ears. If you've got it, then go wild - after all it makes for great posts on the gram too!

But if you've got all that stuff sorted, and you've not really thought about the child then maybe there's something missing. Knowing your child's love language is pretty key here, but the most important thing we can be doing on a child's birthday is to whisper "I love you" into everything we do that day. Sit next to them and hug them. Talk to them and listen. Ask questions and respond. Put your bloody phone down! Take time out to just BE with your child.

When I look back at my childhood there are really only a handful of times when I truly remember the gifts I was given. I remember a CD player I had for Christmas one year that literally brought me to tears. I remember a party my parents threw for my sister and I but I only really remember it because a friend had made these amazing cakes with icing versions of ourselves on the top. I just don't really remember the stuff. But what I do remember was time spent with my family. I remember it being the day we got to choose what was for dinner and we all sat together and talked. I remember being woken up by my siblings and jumped on until I got up and opened my presents before school. I remember laughter and fun and family time. I really just don't remember much of the stuff - and my love language is gifts so that's really telling ya something!

You can't replace love with stuff. Presents don't make someone feel special, quality time does. Listening and hearing. Being together and being present. If you wanna go lavish with it all then absolutely do, but don't forget the small stuff whilst you're doing it.

And for those of us who don't have thousands of pounds in order to go a little crazy anyway? Trust me, those simple birthdays will be remembered and appreciated for years to come. The one heartfelt present that you could afford but knew they'd love. The walk in the local park where you played as a family because a trip out was too expensive. The laughter, the memories, the quiet whispers of "I love you". That's the stuff of dreams.


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