COVID-19 and the Changing of the Birthday
Customarily, we’d host a birthday party. He’d be surrounded with laughter, conversation, and energy. And then, he’d be sung, “Happy Birthday” by our loud-voiced karaoke-loving family.
And though he would be surrounded by love, he would spend a good deal of that party closing his ears, tearing up, and intermittently asking for people to leave. Crowds and noise have always been a challenge for him.
We sought a neurodiverse community for inspiration on how people were celebrating their kid’s birthdays during COVID-19. And here’s what we’ve learned.
Because of the coronavirus, people have learned to celebrate with:
- A reduced guest list of their closest community
- Virtual access that enable loved ones to participate
- Parades that brings neighbors and onlookers smiles as well
- Hygiene and keeping everyone healthy as a top priority
- And a party budget to prioritize what is ultimately the most essential
Now having gotten to celebrate our son’s birthday during COVID-19, I have to say that I am actually grateful for us living in this season of the world. Celebrating Knightly’s birthday during COVID-19 led to a:
- Day of celebrating with just us: mom, dad, and son
- Room filled with $8 worth of balloons that, weeks later, he absolutely loves to play in
- Opening gifts delivered to our home where we could video record and share his reaction with the gift givers
- Connecting with loved ones via video chats
- Pre-recorded video with loved ones singing happy birthday at a pace and volume Knightly so happily enjoyed
And, most of all, because much of it was via video, we now have an easy and memorable record of the day, a record we can replay as a social story to frontload and prepare him to enjoy future birthdays.
So whether you want to celebrate alone, remotely, or through in person social distancing, here’s a first person step-by-step story of how to celebrate your birthday for toddlers, preschoolers, kids, and people of all abilities.
What have been your favorite ways to celebrate during COVID-19? Share the inspiration!
Photo submitted by contributor.