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They'll Forget The Decor But Remember How They Felt: The Importance Of Birthday Celebrations
PHOTO BY /SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Did you know that it wasn’t until the 19th century that children’s birthdays were celebrated? Before that, birthday parties were usually the domain of adults.  

    According to an article in Psychology Today, “children’s birthdays were first formally recognized by the Germans, who coined the term kinderfeste, or children’s parties.”

    These days, it’s hard to imagine letting a child’s birthday pass without some form of celebration, whether it’s a party or a simple dinner in a restaurant with the family.  

    To some extent, the ritual has become so ingrained in the Filipino culture that it has become a must to celebrate specific birthday milestones—when a child turns one, seven, 16, 18, and 21. 

    Not just about the decorations

    The same Psychology Today article cited the results of a Lithuanian study where 309 medical students were asked how they felt during their birthdays and they responded that they “tend to feel better and more loved on the day of their birthday.” 

    Yes, parents, birthdays matter and while we don’t often give its importance much thought, celebrating a child’s birthday can impact him positively as he grow older. 

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    According to an article in Mom Junction, an Indian parenting site, children, especially toddlers, perceive birthdays as an annual experience which indicates a sudden change in the passage of time. 

    “Birthday parties are simply events that represent their growth enhancement which keeps them on par with their peers. This is why they must be taken seriously,” the article reads. 

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    'It’s easy to feel good about yourself when everyone you love has taken the time to come and celebrate with you.

    Beyond the colorful balloons, sumptuous cakes, and much-anticipated gifts, there are more reasons to celebrate a child’s birthday. 

    Mom Junction enumerates the different ways a celebration can positively impact a child. 

    5 positive effects of birthday celebrations

    1. Boosts their self-esteem.

    A celebration can increase self-esteem. “It’s easy to feel good about yourself when everyone you love has taken the time to come and celebrate with you. And that’s what birthdays do for your child,” reads the article.

    When family and friends gather to celebrate you, it’s easy to feel that you are important not only to the family, but to a community. 

    2. Strengthens family bonding and traditions.

    Imagine that sense of security a child feels when the family along with grandma, grandpa, uncle, auntie, and cousins gather around the table to witness him/her blow the birthday candle.

    And when the extended family comes together to celebrate you, it reinforces the importance of the family and the traditions it holds dear to the child.

    3. Promotes social relationships.

    Inviting the family’s relatives, neighbors, and friends helps your child get to know the people closest to you. “It gives them the opportunity to form relationships of their own and helps them relate better with your inner circle through love and kindness.” 

    4. Creates happy memories.

    The games, the laughter, the people who came and made time—the confluence of all these factors and more make for positive and happy memories for a child celebrating his/her special day.

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    “Creating memories that your child can look back and smile on should be your main goal,” stresses the article. They may not remember the color of the cake or the décor but they will remember how the occasion made them feel. 

    5. It gives them a perception of time. 

    Birthdays allow children to be aware of their growth in comparison to others, according to Mom Junction. “This is why birthdays are seen as a way to discover the process of growing up.” 

    Apart from this, birthday celebrations allow them to mark a milestone in their own lives and better understand the significance of why it merits an annual ritual like a party. Jacqueline Woolley, Ph. D., a Professor of Psychology and Director of the Children’s Research Lab at the University of Texas, in an article shared that a significant number of children between the ages of 3 and 5 believed that the birthday party itself actually causes aging.

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    “Children, like adults, are driven to seek explanations for personal, meaningful events,” she explained. “To children, the annual experience of the seemingly sudden change from one age to another is of great significance.” 

    As parents, we can be easily caught up in the cosmetics of our child’s birthday celebration—the cake, the décor, the food, the theme, and all the little details that make it bongga and beautiful. 

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    While that’s all good, it’s also important to focus on the positive experience it will give the child—so along with the frills, keep it memorable and filled with love, too. 

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