(BPT) - For many young children (especially those between the ages of 3 and 6), a birthday is the most important and anticipated day of the year, ranking even above Christmas or Easter.
The challenge, however, is that with more two-income families, increase in single parent households, and busier work and school schedules, finding the time and the creativity to make kids' birthdays extra special is difficult.
"There are many fun and easy ways to make your child feel extra special on their birthday. It is amazing how these little touches can make such big and lasting impressions," says Tish Dahlby, the author of Pinklejinx, a new children's book that tells the story of Joy, the birthday fairy. Here are some simple ideas to help your child feel special.
* Start the celebration early. While the child is sleeping, sneak into the bedroom and decorate with balloons and streamers. Cover the floor or stuff the closet with balloons. Form a trail of confetti that leads from the bedroom to the breakfast table.
* Provide surprise birthday wishes throughout the house. Hide birthday wishes in unexpected places. Using soap, craft a birthday greeting on the bathroom mirror, the kitchen window or the rear window of the car.
* Involve the whole family. If there are siblings or other relatives in the house, have them wait on the birthday child. Even the family pet could wear a special birthday hat.
* Create a festive environment fit for royalty. Consider dining at the fancy table in a room reserved just for special occasions. There you can pull out all the stops to make your child feel like a real prince or princess. The Pinklejinx birthday keepsake kit provides everything you need, including the storybook you and your child can read the night before to create a new family tradition of welcoming Joy, the birthday fairy.
The kit includes a brightly colored felt birthday banner along with a festive felt chair cover with ribbons and tassels that turns any chair into the seat of honor. A velvety crown provides the full royal treatment and is durable enough to be worn for hours or even days after the birthday festivities have ended. Breakfast can be served on the colorful cake plate or pedestal bowl, along with birthday candle-shaped utensils. The most important ingredient, of course, is the Pinklejinx sprinkles, which should be sprinkled just before making the birthday wish.
* Celebrate loud and clear. If possible, find a way to celebrate the exact moment of the child's birth with lots of hoopla - perhaps blow some horns or bang the pots.
* Break the routine. This is a day unlike any other, so don't follow the same routine. Get creative with the food you serve, its color and how you serve it. Instead of making the child wait to open presents, start the day by opening at least one very special present.
* Communicate what's special about your child. This is the time for letting your feelings show. Take turns going around the table and let everyone in the family give one reason why the birthday child is special.
* Lunchbox surprise. Pack school lunches as normal but take a few extra minutes to wrap the birthday child's sandwich in gift wrap. Imagine your child's smile as he or she unwraps the most special sandwich at the lunch table.
* Start a new tradition. Make this birthday so special that your little ones will already be counting down the days until the next birthday. Consider doing the same thing every year. Start by reading the Pinklejinx birthday story the night before the celebration and prepare for the coming of the birthday fairy. Or take a photo in the same location doing the same thing each birthday to see how much has changed in just one year.
For more ideas on how to make birthdays extra special, visit www.pinklejinx.com.