When it comes to birthday celebrations in school, most people seem to think that “the bigger, the better”. Bigger goodie bags, an extravagant cake, or even a sumptuous lunch spread for that school birthday party all may not seem like much harm, until you realise that this whole endeavour may inadvertently turn into an unhealthy competition.

What’s a parent to do then, to celebrate his or her child’s birthday in school meaningfully? Don’t fret, it’s not mission impossible.

We have four suggestions to make your child’s birthday celebration in school a meaningful one for her and her friends that your little one will remember for a long time yet!

1. Pack a goodie bag with your child's favourite items

Make it a fun activity to do with your birthday child. Items can include a favourite snack, or a small toy or activity he particularly enjoys like Play-Doh or stickers. You can even print out colouring sheets of her favourite cartoon character from home to include in the bag. The idea is for the bag to contain a snack or activity your child really enjoys, to share some of it with his friends.

Bonus tip: get your child to pack the bag with you so that he can give out the bags to his friends with a big smile and say "I packed this just for you!"

2. Sweeten it up with a fun treat!

Pre-COVID, parties could sometimes include a full spread of party food in class but for now, a simple birthday cake or dessert is all that you can bring to class. That's great though, because you certainly don't need to break the bank for a yummy treat that all your child's little friends will enjoy!

Get creative with this - other than the usual character birthday cakes you can order from major bakery chains that are a sure crowd pleaser, you can also opt to get other types of cakes like one made up entirely out of fresh fruits, or an agar jelly cake. These sweet yet healthier desserts will be sure to put a smile on all faces!

3. Make thank you cards with your child

To amp up the personal factor, why not make some thank you cards for her classmates, to thank them for celebrating her big day with her? It'll make a wonderful bonding weekend activity too, for you and your child!

Homemade cards will definitely keep your budget low without scrimping on the meaning behind the celebration. The activity of making these cards also teaches your child how to be grateful for friends to celebrate her special day with her and to not take these little in-person celebrations for granted (after having had the experience of celebrating virtual birthdays during the circuit breaker in 2020!)

4. Share your child's favourite story or song with the class

This one’s unusual but worth trying, if the school allows. Ask the school if the teacher can play a recording of your child's favourite song for a fun sing-along session while he distributes the goodie bags to his friends. It'll add to the party atmosphere and cheer!

If the teacher is agreeable, you could also ask her to do a short reading of your child's favourite story to kickstart the celebrations. Or your child could read the story to his friends too, for a meaningful highlight to the day’s celebrations in school.