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9 Tips for Celebrating Birthdays at School

Tips for celebrating your child's birthday at school

When I was teaching second grade, one of the most exciting days of the year for my students was their birthday.  It was the only chance many of the kids in my class were able to celebrate with their friends.  And it was a chance to make them feel like number one for a day.

Celebrating birthdays at school can be stressful.  Trying to make your child happy and follow all of the school rules on top of an already busy schedule can be extremely stressful for moms.  To help you navigate school birthdays, I have created a list of 9 tips for celebrating your child’s birthday at school.  Hopefully, they will help make the celebration time less stressful and more fun for all!

Check with the Teacher from the Start

Teachers (and schools) have strict policies about how to celebrate birthdays – the when, the where and the how.  During back to school night, check with the teacher about how they like to celebrate students’ birthdays, approved treats and when they prefer a celebration during the school day.  If you have a child with a summer birthday, check on when the best time to celebrate might be.

Find Out about Food Allergies

Many children have food allergies these days, so it’s important to find out from your child’s teacher about any potential allergies.  Many schools only allow pre-packaged foods.

It’s also important to read the labels carefully.  A lot of foods are processed on machines that also make nut products.  These can also be deadly for a child with a nut allergy, so be sure t check first.

Keep is Short, Simple and Sweet

The key to a successful classroom celebration is keeping it short and sweet.  This is not a full out birthday celebration.  If you decide to help run the celebration with the teacher, make sure you keep it simple (no games, cupcake bars, dessert tables etc.) and sweet.

It should look like this… go to school, sing Happy Birthday and pass out the snack.  Usually they take 15 minutes at the most.  If you are looking for more, then I recommend inviting your child’s friends over to celebrate the following weekend.

Consider Transportation

When deciding on a treat, keep in mind how your child gets to school and if you can help them the day of their birthday celebration.  If your child walks, rides their bike or takes the bus and there is no alternative for that day, then keep the treat simpler.  I don’t recommend sending a child who walks into school with 24 cupcakes.

Send Home a Small Treat Instead

When planning the celebration with your child, decide on whether your child would like to send home a small treat for their classmates to enjoy when they get home.  Some examples include a sheet of stickers, bubbles or small knick knacks from the dollar store.

This seems to be more of a classroom birthday trend lately and is used if the child isn’t planning on celebrating their birthday outside of school with a friend party.

Watch Your Timing

Be sure to plan the timing of your treat around an eating time at your child’s school.  Usually snack or lunch times work best.  Coordinate with your child’s teacher about the best option.

Also, make sure you choose a treat that matches the time of day.  For a mid-morning snack, I would stick with a healthier muffin or lightly frosted mini cupcake.  For a late day treat, you might be able to throw in more sugar.  But, just remember that parents and caregivers will have to manage the hyped up kids when they get home!

Leave the Candles at Home

Fire and classrooms just doesn’t seem like a good mix.  Many schools have rules against bringing matches and lighters onto school property.  It’s smart to leave the candles for you own celebration at home.  Have your child blow out an imaginary candle or, if their heart is really set on it, try a felt play candle.

Smaller is Better

Especially for little kids, stick with mini treats such as muffins, cupcakes or cake pops.  You could also go the healthy direction with these little homemade applesauce cups or sliced strawberries.  The one thing teachers hate the most is managing a class of 6 year olds after they just ate a jumbo cupcake.

Make it a Family Affair

If you do decide to make treats for your child’s celebration, then consider having them help you.  I always let Little Bug choose the treat, purchase the ingredients and help me on baking day.  It’s important that celebrating birthdays is a family affair to be enjoyed by everyone!

Although celebrating your child’s birthday at school can be fun, it can also be stressful.  Hopefully these tips will help you when planning your child’s celebration at school.

Most importantly, have fun!  The age when they want to celebrate their birthdays at school is so short.  You may miss those days down the road.

Happy Celebrating,


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