Are you still trying to throw a Birthday Party during the Coronavirus?
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, a lot of social activities have been postponed, curtailed, or canceled outright to limit the spread of the disease. Schools are no longer open, businesses are directing employees to work from home, religious services have been put on hold, and people are being encouraged to stay at home as much as possible.
These social distancing measures are necessary to ensure communities are protected from being infected by the disease in large numbers, but they can also be a great inconvenience, standing in the way of personal plans that we may have.
How do you explain to your kids that they can’t have a birthday party because the world is in the middle of a pandemic and you’re trying to keep them safe? They probably won’t be able to understand that and will expect you to come up with a way to celebrate their special day regardless.
Planning a birthday party in such a precarious time can seem daunting, incredibly stressful, or downright impossible, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. We’ve put together a guide to help you throw a birthday party during this coronavirus crisis without compromising on safety or fun.
- Examine your particular situation and comfort level
- Keep the number of invited guests small
- Set ground rules with other parents and take precautions
- Thoroughly sanitize the party venue before and after
- Focus on experiences instead of activities
- Keep checking in on the health status of your guests after the party
- Go the virtual party route
You can still make the best out of a bad situation by throwing your little one a fantastic birthday party that you can all remember and cherish for years to come. It’s also an opportunity to forget about the stress and worries caused by the coronavirus outbreak for a while and find some joy in the little things and people around you.
1. Examine your particular situation and comfort level
Your decision to throw a birthday party should be based on the level of risk you would be putting yourself and your family by doing so.
If everyone at home is in good health and doesn’t have any conditions―diabetes, cancer, heart or lung problems, compromised immune systems―that might hinder their body’s response to illnesses, then you’re at low risk for serious symptoms should you come in contact with the coronavirus.
However, if you have a person of advanced age―like grandparents―living with you or some other member of the family who is at high risk, inviting a lot of people to the house might not be a great idea. In that case, you should be more cautious when throwing a party and take extra measures to limit their exposure to the disease.
Although kids in good health are less likely to suffer any of the more serious symptoms associated with the virus, they could still be carriers and can easily pass on the infection to other people who face a much higher risk for developing serious symptoms.
You need to take these complexities into consideration when planning your party to avoid contributing to the spread of the disease. Don’t hesitate to do what’s best for your family and community, regardless of the inconvenience that it may cause.
2. Keep the number of invited guests small
If after examining your situation and the potential risks, you decide it’s safe enough to throw a birthday party, try to limit the guest list to a small group of people.
For an indoor party, consider inviting 5 children or fewer, while outdoor gatherings should involve a maximum of 10 to 15 guests. Operate under the assumption that there are already people who are infected within your community, so limiting your exposure to potential carriers can be your best bet to surviving the pandemic.
Now is not the time to invite everyone at your kid’s school or on your contact list to come and celebrate this special occasion with your family. You’re better off inviting only your closest friends or making the birthday strictly a family affair.
3. Set ground rules with other parents and take precautions
Before inviting anyone over, have a conversation via text or call with other parents and let them know that you’ll be happy to have their children at the party as long as they don’t have a cough or fever no matter how slight.
According to a study, the coronavirus can manifest as cold symptoms in some people, so a runny nose, cough, fever, congestion, or other flu-like symptoms should be taken as a warning sign.
Even if all the kids who show up are showing no sign of illness, you should not relent on your efforts to limit the spread of germs. Once the guests arrive, have everyone wash their hands properly with soap and water. The adults should supervise the hand-washing to make sure the kids are doing it correctly.
As the party progresses, take breaks from time to time so everyone can watch their hands again especially before eating or drinking anything. This precautionary measure may seem excessive, but remember that overreacting will have lesser consequences than under-reacting.
Regular hand-washing is one of the simplest and most effective ways you can protect yourself from contracting the disease and prevent it from spreading. Prevention can save you a lot of headaches in the long run, so don’t be afraid to insist that your guests wash and sanitize their hands as often as possible.
4. Thoroughly sanitize the party venue before and after
Where the party takes place is also very important. Consider hosting an outdoor event out in the yard or in a large, uncrowded park because there’ll be fewer surfaces for germs to accumulate on, so lower risk of catching infections.
If you’ve been spending most of your time at home and avoiding the rest of the world, an outdoor party can provide a much-needed break for everyone, helping to relax your nerves and release pent-up stress.
Avoid popular local playgrounds because they’ll be teeming with germs and properly cleaning them to eliminate pathogens might be too stressful a task to undertake on your own.
Your home can also be a great location for a birthday party as long as you’re not expecting a lot of people. Make sure you clean and disinfect your house, especially public areas before the party starts and after the guests leave.
Toys and other items that kids naturally gravitate towards―dolls, video game consoles, board games, stuffed animals―should be given a proper wipe-down. Door handles, tables, chairs, light switches, and other objects that see a lot of action should also be given special attention when sanitizing.
5. Focus on experiences instead of activities
Instead of trying to fill the birthday party with guests and activities to enhance the fun and excitement, you can just focus on creating a memorable experience for your little one.
Let your decorations take center stage. It should be full of color and able to make the room come alive―think, ribbons, banners, and ornaments. Pick a theme that your child would love like dinosaurs or baby shark and try to infuse it into your decor to make it even more special.
Consider getting personalized t-shirts for the whole family, then you can all take cute pictures doing all kinds of silly stuff together like playing games or stuffing the cake in each other’s faces.
Use the birthday party as an opportunity to bond with your loved ones. Even if you can’t have guests over, you can still have an amazing time and create lots of memories that you’ll always treasure, which is all a birthday is really about.
6. Keep checking in on the health status of your guests after the party
It can take a while for persons infected with the coronavirus to start displaying symptoms. You might have someone at your party who seems healthy at the time, but tests positive to the disease weeks later.
Even after you’ve thrown a successful birthday party, your watch is still not over. You need to contact the other people and families present and ask them to inform you if anyone develops any symptoms in the coming weeks, so you know to be extra-vigilant for symptoms in members of your family as well.
If after two or three weeks, nobody reports anything out of the ordinary, then you’re probably in the clear and can go about minimizing potential risk factors on other fronts.
7. Go the virtual party route
If there’s too much at stake with in-person interactions or you simply don’t want to take on the risk, you can still throw a fun birthday party for your kid thanks to the many gifts of technology.
Set up a date and time with other parents, and then have everyone download Facetime, Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts, or your preferred video chat platform so you can all connect through your screens.
The kids can see and talk to each other while engaging in parallel activities like coloring or playing with toys. For older kids, they can play online games live with their friends while on the video call and still have just as much fun as they would have if they were all in the same room.
Everyone can sing happy birthday and your kid can blow out the candles and cut the cake on their end while everyone else cheers. The only downside is that your guests won’t get to eat the cake, but you can make up for that next year once the coronavirus crisis is over.