For all the complaints about helicopter parenting, any parent today can tell you there’s also a long list of things we’re not allowed to do for our children these days. Especially when it comes to birthdays at school.
You can find a school that has banned any of these ways of celebrating with classmates:
- Sweet treats (too sugary).
- Homemade treats (could be allergens!).
- Store bought treats (sugar, allergens, undue financial pressure on classmates).
- Paddy whacks.
Recently, in honor of back to school, a local ABC affiliate ran a segment on a non-food related way of marking the special day — paper plate crowns. Yes, you too can have the birthday fun of cutting up a paper plate and coloring on it and adding some stickers.
I’m all for the premise behind the interviewee’s business: “We love coming up with ways to use very based supplies to have a great time and make a cool craft.” Plus, she made a smart suggestion of getting the markers at back to school sales, so that each child could get their own set to take home.
Still, I’m not buying her argument that this is perfect for all ages. Plus, since she poohed poohed the TV host’s suggestion of sparkles (“teachers won’t like that”), there’s little to make the birthday child’s crown stand out.
So, while I applaud the creativity of coming up with a non-sugar solution to the rampant ban on birthday commemorations at school, I suggest we keep our thinking caps on a little longer to come up with something more personalized and appropriate for wider age ranges.
Of course, I’m still in favor of the sweets once in a while in the classroom. My concession would be to have a cake once a month to celebrate all of the birthdays in the class within those 28-31 days. Then, on each of that month’s celebrants’ actual birthdays they could sing “Happy Birthday” to give the child the individualized birthday love they deserve.