Shared Birthday Dilemma

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Create a Birthday Ritual

Birthday parties don't necessarily need to be on the exact day of your children's birth. Consider preserving September 8 of each year for a simple celebration for your immediate family. You're fortunate to have this one special day to celebrate the birth of both children, so use it as a time to reflect your family's values. One way you can do that is to create a birthday ritual for the family.

The birthday ritual might include lighting a special candle for each child, or saying a prayer of thanksgiving and protection for them. Keep a memory book for each child -- you can add new pictures and memorabilia charting their developmental benchmarks (e.g., first words, first steps, first steps, first bike ride, etc.) and achievements in school, sports, and extracurricular activities.

Family members can also use this time to share funny stories about each child. Cap the night off by planning a menu with their favorite foods and watching their favorite movies. By turning their shared birthday into a special family-focused day, you'll help your children will feel recognized and loved, and -- in the process -- the sibling bond may actually be strengthened between them.

Jan Faull, MEd, is a veteran parent educator and the author of four parenting books, including Darn Good Advice -- Baby and Darn Good Advice -- Parenting. She writes a biweekly parenting advice column for this site and a weekly parenting advice column in the Seattle Times. Jan Faull is the mother of three grown children and lives in the Seattle area.


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