In a study by Dr Woolley about Children’s Concepts of Age, Aging, and Birthdays' were explored with 99 children between the ages of 3 and 5.
In the study: 3 2-year-old children were about to turn 3 years old. The first one was able to have a party, the second one was not, and the third one had 2 parties. Children were then asked to indicate how old each child would be. The results revealed that many of them said that the one who had not had a party would still be 2 years old, and they also responded that the one who had 2 parties would be 4 years old.
It would seem that for preschool-aged children, in light of there being no visual sign that a child has become one year older then a celebration is an important way of acknowledging this event.
Dr. Woolley believes that it is also worth considering the following advantages of birthday celebrations:
- They raise their self-esteem. When a child feels celebrated, they also feel loved and meaningful in their family role.
- They strengthen family bonds. Having family traditions is positive. No matter what the size of the celebration is, what is relevant, is the sense of being together to celebrate something special.
- They establish social relationships. Inviting a couple of friends and grandparents to a birthday party helps the child to develop feelings of companionship.
- They create positive memories. Creating memories from a celebration can be something really meaningful amd memorable.
- It helps them to have a perception of time. Children are not aware of their growth, so birthdays are a great way for them to discover the process of growing up.
Some parents feel pressured to create an amazing party but children are just excited by celebrations where they are taken into account, where their emotional needs are considered, and where they feel loved. So, simply blowing out a candle and eating a cake can be a celebration in itself.
What is important is not the most sophisticated birthday cake in the world, nor the most expensive gift from the most prestigious store, but the warmth of the environment in which the child feels included, safe, and respected.