Just like the six degrees of separation – you know, the old theory that we are all only six steps away, figuratively speaking, from everyone on the planet; most everyone knows someone either directly or indirectly that was born on a day that comes once every four years; Leap Day. This year, February still has twenty-eight days in it, but it also has one extra day tacked on to the end of the month. February 29th is a day that many a kid will dread going to school if their birthday happens to be that day. Getting teased about it seems to go with the territory, even in today’s anti-bullying world. Have a child born on February 29th?
“Help your child understand that teasing is just a weakling’s way of trying to get some social status,” says Alyson Schafer, Psychotherapist, author of Ain’t Misbehavin’ and one of Canada’s leading parenting experts. “The best defense is to not let it rattle them. Have a one-liner ready to toss back to prove that you’re not defeated by their words.”
For instance, “when the teaser says, ‘Hey baby, it’s your birthday. I guess that makes you three today!’ Your child could reply, ‘Yup you got that right, Should make for a good long life!’ It’s a great line that is neither defensive nor a counter a counter attack.”
For the little ones still not quite able to grasp what a Leap Day birthday is, Tammy Gold, therapist and parent coach suggests celebrating your child’s birthday on a different day entirely. “…Celebrate on a different day until they are old enough to rationally understand.”
Shawna Bell, marketing director for Nerds on Call, Inc. has a unique twist to the school teasing that so many other kids endure. In fact, she was never teased about being born on February twenty-ninth by fellow classmates.
“My school embraced my birthday as a day for the whole school to celebrate,” says Shawna. “On my fourth Leap Year, the whole school celebrated; made me a great hat, read a poem and we had a party.”
When I was a kid, I recall a classmate that was born on Leap Day, as was his father and his grandmother. I guess they figured out what the fountain of youth was – just have a birthday once every four years!
Shannon Duffy is the Palm Springs Parenting Editor and co-author of The Couples Guide to Pregnancy & Beyond. Have a topic or event you’d like covered? Just send her an email email@example.com