The birthday hangover — is it a thing?

‘Birthday season’ has just ended in our family with six of the seven of us celebrating a birthday in the last few months — the most recent being our eldest, now an official teenager!! So wild!

With all the birthdays taking place recently, I’ve noticed something interesting, and I’m curious whether you’ve ever noticed it too.  The day after their birthday, my kids are noticeably, more-than-usual cranky. It’s as if they look forward to their birthday for so long, anticipation builds, and the day comes and it’s so exciting and wonderful and they are so happy and everyone celebrates them… but then perhaps it’s all just so emotionally exhausting that the next day they suffer a big come-down. Perhaps it’s emotional exhaustion mixed with disappointment that it’s all over?

I even noticed it with Wilkie and he’s only one!! On his birthday, I swear he knew it was a special day — he was so loved on by everyone and he soaked up all the attention… and then the following day, he was so cranky and tired, almost even a bit confused why no one was giving him extra attention any more.

Our eldest, Easton, was so charming on his 13th birthday — so happy and easy to please and carefree. But then the following day he was probably the most moody and angsty I’ve ever seen him. Downright foul and mean. And the day after that, he was normal again.

The birthday hangover! Have you noticed it with your kids too?

Courtney x


Comments (12)

Annie from Brimful
June 21, 2018

Huh – I have never noticed my own children having bday hangovers, but perhaps it’s because we keep bday celebrations just to our family. What I do notice is that after a big holiday like Christmas, there’s some definite moodiness in the days after.

June 21, 2018

i notice that often my kids get actually sick with little colds right after the their birthday, almost every. single. time. and i’ve just come to expect it. but i’ll be on the look out for more of the moodiness.

June 22, 2018

I know this the day after christmas, our son(12) is always cranky and in a bad mood. When you ask him it is: oh I didn´t get this present, or the food wasn´t right. So we always think of keeping it smaller next year, and mostly it is smaller. 😀 But I believe that it is mostly, because he is overwhelmed by family food an presents.

June 22, 2018

I’ve noticed it before in my kids after birthday celebrations and holidays too. We usually run a pretty tight ship in terms of schedule and food, so I usually attribute their alter-ego attitude change due to less sleep than normal and way more sugar than their bodies are used to since we’re much more lax during special occasions. And I’m sure with your family, when you have so many celebrations back-to-back, that it would be especially jarring. I’m sure your wee cuties will be back to normal in no time!

June 23, 2018

I haven’t noticed yet, but maybe because I haven’t payed attention. Anyway, what you explain seems quite logical…

June 23, 2018

Birthday hangover is absolutely the thing in our family and I am so happy you mentioned it! I noticed it with my little one( she is three now), and even more with my oldest 8 year old. They do love a routine and feeling lost and emotionally empty I guess. I always try to plan little something afterwards. Like weekend trip or else to give them something to look forward. It helps a bit but can’t say it solves the problem.

June 23, 2018

No, not something I’ve ever noticed.

June 23, 2018

YES! Every single time. But, as someone else mentioned, this actually happens with our kids after big events/special celebrations of any kind. I guess they get emotionally drained. And to be honest, I too can feel a bit down afterwards. So glad you posted this, I sometimes get the feeling my kids are extraordinary sensitive.

Kendra Campbell Borja
June 30, 2018

My mother used to apply a scientific principle related to reactions to describe emotions saying, “For every high there is an equal and opposite low.” She always maintained that it happened after birthdays, major holidays or vacations. The more we look forward to something, the more the slump after. The return to “normal” can seem like a let down. Fortunately, it passes!

Courtney in Australia
July 2, 2018

Such a wise mother! That makes total sense. x

July 3, 2018

I am in the same boat over here and its bad. Its especially bad after Christmas for us also. There is always ungratefulness and attitudes and its so frustrating. I think its the “out of the ordinary” that gets them assuming that things will continue to revolve around them? Maybe that’s just my kiddos! lol

July 4, 2018

We usually celebrate the actual birthday just amongst the family and then do a small party at some later stage. My children manage that fine.

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