It has become almost a given that the first pregnancy, and often others, will involve family and friends coming together for a baby shower. It’s a special time to share in the excitement of the unknown! When will the baby arrive? Who will they look more like? Will it be a boy or girl? Expecting moms are shown love and support and their village, so to speak, helps shoulder the burden of preparations.
Preparing for a baby in the best of times is an exciting and challenging time, but my heart goes out to those who are preparing now through a time of great uncertainty, hospital upheaval, and social distancing. It is time for our villages to pull together to help make sure that everyone feels valued and loved. While celebrations can’t always come together as we anticipated, with a little creativity we can make sure these milestones aren’t forgotten!
How to Plan a Virtual Baby Shower
Set up a Registry on Babylist
If the parents-to-be are already registered here, fantastic! If not, hear me out: Babylist allows for any other registry to be linked within their registry so there is no duplicate work. They also allow for gifts of service, requests for gift cards, and the creation of “funds”. There is no better time than now to support a growing family with financial support. Common funds include diapers, daycare, and college.
We have also put together a great guide for ways to show support for local businesses right now. With so many restaurants and shops offering delivery, it’s easy to show love from a distance and registering for gift cards or specific local items makes that easy.
Virtual Baby Shower Tip: Ask the mom to include a “Care Of” line in her shipping address so she knows which packages should be saved for the shower.
Decide on a Virtual Meeting Provider
I am a huge fan of Zoom. They allow free accounts to have up to 100 participants for up to 40 minutes. Participants can use their computer, tablet, or phone camera to join and interact with one another. It’s also an easy platform for games because a host or participant can share their screen and sound. Participants don’t even need to create an account to join the event. Added bonus: there is an option to record the event!
Houseparty is also a great choice. If the plan is simply to get a group together and be able to see everyone, this is a great choice.
Put Together a Guest List
Think about the type of social gathering this should be. With a virtual baby shower, it may make sense to have multiple gatherings. While the plan might have been to invite maternal and paternal family as well as friends, maybe two or three virtual showers is a better approach. Also, let’s face it; we’ve got time!
Prepare an Interactive Activity/Game
While it may seem odd to play a game together, it can be fun! It can be super simple, interactive, and fun for everyone.
- Name that Famous Baby: Use the video I’ve created or make your own slideshow or video. You can share your screen in Zoom so everyone can play together. (Answer key found here for the linked video.)
- Build a Bracket: My brother-in-law introduced me to this game he is currently playing with his friends. The basic premise is: you decide on a theme and create a bracket of 16 different items, randomly sorted, that fit within that theme. Participants then vote for their favorite item of each pairing. Those who voted for the favored item then have one minute to persuade the opposition that their item is better. The opposition has a chance to do the same and then a revote. The item that wins the second vote then moves onto the next level. Continue in this fashion until a winning item. Here’s a sample bracket for best baby product.
- Advice for the Expecting Parents: Ask everyone to prepare a couple of words of wisdom to share (make sure to include this in the invite so they can be prepared!).
- Build a Library: Ask everyone send the baby a children’s book to start a library. Have them prepare a few words to share why they chose that specific book. Consider having a spreadsheet or location where books can be spoken for to avoid duplicates.
Create an Event
There are plenty of virtual invitation sites to choose from, but good ol’ Facebook may be the best choice right now. Facebook events allow for inclusion based on name (if you’re currently Facebook friends), e-mail address, and phone number. Evite is also a good option, but make sure everyone has an e-mail address. Make sure to give time for gifts to be ordered and shipped directly to the woman of the hour. It’s also great to encourage participants to contribute to funds or buy local gift cards rather than having to worry about shipping.
Sample of an Event Description:
We all love Insert Name(s) and are so excited for the arrival of this little baby! Even though we can’t all get together in person, I’ve put together a digital baby shower to make sure we still have the chance to celebrate and show our support.
Here’s how it works:
- I’ve created an event in Zoom. Use the following link to join the event at the designated date and time. You don’t need to create an account but you will be asked for an e-mail address to enter. Make sure to turn your computer/tablet/phone camera on so we can all see each other. If you don’t have a microphone connected to your computer or tablet, you will have the option of joining the audio by dialing in from your phone. Insert Zoom Meeting Link
- Insert Name is registered with Babylist. Consider mailing gifts in advance, purchasing gift cards for designated stores/restaurants, or contributing to the Insert type of fund set up in the registry fund through Babylist. Funds are directly deposited in the account designated. Insert Babylist registry link.
- We have a couple of games planned so please bring a pen and paper.
- Get comfortable. Make sure you’re in a location free of distractions and extra noise so you can truly be present.
- Please try to arrive a few minutes early to have time to problem-solve any potential issues.
Please feel free to post any questions in the comments below or send me a direct message.
Make an Agenda for the Shower
Depending on the dynamics of the group, it may work to just have everyone get together and let the party develop organically. For most groups, it’s probably best to have at least a flexible agenda to keep things moving. Think of the elements included in a normal shower or social gathering and what elements are important to include to keep the same spirit.
Virtual Baby Shower Tip: Think about having a theme or goal for the gathering. My personal favorite shower goal is to build the baby’s library. Have guests send a children’s book that is important to them and they want to share with the baby. Ask them to send you a description of why they chose the book that they did so you can compile that list to share. Offer to place a group order if needed to meet shipping requirements and assist older guests. Even if guests are contributing to a fund or sending a gift card, sending a book allows for something physical to open and enjoy.
Here’s an agenda to build from:
- Allow enough time for everyone to get on the virtual get-together. This means waiting a few minutes before diving into any activities.
- Break the ice: explain your relation and excitement. Give everyone else the same opportunity.
- Provide an activity.
- Open gifts.
- Thank everyone for their support.
I know the idea of doing a virtual shower may sound strange at first, but now is a great time to try new things. We need to make the extra effort to stay connected to the people we love. This idea can easily be adapted to celebrate other occasions or just spend time with a great group of people. I’ve hosted virtual game nights and coffee dates that have been so much fun. We can make wonderful memories rather than just passing the time.
Have you hosted a virtual event?
Share below any tips and tricks you’re using to stay connected!