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How to Host a Virtual Baby Shower
Right now we’re all coming to grips with social distancing and no doubt feeling as though our lives have been put on pause, but life goes on.
Now, more than ever, the birth of a new child needs to be celebrated. Becoming a parent for the first time is daunting enough, but throw in the need to self-isolate because a risky virus is on the loose, you can bet Mums-and-Dads-to-be are feeling a little anxious.
So, when one of our readers recently asked us for some ideas on how to host a virtual baby shower, I put my sleep deprived brain into gear (I have a 7 month old) to come up with some top tips for hosting a baby shower that will leave parents-to-be feeling loved and connected – even from a distance.
1. Make it a special occasion
Even though you and your guests will not be able to crowd around the mum-to-be in person, it is still important to make the event a special occasion. Set a date and send invitations to everyone (including the mum-to-be). Whether you send the invitation by snail mail or electronically, make sure it’s more than a text message or a standard email. The invitation will set the tone and also ensure people pop the date and time in their diary.
Make sure their partner is also involved, as you will need to call on them to ensure elements of the event go smoothly.
2. Set a dress code
Let’s face it, during isolation we’re not getting dressed up all that often, but if you were going to a baby shower you would wear something nice (and do your hair). Remind your guests of this and set a dress code – encourage people to look their best, or make it fancy dress for a giggle.
3. Allocate a Host and outline some online etiquette
Ahead of your online baby shower, allocate a host and inform your guests of some online meeting etiquette. This should help to avoid everyone talking over each other or worse, someone accidentally going to the toilet while on video!
Some things to include could be; how to mute the call, how to pause your video and what to do if you need to leave the session temporarily.
It may also be a good idea to create a schedule for the event and email it to guests in advance. Although this might feel like you’re running a business meeting with an agenda, it will help everyone understand what’s happening without the host having to explain each step along the way. The more informed your guests are prior to the session, the smoother it will run. Best not to “wing-it”.
4. Catering is still important
Who doesn’t love tucking into the delicious finger food and nibbles that are usually served at a baby shower? Depending on budget and resources you could arrange for a delicious selection of treats to be delivered to each of your guests in advance. Or, you could design a simple menu that you provide to your guests in advance to prepare themselves – that way everyone feels they are contributing and sharing the same experience. Think finger sandwiches, cakes, pastries and easy-to-prepare nibbles.
For the mum-to-be? If you’re not in a position to drop-off a delicious gift pack of goodies, ask their partner to prepare the spread for you.
5. Baby shower games that can be played online
A lot of baby shower games can easily be adapted to play online with a little preparation (just like you would if you were hosting the party in person).
Prepare the games well in advance and either email or post the game sheets to your guests so they can have them ready. Make a list of everything your guests will need to participate (pens, paper, etc) or provide these things in a pack you deliver to them prior to the party.
For inspiration, check out these two great lists of baby shower games. Not all of the games will be easily adapted, but as a lot of baby shower games are guessing games or paper-and-pen type games, we think you’ll find quite a few that will be suitable for your virtual baby shower.
6. If games aren’t your thing… how about a virtual experience?
Games aren’t for everyone, and some mums-to-be specifically request not having them. So, other than hosting a lovely catch up online (with treats and decorations), another idea would be to host an online class that everyone can do together.
Or, for more options on craft, cooking and art classes, check out Class Bento.
7. Don’t forget gifts!
Arranging a baby shower gift registry is a brilliant idea while we’re all enduring social distancing – it will mean no one needs to risk their lives to venture to the shops. If you arrange for all gifts to be sent to the mum-to-be in advance of the Baby Shower you can still partake in the “opening of the gifts” online.
For those of your guests who prefer not to use a gift registry, encourage them to have their gifts delivered to the mum-to-be prior to the day, ready for opening.
8. Extra touches
If you want to create more of an atmosphere, arrange for some decorations too! You could have balloons delivered to the Mum-to-Be, along with some other simple decorations that their partner can put up for you. You could challenge your guests to also decorate their video background (the area you can see behind them on screen). Again, this helps create a sense of occasion and lets people feel involved.
Usually at baby showers, guests who win games and challenges get a little prize. If you’re hosting your baby shower online you won’t be able to hand out physical prizes, so instead consider creating a tally board – the guest who collects the most points by the end of the baby shower will get a prize delivered to them (or an online voucher).
You could use this system to encourage guests to get involved by awarding points for “best dressed”, “best decorations”, “best baby advice” and of course, the winner of games played. Let them know in advance of the competition (and even the prize), to get everyone motivated to do their best.
10. Use a reliable and easy-to-use online video conferencing platform
Without a reliable and easy-to-use video conferencing platform your virtual baby shower isn’t going to be very successful. When choosing a video conferencing platform consider the following:
- How easy is it for people who have never used video conferencing software before to use (think about Nanna*)?
*If Nanna isn’t going to manage joining your online baby shower, you could ask someone to help Nanna pre-record a message to the Mum-to-Be to be played during the session or record the session so that Nanna can watch it later.
- How many people can be online at once? Some platforms have restrictions.
- How long can the event run for? Some free options have time restrictions.
Here are a couple online meeting platforms to consider for your virtual baby shower:
Skype Meet Now | Free to use, not everyone needs to be a Skype user and you can record your sessions.
Messenger by Facebook | Easy and free for everyone on Facebook.
Google Hangouts | At least one person must have a G Suite account to work, but then you can invite up to 100 non-Google users. Easy to use and no additional chargers.
House Party | Max 8 guests at a time. Free to use.
Zoom Meetings | Free option available, however has a max time limit of 40 mins.
Whichever platform you use, again, plan ahead and send clear instructions to the guests on how to join. Aim to have everyone join at least 5 mins before the mum-to-be.
HOT TIP: Remind everyone to charge up their device before the event and have their power cord handy just in case. We also find that for longer online sessions with more than 3 people, using your laptop or iPad is much better than using your phone.
Editor note: Since writing this article some of the COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted. For example, in NSW, as of Friday, 1 May up to 4 adults can meet together. As time goes by more restrictions across the country will mean groups of people can congregate. While it will be up to you to decide, we still believe practicing social distancing with expectant mothers would be a wise thing to do. However, with the easing of restrictions it might mean making deliveries and providing some core support to parents-to-be can be more easily achieved.