Birthday wishes for kids: What to write in a kid’s birthday card

A kid's birthday card with a cartoon unicorn on the front; above the unicorn reads,

After the birthday party, when the calm has returned, is when my kids come back to their birthday cards. The cards are usually still setting out, because I haven’t cleaned up completely, and my boys finally have time to enjoy the goofy pop-ups, the silly sounds and the messages inside. 

I love watching them revisit their cards because you can see the warmth of the messages on their faces. So whether you need a birthday message for a toddler or tween, a first birthday or 21st, we’ll help you figure out how to write a birthday message that will light up the faces of all the kids in your life. 

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A birthday card is a time to cheer them on or make them laugh—but on their level. From 1 to 21, toddler to tween, here are some ways to write a birthday message for every age and stage. Click any of the links below to jump right to that section!

Toddler Birthday Wishes  

  • Love the way you’re you.
  • Wow! You’re getting so big! Happy [2nd] Birthday!
  • Cute and loved. What a combo!
  • Your smile is brighter than all the cake candles.
  • Have a trash truck full of fun! (Or “train full”)
  • I can tell you’re [3] because of all the great things you can do now!
  • You make me smile.  
  • Who’s 2? Hey, it’s you!
  • Wow, look who’s a big kid now!

Tip: For little kids, a picture is worth a thousand words, and they won’t judge your art skills. Draw a silly sketch—a quick flower or even a heart—to show you love them. 

Birthday Wishes for Tweens  

  • Have a day as awesome as you are.
  • It’s so exciting seeing who you’re becoming. 
  • Love watching you grow into such a cool person!
  • Happy Birthday to one of my all-time favorite [11]-year-olds!
  • Hope your birthday is worth the wait and your whole year is awesome!
  • Enjoy this sweet age while it lasts! (Just kidding! Kind of.)
  • Yay for Birthday You!
  • Hope your day is however you say “awesome.”
  • HBD2U! (See? I’m not so uncool after all.) 

1st Birthday Wishes  

  • One year wonderful! 
  • ONE = FUN
  • ONE of a kind!
  • ONE heck of a birthday baby!
  • You’re ONE amazing kid!  
  • ONEdering what to get you!
  • ONEder what’s it’s like to be ONEderful like you!
  • You’re 1! How fun!
  • You’re #1!
  • ONE day, the cutest baby in all the land turned ONE!

5th Birthday Wishes  

  • You’re one whole hand years old.
  • A high five kind of day for you!
  • Five whole years of amazing!
  • Shouting out 5 cheers for the new 5-year-old!
  • Whoa, since when did you become a big kid?
  • You’re a big kid. But not too big to hug!
  • Can’t wait for the next 5 years. And the 5 after that. And…

10th Birthday Wishes  

  • Hello, double digits!
  • 10/10 would recommend. 
  • 10 rhymes with zen. So make it a chill day!
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, you’re definitely a 10.
  • You’re a whole decade old! How did that happen?!
  • Your superhero identity is safe with me.

13th Birthday Wishes  

  • You’re all grown up! How does it feel?
  • Happy Teen Days!
  • “Teen” has a nice ring to it, don’t ya think?
  • Hope your teen years are the best yet!
  • Happy 13th birthday! So many exciting new things are about to start happening for you!
  • You’re totally rocking the 13.
  • The only thing that would make this day better is cake. 
  • You’re 13 years of incredible.
  • You’re a teen now! But I still plan on calling you “kiddo.”

16th Birthday Wishes  

  • Seriously, how are you 16 already??
  • 16 means new freedom, new possibilities, new fun…hope you enjoy it all!
  • If ever someone was destined to make the absolute most of being 16, that person is you!
  • Hope 16 is just as sweet (and awesome and amazing and inspiring) as you are!
  • You’re this close to being an adult. (And I’m this close to crying, sniff sniff.)
  • Hope you have the time of your life being 16!
  • The ripe old age of 16. Wow, you’re ANCIENT.

18th Birthday Wishes  

  • Happy adulting! 
  • It’s about making your own house rules now!
  • You’re technically an adult now. No pressure.
  • Hello, grownup!
  • Congrats! Now get out into the world and share your awesomeness. 😊
  • Happy 18th to someone WAY smarter and more mature than I was at your age.
  • Can’t wait to see you pave your own way in the world!

21st Birthday Wishes  

  • It’s official! You get to do the things you’ve definitely not already been doing. Cheers!
  • You’re 21! No kidding! Only adulting!
  • 21! Now you can legally…be awesome. Wait, what did you think I was going to say?
  • Yes, you’re a grownup now. But you know you can still come to me for anything, right? Right.
  • You’re 21-derful! Here’s to you!
  • Make good choices and have a happy 21st!
  • Say hello to more freedom! (Also more responsibility, but that’s being an adult for ya.)
  • You’re 21! Have fun, get crazy…I won’t tell if you won’t. 

Encouraging Birthday Wishes for Kids  

  • Bet this will be your best year ever.
  • I have a feeling you’re going to make an amazing [9]-year-old. (After all, you were pretty awesome at being [8]!)
  • Your light will shine wherever you go.
  • The world just needs more you, that’s all there is to it.
  • You’ve got a magic that will wow the world.
  • You’re the birthday star, because, like, duh.
  • Everybody likes being around a birthday person like you.
  • Just be you, and you’ll be great.
  • You’re a good kid, ya know. (I hope you do know.) 

Heartfelt Birthday Wishes for Kids  

  • You make me proud every single day.
  • Exactly who you are is perfect.
  • I love how lovable you are.
  • It’s so much fun knowing a kind, thoughtful and hilarious kid like you.
  • You fill a big part of my heart.
  • So happy I get to know you.
  • Love you 4ever. But especially 2day.

Funny Birthday Wishes for Kids  

  • Happy Birthday! Why are you reading cards? You should be eating cake!
  • I heard you’re a year older! Where’s your long, white beard?
  • I’d tell you to have a happy birthday, but I guess now you’re too old to boss around.
  • Knock, knock. Who’s there? Birthday. Birthday who? Birthday cake—Let’s eat!
  • Happy Birthday to someone who thinks you’re even cooler than your parents. (Don’t tell them though.)
  • Happy Birthday. Hope nobody farts.
  • Hope you get the birthday giggles. 
  • Ugh, you’re such a cute birthday person.

Birthday Wishes from Kid to Kid  

  • I wish you all your favorite things for your birthday, like (kid sender lists fave things here).
  • It’s your birthday and I get cake! Everybody wins!
  • Let’s party like we’re not boring adults!
  • Friends like you make [3rd grade] fun.
  • HBD to my BFF 4eva. 
  • Happy Birthday to the BESTEST friend ever. 

Kids Birthday Wishes from Grandparents  

  • Lucky us to be grandparents to you!
  • Today, we are sooo gonna spoil you. (Just like every other day.)
  • Thanks for making our house a fun place.
  • You bring the fun.
  • How’d we get so lucky with a grandkid as great as you?!
  • As far as grandkids go, you’re the grandest.
  • It’s a pretty good thing you came along. Otherwise, we’d have no one to [bake/garden/fish/play] with or buy presents for!
  • You’re not just a kid, you’re a grandkid. That makes you pretty special.

Kids Birthday Wishes from Family Member  

  • Kiddo, you’re growing up so fast. So stop—you’re making me feel extra old!
  • Love celebrating you, every single year!
  • Sorry if this is kinda cringey, but you make our family proud just by being you.
  • So happy to be family with you.
  • I feel pretty special having you as my [nephew, niece, godchild, etc.]. Because you’re a special kid! 
  • (when money is enclosed) Be sure to use this for something that would annoy your parents!

Closing Messages for Kids  

You can sign off with a funny quip or a quick message of love. Just match the tone of your closing to the tone of the card. 

  • I’m always here for you, [Grandma Judy]
  • Your favorite uncle, [Dale]
  • Love you, little guy/gal 
  • Sending you smiles, 
  • I’m so proud of you, [Name].
  • Hugs,
  • Warmly, 
  • To the moon and back,
  • Fist bumps from afar,
  • Peace out,
  • TTYL,


And that’s our signal to peace out! We hope you found a just-right message to write in your kid’s birthday card, whether it’s a milestone birthday or anything in between. Bookmark this post and come back to it whenever you need a big kid or little kid birthday message. 

And, if you need help with party planning, check out this list of 100 birthday party ideas, complete with activities and party favor ideas.