If you have kids, you know that birthday parties for and with their friends happen all the time. Birthdays can create wonderful memories for all involved but sometimes they can be a bit tricky to navigate. Here are some tips to help you and your kid survive birthday parties without offending anyone!
Should you invite the entire class?
You’re not obligated to invite the entire classroom if that doesn’t work for your family. Many schools even have set policies, like inviting half the class or less, or all of just one gender. If you’re not inviting everyone, it’s worth talking to your kid about discretion. And, if you’re planning to invite nearly the whole class, then you should invite everyone.
How should you remind guests to RSVP?
Make sure you give a date by which you want RSVPs, and a method or two to reach you. Then, one week before the party, email or text any families you haven’t heard from with a friendly reminder.
Should you open presents at a party?
No. You should never open presents at a party. Ever.
Do you have to do loot bags?
They are not necessary, and giving them out depends on your party style. Sometimes the most meaningful takeaway is one you’ve made. Be mindful of the environment and the wishes of other parents when making your goody bags – try to use and include items that will biodegrade and don’t include too much candy!
How much should you spend on a child?
There is no right number. Spend what is in your budget. If that’s $10 per gift per child, work with that, but also ask the child’s parent about the interests of the birthday kid so you know whatever you choose, they’ll love.
Should your child help you pick out the present?
Since your kid is going to know what the other child would like more than you might, go for it. Plus, it teaches your child about giving to others. For younger children, you could ask questions about what their friend might enjoy.
What if you can’t afford a present?
One option is to call the hosting parents to let them know. You can say something like, “Store-bought birthday gifts are tough for us to purchase right now. We were thinking of making something instead. This lets the other parent know what to expect, and that you really care, without asking her what you should do. Of course, you also have the right to discuss the situation with your child and politely decline the invitation.
What if your child is invited to a party where she’s expected to buy something (like a costume or admission to an amusement park), and you can’t afford it?
You could DIY the needed costume yourself, which could be a great bonding project. If the party expenditure requires a specific dollar amount, it’s okay to decline the invitation and, instead, offer to have the child over a different time to celebrate over a homemade dinner, or with a small gift.
If you have two kids, is it okay to bring the sibling to the party?
If you have siblings to deal with, it’s inappropriate to ask if you can bring them along. Try to make other arrangements, or call the hosts and ask if they would be okay with you dropping your child off instead of staying. Even if you’d only be bringing a newborn in a baby sling, it’s still proper to call the host ahead of time to give her a heads up.
If your kid is upset because she wasn’t invited to a birthday party, what’s the best way to talk about her feelings?
If your child is not invited to a close friend’s party, it may be because that year the birthday child is only having a family party, a very small party, or only inviting friends from the soccer team, etc. Validate your child’s feelings of disappointment, and help her learn to be the bigger person. Suggest that she invite her friend over to play some other time.
If your child can’t make it to the party, do you still need to get a gift?
You don’t need to send a birthday gift if you can’t be there. You may choose to do so if it’s your child’s best friend or someone who bought your kid a gift, but it’s not required.
Do you need to accommodate allergies and dietary restrictions?
Yes you do. 100%. It’s a good idea to check in with teachers and your kid to see if they are aware of any allergies or dietary restrictions in the class. Purchase store bought food items that are nut, dairy and egg free and have them clearly marked with the ingredients and or packaging available for the parent to read. Many spaces for party rental offer nut free facilities so you might want to consider that before booking a place.