What is the invitation etiquette for children’s birthday parties? Does it say somewhere that you must invite your child’s entire class to her birthday party?
My daughter, who I affectionately refer to as “Lil Ms. Sunshine” recently hit a major milestone….the BIG “5”!!
While planning for this year’s birthday party, I recalled the daunting task of planning her prior parties, especially making the guest list. For each of her prior birthday parties, I invited all of the kids who were in her daycare class. There was a group of about 8 kids who’s mom’s I befriended and they’ve attended each party she’s had since she was 2 years old. Of the families that I didn’t know which on average was about 12 families, maybe ¼ of them would attend the party.
So this go-round, the thought of inviting all twenty 23 kids in her class (plus family and friends outside of school) just wasn’t appealing to me.
Children’s birthday parties can be expensive; sometimes there is a per guest fee or the price increases when you exceed a certain attendance threshold. Either way, as my Lil Ms. Sunshine would tell you “We are on a budget!”
For a second, I was curious what Ms. Manners would say, about sending invitations to everyone in her class.
Then, I decided not to consult “Ms. Manners” on my etiquette question. What Ms. Manners would recommend simply doesn’t factor into the equation. She doesn’t parent my child or pay my bills, so I’ll be making the decision!
This year, I’m putting an end to the notion that “EVERYONE GETS AN INVITATION”!!
I will not invite her entire class.
I asked Li’l Ms. Sunshine who were her friends at school. She quickly rattled off 3 names. The names did not surprise me. She talks about these friends all the time. These are the same friends she’s asked to come over for a play date or a sleepover.
I double checked with her teacher and she gave me the same names of kids that Lil Ms. Sunshine plays with all the time!
I will only invite those 3 friends from her class to her party. And, of course, I’ll invite the friends who came to all her parties since she was 2.
Now just to be clear, when we receive an invitation to a kid’s birthday party, we go (unless we have a prior engagement) …OH, and we always RSVP, either way!
Parent’s please RSVP to party invitations!! (Talk about party invitation etiquette!!!)
I know how difficult it is for parents to open themselves (and their kids) up to the possibility of no one showing up to their party. I am not in support of that; even if I don’t know the parents Lil Ms. Sunshine and I will go to the birthday party…because it’s about the birthday boy or girl.
I try to act upon teachable moments with Lil Ms. Sunshine.
The choice to invite only 3 friends from her current school is one of those moments. I want my daughter to learn that she doesn’t need EVERYONE at her birthday party to celebrate (and validate) her. She also doesn’t need everyone to be her friend.
She only needs her true friends…friends she’s known for a long time and who she has built relationships with, in her school and outside of school.
As my 5-year-old embarks on the joys of elementary school, there are many lessons to come on friendship. I plan to use the memories of her birthday parties to remind her that the circle of friends that regularly attends her parties have play dates together, and sleepovers…they are her true friends. They have grown up with her, they know her, they love her and they treat her very well. So, when friendships in elementary school become a little shaky, she will have a circle of friends outside of school to be there for her!
Besides, we all need a squad….who’s to say you can’t have one at 5!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic! Do you invite the entire class to your kid’s parties? Why?