Is it weird to...birthday party invite? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 43 Old 10-17-2009, 10:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Is it wrong to invite only the 1 child in a family who is our daughter's age to her birthday party at the exlusion of the older child in that family?

I want to have a birthday party for our 2 year old with our immediate family members and some of the toddler friends she has. To us, immediate family includes 12 adults, grandparents, siblings, aunt +uncle. So there will be plenty of people in the house already. But we want to also invite some of our closer friends and their kids who are within a year of our daughters age. The question is, we feel bad excluding the older siblings of our daughter's little friends.

I feel bad for these older kids (I have 3 particular children in mind from 3 families) because normally when our families get together all the kids are inclusively welcome. Also because for this event in particular, the parents are invited too because toddlers are too young for drop off b-day parties. For what it's worth, the 3 older kids are 8,6,4.

On the other hand, birthday invites normally go out to the child's friend and not all of the friends siblings. Also, we don't have entertaining toys for older kids and I would prefer to focus on entertaining the wee ones and the grownups . I feel it would be too chaotic to try and entertain 3 age groups. Also, it would limit the guest list by 6 people since the older child would need one of their parents to stay with them and that works for us because of space limitations. Outside is not an option as it will be freezing cold here.

I don't have an older child, so I don't know how I would feel if only 1 of my kids was invited to a party I was to attend. What do you think?

If we don't invite the older children, should I send home a lootbag/treat/token for them as well?

Thanks for your wisdom!

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#2 of 43 Old 10-17-2009, 10:49 PM
 
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Far as I know, only the friend gets invited to the party not the friend and his/her siblings. I see nothing wrong with leaving out the siblings.

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#3 of 43 Old 10-17-2009, 10:51 PM
 
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Basically I think you would have to specifically say the other children weren't invited and that may come across as rude. The reason I say this is because at my DD's recent birthday we invited lots of friends her age. One friend has an older sister who we invited becasue my DD loves her. She happened to say she would come and then on that day went with another friend to another event.

Some of the other children have older siblings that we see or don't depending on the playdate. Well I never would have guessed but many of the invited guests brought their older siblings. Some called ahead to ask and some just showed up like that. I was actually quite surprised and after much thought decided that I think little ones birthday parties will just include siblings (a lot of parents just have no one else to watch them, or don't want to pay for a sitter - which I get).

I'm interested to see what others have to say.
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#4 of 43 Old 10-17-2009, 11:11 PM
 
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Normally I would agree with what MusicianDad posted about siblings not being invited but your situation seems to be a bit unique. If all the kids get together on a regular basis then I think it would be assumed that all the kids would be invited. If 8, 6, 4 and 2year olds normally play together then I can't really see a nice way of saying "you can't come".
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#5 of 43 Old 10-17-2009, 11:17 PM
 
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Honestly until reading threads on MDC about b-day parties it NEVER occurred to me that an invitation for my child was only for that child. When I plan a party and invite a child I expect their whole family to come so someone like me would need you to spell it out and request that older sibs stay home. I don't think it's weird or rude at all to only invite the toddlers but some of us genuinely don't even consider that we might not ALL be invited

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#6 of 43 Old 10-17-2009, 11:21 PM
 
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Yes, it is rude to invite one child and the parents but exclude the other children in the family. Especially if it is a family that you socialize with the whole family of. Either invite the whole family or none at all.
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#7 of 43 Old 10-17-2009, 11:22 PM
 
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Where we are, that would be offensive. It's fine to invite just the friend of the child if it is a drop off party (like for older kids) - especially if you are doing an activity where you pay for each child to partake. I know a 10 year old boy who recently had a paint ball party, for example, and in that case, it only makes sense to invite the birthday child's friend only - the people hosting the party have to pay for each child who attends, it isn't safe for younger siblings to attend, and presumably, the guests can attend the party without parents. But if it is a family style toddler party, I can't imagine someone saying part of your family can come, but part can't. We were actually at a 2 year old birthday party today, and there were kids as old as 10 there. They found ways to entertain themselves even without toys that would appeal to them. I am certain there would be a lot of hurt feelings and confusion if done in our group of friends. If space is really tight, I would say just limit it to family. Maybe you could do a more casual playdate with your daughters friends with cupcakes or fruit or whatever at a later date.
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#8 of 43 Old 10-17-2009, 11:40 PM
 
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I would not exclude the older siblings. If it were a party with older kids where the parents were going to drop off the children, that would be fine, but I would find it rather inconsiderate to require your friends to go to the inconvenience and expense of finding childcare for some of their children in order to attend your child's party with their toddler, especially since the older children are usually welcome in your home.
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#9 of 43 Old 10-17-2009, 11:49 PM
 
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I think it would be weird. My six-year-old would terribly hurt if her baby sister got invited to a party for family friends and she didn't. Of course, it hasn't come up for us yet. My baby is, well, a baby and there are no birthday parties yet. Maybe I'll change my mind in a couple years.

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#10 of 43 Old 10-17-2009, 11:51 PM
 
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Originally Posted by notneb View Post
I would not exclude the older siblings. If it were a party with older kids where the parents were going to drop off the children, that would be fine, but I would find it rather inconsiderate to require your friends to go to the inconvenience and expense of finding childcare for some of their children in order to attend your child's party with their toddler, especially since the older children are usually welcome in your home.
Okay, this says it better than I did. I was trying to figure out why I don't think it's necessary for her friends to invite the baby. I take the baby with me and drop the six-year-old off. If the baby and I are invited, I've got to find childcare.

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#11 of 43 Old 10-17-2009, 11:56 PM
 
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I agree with what others have said -- at an older, drop-off party, it's fine to just invite the friend of the birthday kid and no siblings, but if you're inviting the parents too, I'd just invite the siblings. It's only 3 extra people -- not worth the potential hurt feelings, IMO.

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#12 of 43 Old 10-18-2009, 12:02 AM
 
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For a 2yr old at home party, I would assume an invite was for the family. So I would think you'd need to specifically say it is *not* a family invitation and I'm not sure there's an easy, tactful way to do that. In our circle of friends and family, unless the party is at a pay-by-the-head kind of place (and even at those, most of the time), birthday parties are full-family events.

In my experience, most parties for very young children are really for the adults and older children. I'm pretty sure my kids slept at least partly through most of their 1-4 yr old birthday parties.

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#13 of 43 Old 10-18-2009, 12:08 AM
 
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Usually I think it's OK, but not the way you describe this party.

While I think it is absolutely fine to have a party that is just for the b-day childs friends in their own age group, that isn't the type of party you are describing. These other toddlers aren't friends from a class or playgroup, they simply are the members of families who you are close to that happen to be the same age as you LO. A very large percentage of your guests are not the same age as your child, they are adult.

It wouldn't be that complicated to entertain all the kids. You could for instance make up big batches of play dough. The younger kids will mostly just squish it and pound it and stuff, but the older kids can actually build sculptures or beads and what not. If you really just can't handle that many guests, then keep it a family only event.

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#14 of 43 Old 10-18-2009, 01:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much to everyone's well thought out ideas about this topic. It's really making me make sense of why I feel certain ways about my own question.

I've thought through a few ways of having a b-day party for a 2 year old.
1) Family only
2)Toddler Party only (with 1 parent)
3) Toddlers and their families
3) Everyone

What do most people do?! It's a birthday party, it shouldn't be complicated right?! I guess the birthday party game is that until little friends are old enough to be dropped off, invitations must be to their entire family.

I was really hoping, ideally, to have my family and her pocketful of little friends. Short of throwing 2 parties, 1 for our family and 1 for kids and their parents(our friends)...which seems absolutely ridiculous.


Just to clarify, the only expense to attend the party would be gas or bus tickets, it will be a no-gift-please party. Also, theoretically, there would be no childcare expense since all of these families happen to be two parent families so one parent could attend with the child who gets the invite and the other parent & child could have their own afternoon to do as they please.

The invite would be sent out to the toddler, and as a matter of course, a parent would accompany that child.

I know that kids that young won't remember the party and that it's for the adults...but I truly believe that she will know that this day is special and more fun than usual. Which is why I want her little friends to come by and play.

just to clarify, the families with kids don't all know each other. We don't all play together regularly. I see each individual family and their children, but the separate kids don't know each other.

Would it be rude to have a kids birthday party in the afternoon say2pm-4pm and then have family over for supper? That would minimize the number of people in the house at 1 time, and also we could invite everyone?

wwyd?

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#15 of 43 Old 10-18-2009, 01:52 AM
 
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Two parties. That's what we've done.

A big party with family *and* her normal playmates (and their adult caregivers) is, IMO, often just too much for a young child. There is often a meltdown from the overstimulation and that sets off a series of meltdowns among the youngest guests.

For 2nd, 3rd, 4th bdays, we did one party with our friends-with-babies, usually during the week at a playdate (I had a pretty awesome mother's group then) and then a weekend afternoon party with grandparents, aunts and uncles. First birthdays were usually just family.

You obviously know your babe best, but I think an afternoon party followed by a family dinner party is a lot of stimulation. Just one of those is enough for a Big Special Day for most young children.

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#16 of 43 Old 10-18-2009, 02:20 AM
 
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You are asking for hurt feelings with the situation as you've described it. My kids are 13, 9 and 6 so I have been to HUNDREDS of birthday parties. At least in my area and in my circle of friends, this is how it is:

*when child is too young for school (one, two, maybe three) and you are having a party, it is families. For example - your sister and her kids (and husband if he is available), grandparents if they live nearby, your best friend and her kids, neighbor family across the street who you socialize with regularly. Everyone in those families is invited though they may not all come. Older kids, husbands - it is a family thing.

*BUT when child is school-age (starting at three or four) and you are having a party, it is the invited child and a parent tagalong. That parent may have a babe-in-arms. This is true for friends from school or some other grouping like that. Family friends will still likely include all the kids, not just the one nearest birthday child's age.

*Around six or seven, parties become more truly "drop off" - you can plan for only the invited child.

Since you admit that the birthday child won't know the difference or remember, why do you only want other two year olds there at the restriction of the 4, 6 and 8 year old kids that are also in your circle of (I just keep thinking "soon to be smaller") friends? If it is truly a space issue then have two parties - one for family and one for friends - and invite families without exluding anyone.

When my kids were little, we did family and friends together but once they got to school age, we do a friend party and on a different day a family dinner to celebrate the child's birthday with them.

There is no nice way to exclude some kids from what is generally considered to be a family event - a two year old's birthday party. You can do it if that is what you really want - but expect hurt feeings and fallout. Think if you had a two year old and a four year old who were used to socializing with another family a lot. Then imagine that family's child having a birthday but telling you the four year old wasn't welcome. No matter how nicely they put it, that won't go over well.

When kids are six and going to a classmate's party, their 9 year old sibling can understand that he isn't invited. But a family you socialize with - with all the kids? I'd invite all or none. And I NEVER take my other kids if their name isn't on the invite. But a two year old's party includes families IMO.
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#17 of 43 Old 10-18-2009, 08:45 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mamadebug View Post
Where we are, that would be offensive. It's fine to invite just the friend of the child if it is a drop off party (like for older kids) - especially if you are doing an activity where you pay for each child to partake. I know a 10 year old boy who recently had a paint ball party, for example, and in that case, it only makes sense to invite the birthday child's friend only - the people hosting the party have to pay for each child who attends, it isn't safe for younger siblings to attend, and presumably, the guests can attend the party without parents. But if it is a family style toddler party, I can't imagine someone saying part of your family can come, but part can't. We were actually at a 2 year old birthday party today, and there were kids as old as 10 there. They found ways to entertain themselves even without toys that would appeal to them. I am certain there would be a lot of hurt feelings and confusion if done in our group of friends. If space is really tight, I would say just limit it to family. Maybe you could do a more casual playdate with your daughters friends with cupcakes or fruit or whatever at a later date.
This exactly.

And when you do get together with these other families and all of their kids, don't all the kids play together? I'd imagine your 2yo is still friends with the other kids even if if they're not the same age.

I do think it's rude to invite one child and their parents to a family-type birthday party but leave their other kids off the invititation.
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#18 of 43 Old 10-18-2009, 08:55 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mamakaikai View Post

On the other hand, birthday invites normally go out to the child's friend and not all of the friends siblings. Also, we don't have entertaining toys for older kids and I would prefer to focus on entertaining the wee ones and the grownups . I feel it would be too chaotic to try and entertain 3 age groups. Also, it would limit the guest list by 6 people since the older child would need one of their parents to stay with them and that works for us because of space limitations. Outside is not an option as it will be freezing cold here.
This is one of those things that is different in every community. Based on the bolded part you wrote, it sounds to me as though it would be acceptable in your circle to invite the friends only, not the friend's siblings. There is no logical principle involved in this-- purely community custom.
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#19 of 43 Old 10-18-2009, 09:14 AM
 
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I'd have a kid's party from 2-4 and then have dinner with family afterwards. We do something very similar and it works out well.



I only invite family to the 1st B-Day party and no friends then. After that B-Day it is friends and their families only. We do a family dinner with the grandparents, aunts, etc... DD2 is turning 3 next week. We have invited 3 families to come. One only had one child, the other two have 3 and 4 children. Most of the siblings will attend depending on their schedules. My oldest is almost 7 and we are just getting into drop off parties with her and no siblings. It depends on the friends though, no families with younger siblings, it is assumed that we are all going, in families that do not have younger children then it is drop off.

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#20 of 43 Old 10-18-2009, 09:32 AM
 
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I see nothing wrong with leaving out the siblings either tbh.
When I invite a friend over for a cup of tea, she doesn't bring her sister and brothers along! lol

My son is approaching this age - He was four this september. We simply had a restaurant party - but if we were having a party party/at house or venue - I would have excluded some siblings.

And this is not just for parties any longer. Playdates as well. In home playdates of course. Which I have not approached yet, but I think its fair to invite my sons 5 year old best friend and not her 2 year old brother if the playdate is in our own home.

IMO - It must be nice for children to just have their friends around sometimes - something special just for them.

Of course - I say all of this within reason. I wouldn't expect a mother to not bring her baby for example - or a child still breastfeeding or going through a 'clingy' phase.

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#21 of 43 Old 10-18-2009, 10:02 AM
 
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We're having dd's birthday next weekend, and she's turning 3. Most of her friends have siblings. Everyone is invited, because I can't imagine excluding people at this age. We're okay with it being a big party, as it's simply at our house and we're doing games and pizza. The more the merrier. If space was an issue, I'd simply invite less guests.
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#22 of 43 Old 10-18-2009, 10:07 AM
 
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IME, invitations were for the whole family until the child is of drop-off age.

If that is too many people (and I can understand that it easily could be), most people I know have separate celebrations for family and for friends, limit the friends invited to just 1-3 families, or skip the friends party altogether until the kids are a bit older.
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#23 of 43 Old 10-18-2009, 10:14 AM
 
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My DD's best friends are a pair of siblings, 4 and 2. We couldn't exclude one and not the other. Also, as a large family we've turned down invitations to toddler parties because we didn't have anything to do with the big kids, and been told off for it later by the hostesses
I can't see a good reason for inviting a parent and only one child at this age. I think it's going to cause an awful lot of hurt, you're probably going to lose friends over it and your DD will probably have less friends present at her party as a direct result.

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#24 of 43 Old 10-18-2009, 10:20 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mamadebug View Post
It's fine to invite just the friend of the child if it is a drop off party (like for older kids) <snip>
But if it is a family style toddler party, I can't imagine someone saying part of your family can come, but part can't.
: If these are *families* you hang around with, then I'd invite the whole family. There's always a chance the older kids will say they don't want to go anyway and one parent will stay home with them, but I'd still extend the invitation to all of them.

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Originally Posted by mamakaikai View Post
Would it be rude to have a kids birthday party in the afternoon say2pm-4pm and then have family over for supper? That would minimize the number of people in the house at 1 time, and also we could invite everyone?

wwyd?
This is what I would do in your situation...we do similar, only my parents are from out of town so they're usually here for the kid part, too. I think this is a great solution, and don't think it necessarily has to be overstimulating. You know your kid and if it would be too much. My kids would (and do) love it.

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#25 of 43 Old 10-18-2009, 11:19 AM
 
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In most instances, only the one kid needs to be invited. In your case, the whole family needs to be.
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#26 of 43 Old 10-18-2009, 11:34 AM
 
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Originally Posted by KristaDJ View Post
Honestly until reading threads on MDC about b-day parties it NEVER occurred to me that an invitation for my child was only for that child. When I plan a party and invite a child I expect their whole family to come so someone like me would need you to spell it out and request that older sibs stay home. I don't think it's weird or rude at all to only invite the toddlers but some of us genuinely don't even consider that we might not ALL be invited
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I see nothing wrong with leaving out the siblings either tbh.
When I invite a friend over for a cup of tea, she doesn't bring her sister and brothers along! lol

My son is approaching this age - He was four this september. We simply had a restaurant party - but if we were having a party party/at house or venue - I would have excluded some siblings.

And this is not just for parties any longer. Playdates as well. In home playdates of course. Which I have not approached yet, but I think its fair to invite my sons 5 year old best friend and not her 2 year old brother if the playdate is in our own home.

IMO - It must be nice for children to just have their friends around sometimes - something special just for them.

Of course - I say all of this within reason. I wouldn't expect a mother to not bring her baby for example - or a child still breastfeeding or going through a 'clingy' phase.
But this isn't for a five year old, or even a four year old. It is for a 2yo, which, imo, is still a baby, and doesn't have their own friends, they just aren't capable of it yet. So, when whole families get together to socialize, it is not appropriate to single out which ones are eligible to come to the party.

OP, I think your best option is to do the friend party, then the family party. you might want to consider two different days though, since a whole day, changing characters, party might be too much for a just turning 2yo,.
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#27 of 43 Old 10-18-2009, 12:12 PM
 
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I agree with everyone who says in this example excluding family members is setting you up for some hurt/bad feelings. As someone mentioned, a 2yo isn't yet choosing her friends, they are family friends.

I don't think you have to worry about entertaining the older group. You could even say to the parent(s) that you hope they will have fun at a 2yo party and do you think they might want to bring a board game along or something.

Two parties is a great idea.

With my 4yo circle it is assumed the whole family is invited.
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#28 of 43 Old 10-18-2009, 12:32 PM
 
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Here that would be offensive not to mention slightly stressing for the parents (if they have to scrample to find care for their 3 y/o, 4 y/o to only bring the 2 y/o).

We typically do 2 parties. It saves me from having my IL's getting their panties in a wad because DS or DD would rather play upstairs in the play room with their buddies than be down here being cute and keeping them entertained. We tried having a friends and family party combined once. My IL's kept asking "Where did James go?" "Oh, he's probably in the toy room with his friends." "Oh, so we don't get to see the birthday boy today?" Then they'd get up and try to drag James out of the play room and he'd get pissy because he'd rather play with his buddies and it was drama.

Renae wife to J :, Mama to 4.5y/o J-bird and 2y/o A : and E coming in late Dec/Early Jan. My husband had a living donor kidney transplant! :
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#29 of 43 Old 10-18-2009, 01:39 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mommy2maya View Post
Yes, it is rude to invite one child and the parents but exclude the other children in the family. Especially if it is a family that you socialize with the whole family of. Either invite the whole family or none at all.
These are my thoughts exactly.

I am a single parent. If I am expected to stay at a party, then the sibling needs to come, otherwise, nobody will go. I would not pay a sitter just so that one of my children could attend a b-day party.

We've been very lucky in that even at parties where I am not expected to stay, the parent usually always asks if the sibling wants to stay. I think it is a very nice gesture and I know the sibling appreciates it too.

On the other side, I have also always invited siblings to stay for the parties that I have thrown.
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#30 of 43 Old 10-18-2009, 01:55 PM
 
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Here's what I did for my 3yos birthday- we did a big family party, with all of the aunts/uncles/cousins and such on the weekend. Then, during the week, while all the big kids were at school, her siblings included, we had a mommy and me lunch. We invited three other mommy's and their 3/4yos, who were my 3yos playmates. We had a nice lunch, then sang happy birthday, did cupcakes and ice cream cups, and played a few games. It was a nice party for her, only two hours, because all of the moms had to pick up sibling from school. She loved both of her parties, but mostly her playmate party.
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