Birthday party ettiquette - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 03-09-2009, 12:14 AM - Thread Starter
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DS is having his 4th birthday soon and wants to invite all of his friends from preschool. This is his first year in preschool and there isn't much of a "community" among the parents. There are a small group of us that stay after school and let the kids play in the park for about an hour but we're still not close by any means. That being said, if we invite a few kids, do we then need to invite them all? I don't mind inviting them all but I don't know all the kids' names (and only a handful of the parents) and wonder if its awkward to invite the kids he barely knows?

Lisa, mama to A (3/05) and R (11/07) and L (8/10)
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#2 of 10 Old 03-09-2009, 01:55 AM
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I think it's ok to privately just invite a few kids, if that's all you are comfortable with. I just wouldn't really make a big deal about it with DS, simply talking with him in advance about who will come, then maybe not even mentioning the WHO again until the party happens. That way there will hopefully be less hard feelings at school/

I also think if you have the space/energy it could be a great opportunity to invite all the kids/families and get to know them better.
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#3 of 10 Old 03-09-2009, 11:31 AM
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We've always invited all the kids. My kids hate the thought of leaving anyone out. But, I find that really, the kids that come are the kids they play with.

So, I would invite all of them but don't be surprised if the ones who show are the ones your son already plays with.

But, maybe some other kids will show too and it will give your son an opportunity to play with other friends and will give you a chance to meet some new parents.
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#4 of 10 Old 03-09-2009, 11:41 AM
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We just had dd's 5th birthday party on Feb 28. She invited all her preschool classmates. There are a total of 18 kids. At least a dozen of them showed up, along with her other friends. There must have been 20 kids at our house.

The rule at her preschool is that you can invite only some of the kids, but they ask for discretion. I was fine with having everyone over, as long as dd was willing to have the party at home. I asked her who she played with at preschool and she said "everybody." Her teachers confirmed this. I am kind of happy that dd still wants to include everyone and so I sort of encourage this attitude. Dh and I are very "open door" people so it fits with us.

The preschool teachers said it was the first party that everyone was invited to and it was nice to see everyone get so excited about it. Nobody had to downplay that they were invited and dd had so much fun with the anticipation.

Several of the parents stayed and everyone had a great time; though I admit it took a lot of planning and the noise was deafening!

I mad pinatas and a friend came and sang and played the guitar.

We didn't know many of the parents, either and I had trouble with some of the kids' names. But dd sure knew everyone. It felt a bit weird getting all those gifts, too. But we worked really hard on the party and the feedback has been great. And it has made me feel much more relaxed and comfortable with the other parents. Now we're planning an end-of-year party for the teachers as a thank you, because they're fantastic!
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#5 of 10 Old 03-09-2009, 12:05 PM
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Here, and where we used to live in Canada, it was common for invites to come from kids whose parents you hadn't met, or weren't close with.

Sometimes all the kids were invited from the class, other times not. Basically, if not all the kids weren't invited the invitations were distributed very discretely. A teacher would give the parent the heads up that there was a card in their child's basket or bag.

I know of a couple places where the invites are not allowed at school unless all of the kids are invited, but since that's not the norm, the policy is made very clear to parents.

Julie - Mom to Elizabeth (Libby) age 6, Penelope (Penny) age 5, Elliott age 29 months, and Oscar who is 1 year old!
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#6 of 10 Old 03-09-2009, 01:10 PM
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Our school's policy is that if invitations are handed out at school, all classmates must be invited, but if invitations are handed out privately, then it's up to you how many classmates to invite. We usually only invite the 1 or 2 boys DS plays closely with, but I've gotten invitations from moms I don't know well (or at all!) and didn't think it was weird or anything, so I think either way would be just fine.

Just don't do what one mom at DS's preschool recently did -- she gave her son a stack of invitations and had him walk around at recess, choosing which friends to give them to! I couldn't believe it -- the boy walked up to my DS with an invitation and the mom said to her son, "Are you sure? Do you play with him a lot?" I was so shocked that she would do something so blatantly rude and hurtful for the kids. :

DH+Me 1994 heartbeat.gif DS 2004 heartbeat.gif DD 2008 heartbeat.gif DDog 2014
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#7 of 10 Old 03-09-2009, 02:23 PM
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wow, how rude limabean

last year we invited the whole class and they all came but one.

This year she does not get on with many of the kids in her class so we are being selective. There are sixteen in her class this year and she wants to invite 2 girls and 1 boy. she is also back and forth about inviting two other girls and one other boy. so that would be 6 out of ten. i don't feel bad about it; there's only been on other party that she's been invited to this year, and I am sure she's been excluded from a bunch.

Last year it was fun, but this year the party is for her friends. she has about 5 outside school friends we will invite too. I have everyone's address so I'll just mail them out.

I think its fine to just invite a few from school, esp if she is is not comfortable with some of the kids.
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#8 of 10 Old 03-09-2009, 02:54 PM
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at DD's school, it appears the whole class gets invited. We usually always go. Its been really nice to get to meet the parents and get to know them. The kids are so much a part of eachother's lives, that its nice to know their families and compare stories and such. My DD is one of the more verbal kids in the class, and she really loves this little boy who's quite shy. His parents thought it was so sweet that Milena tells us how he wants to be a firefighter and all that. Not all parents get a full report on what happens each day at school like I do . They get a glimpse into their kid's social world

DD's party is coming up in a month. I will hand out invites tomorrow. A little nervous everyone will come (17 in her class and about 6-8 neighbor and friend kids). But all the parties we've been to, there's only been a handful from the class that come. We're the first to do the party at our house. The others have been at a park or the Little Gym.

I think its great to include everyone if possible.

Limabean, that mom is an idiot for doing that. argh.


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#9 of 10 Old 03-09-2009, 02:58 PM
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First, check with the preschool and be sure to follow their rules.

I think its fine to invite just a few classmates, but do not distribute invites at school and try to help your child not talk about his party at school. Inviting only some kids and doing it at school can really hurt feelings.

On the other hand, I have always enjoyed birthday parties as a way to get to know everyone in the class and their parents, so we always invite the entire class. Yes, this means we have larger parties than some are comfortable with. But it also means that I know most of the moms names by the end of the party and can recognize all of the kids in the class (or at least all that came). No one feels left out and there are no hurt feelings. To me, that is worth it. Also, you never know who your child will be friends with tomorrow, so its worth including everyone today. Even know that my kids are post-preschool age we do this, though for DS I think he will soon want to switch to all the boys but not girls, and that will be OK too.
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#10 of 10 Old 03-09-2009, 08:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Oh limabean, that's terrible!

Thank you for all the responses! We decided to invite everyone and hopefully we'll all know each other better

Lisa, mama to A (3/05) and R (11/07) and L (8/10)
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