Kids’ birthday parties are lots of fun, but planning them can be somewhat stressful. There are decorations and favors to buy, refreshments to choose, and games to plan. For the guests, there are arrangements to make and gifts to buy.
Also, there are lots of etiquette issues to consider on both sides. Here are some birthday party etiquette tips to help you get through it all.
When Your Child is the Host
- If you can invite some, but not all, of the children in your child’s class at school, mail the invitations or deliver them to their homes if possible. Doing so will save hurt feelings. If that is not possible, have your child give them to friends as discretely as possible, and tell your child to try to avoid talking with friends about the party at school.
- Be as specific as possible on the invitations. If you want the parents to drop the child off, put the child’s name on the invitation. If a parent or sibling is welcome to come as well, add the words “and parent” or “and guest.”
- If guests do not RSVP, feel free to call and ask politely if they are coming. It is their responsibility to let you know, but some people just don’t. Calling to find out one way or the other will make planning much easier.
- Talk to your child before the party about their responsibilities as the host. Reinforce good manners and encourage your child to make sure that all of the guests are having a good time. If your child forgets to thank guests for their gifts, a gentle reminder should suffice.
- Have extra food and favors on hand. An unexpected parent or sibling may show up, even if you were extremely clear about who was invited on the invitations. The best thing you can do is be prepared for this.
- When the party is over, have your child write thank you notes. If your child is too young to write, he/she can help you by telling you which guest brought which gift or signing the cards. The idea is to show that it’s the right thing to do, even if your child is not capable of doing it all on his/her own yet.
When Your Child Is a Guest
- Read the party invitation carefully to see whether the parents should stay or the child should be dropped off and whether the child is invited to bring a guest. If it is unclear, don’t be afraid to call the parents and ask.
- Get your child to the party on time. If you’re dropping your child off, be back to pick them up on time too.
- Refresh your child’s memory on the subject of good manners. Even the best mannered child in the world has a lapse every now and then. It doesn’t hurt to remind your child of the finer points.
There you go! Here’s to a great party season!