Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: Bexx27 on April 23, 2013, 11:50:09 AM

Title: (More) Child Birthday Party Etiquette
Post by: Bexx27 on April 23, 2013, 11:50:09 AM
Birthday parties are a Very Big Deal in my DD's preschool class this year. Her class has 18 kids, half of whom (including my DD) have been together in the center since the infant room, and half of whom started there last fall.

On Saturday DD attended her best friend Christa's 4th birthday party. It was held at Christa's home and was visited by a "Bear Bus" in which each child made a stuffed animal. (Everything was covered by the hosts and parents didn't have to pay for upgrades or extras.) The party itself was great, but I'm wondering about the etiquette of the invitations.

This was the first of DD's classmates' birthday parties I've seen in which the entire class wasn't invited. Christa's parents invited all of the kids who've been at the center for multiple years, but out of the "new" kids only the girls were invited. So 14 of the 18 kids were invited. (I know this because it was done by evite.) I assume they chose to limit the numbers because of the Bear Bus (space and/or cost). However, it made things awkward.

Birthday parties are the highlights of the kids' lives right now and an upcoming party is the main topic of discussion in class as soon as the invitations go out. Those 4 uninvited little boys are very aware of the party and that they were excluded. One of them, Sean, is very good friends with DD and we could not get her to understand that she shouldn't talk to him about the party or ask him why he didn't come. I felt really bad for him.

Obviously parents can invite whomever they want to their child's party, and I realize little Sean won't be traumatized for life. I know limiting the guest list is an etiquette-approved way to "host the party you can afford" without passing on costs to the guests. It just seems iffy to me to invite more than half of a preschool class without inviting everyone. What do you all think?
Title: Re: (More) Child Birthday Party Etiquette
Post by: *inviteseller on April 23, 2013, 12:37:43 PM
I have a 17 yr old and 6 yr old DD, so I feel the better part of my adult years have been spent at kids parties!  The way the invites go around here is, if they are sending the invites to school they either invite all the boys, all the girls or the whole class.  But there was one mom who somehow snuck the invites out at school and invited the whole class except for 3 kids (and it was obvious why she did it)*.   It hurt because they knew, and other kids started asking why they weren't invited (the kids all loved each other) and it caused some real hard feelings.  People are allowed to invite who they want, but when you exclude just a few, it is obvious there is going to be some reprecussions as far as friendships and feelings.   


*I had rsvp'd yes until I found out what she had done and I called back and said something came up and my DD could not make it.  I wish I would have stood up to her and said how I really felt but I wimped.
Title: Re: (More) Child Birthday Party Etiquette
Post by: NyaChan on April 23, 2013, 12:41:59 PM
I have a 17 yr old and 6 yr old DD, so I feel the better part of my adult years have been spent at kids parties!  The way the invites go around here is, if they are sending the invites to school they either invite all the boys, all the girls or the whole class.  But there was one mom who somehow snuck the invites out at school and invited the whole class except for 3 kids (and it was obvious why she did it)*.   It hurt because they knew, and other kids started asking why they weren't invited (the kids all loved each other) and it caused some real hard feelings.  People are allowed to invite who they want, but when you exclude just a few, it is obvious there is going to be some reprecussions as far as friendships and feelings.   


*I had rsvp'd yes until I found out what she had done and I called back and said something came up and my DD could not make it.  I wish I would have stood up to her and said how I really felt but I wimped.

May I ask why it was? 
Title: Re: (More) Child Birthday Party Etiquette
Post by: kansha on April 23, 2013, 12:54:50 PM
given the 'obvious' part of the post, i'd guess race/ethnicity  :-\
Title: Re: (More) Child Birthday Party Etiquette
Post by: Hmmmmm on April 23, 2013, 01:23:51 PM
When my kids were little, I felt like you that if majority of the kids were invited then all of them were invited.

Now as teens approaching adulthood and having watched the interactions they've had through highschool, I think it might have been a disservice to set up the kid's with that type of expectations.  That everyone is always welcome and included.

While a hard thing to hear at 4, I don't think it's wrong of a mom or dad to tell their son "Joey, I'm sorry you weren't included in the party. It seems that birthday girl doesn't see you as close of a friend as others. Let's bake our own cake that afternoon and invite the other boys over for a "just because" party."

My DD is a senior. There are a zillion and 1 graduation parties, usually joint hosted by 5 to 10 graduate's parents. One of DDs friends told me that her and the group of girls who were co-hosting her party had made sure to send out their invitations early so that they would get invites to all the rest and now they are upset that they've only received invites to less than half.

I wonder if we'd still be having these conversations if there had been less "everyone is invited" parties when they were young.
Title: Re: (More) Child Birthday Party Etiquette
Post by: *inviteseller on April 23, 2013, 02:27:50 PM
Yes, it was a racial thing for 2 children and the other child was autistic, but was a wonderful kid who was invited to all the other parties and was absolutely wonderful.  And as my older DD has grown up, the 'everyone has to be invited' thing is no longer important as everyone has their own groups and rarely does anyone feel that they have to go to everyone's parties.  But when they are little (my DD was 5 at the time of the above mentioned party), it is so glaring when a few are left off.  Up until my older DD was 12, it was always the whole class or all the girls but at 12 she picked who she wanted because by that time she was in middle school and changing classes so it wasn't the same kids in the same room all day everyday where it is more noticeable.  And yes, you can tell your child that little janie doesn't see you as a good friend, but what does that do to a kid when he is only one of two or three kids that weren't invited?  I think it is easier to be honest and say "I am not sure why you weren't invited, but we can just have a day together today." 
Title: Re: (More) Child Birthday Party Etiquette
Post by: Eeep! on April 23, 2013, 03:02:40 PM
Birthday parties are a Very Big Deal in my DD's preschool class this year. Her class has 18 kids, half of whom (including my DD) have been together in the center since the infant room, and half of whom started there last fall.

On Saturday DD attended her best friend Christa's 4th birthday party. It was held at Christa's home and was visited by a "Bear Bus" in which each child made a stuffed animal. (Everything was covered by the hosts and parents didn't have to pay for upgrades or extras.) The party itself was great, but I'm wondering about the etiquette of the invitations.

This was the first of DD's classmates' birthday parties I've seen in which the entire class wasn't invited. Christa's parents invited all of the kids who've been at the center for multiple years, but out of the "new" kids only the girls were invited. So 14 of the 18 kids were invited. (I know this because it was done by evite.) I assume they chose to limit the numbers because of the Bear Bus (space and/or cost). However, it made things awkward.

Birthday parties are the highlights of the kids' lives right now and an upcoming party is the main topic of discussion in class as soon as the invitations go out. Those 4 uninvited little boys are very aware of the party and that they were excluded. One of them, Sean, is very good friends with DD and we could not get her to understand that she shouldn't talk to him about the party or ask him why he didn't come. I felt really bad for him.

Obviously parents can invite whomever they want to their child's party, and I realize little Sean won't be traumatized for life. I know limiting the guest list is an etiquette-approved way to "host the party you can afford" without passing on costs to the guests. It just seems iffy to me to invite more than half of a preschool class without inviting everyone. What do you all think?

I personally think this was a serious miss-step on the part of the parents giving the party.  4 out of 18 is a really small percentage to exclude.  If they needed to limit it then I think they should have done it by just girls or some easily explained reason.  Those poor little boys! (And yes I realize that they can learn valuable lessons, etc. etc. I still feel bad for them.)
Title: Re: (More) Child Birthday Party Etiquette
Post by: Jovismom on April 23, 2013, 03:08:27 PM
I'll admit up front that I'm over 50 and I've not had children so my opinion is coming from that perspective. 

I personally think its ridiculous to require the entire class or all the boys or all the girls be invited to any birthday party.  The same way I think it was ridiculous when the "everyone must win a trophy/no one ever loses" was going on.  My personal belief is that things like that teach kids to feel entitled and then, when things don't work that way in the real world, and they don't, it hits them so much harder than if they'd grown up realizing they don't go to every party and there are winners and losers when you play a game.  (Not that winning/losing should be stressed.  It should be acknowledged but doing your personal best is what should be stressed.)

The one exception to that would be a situation like the OP posted.  It would be very hurtful to invite almost the entire class and leave out just 3-4 kids.  No, if you're going to invite so many classmates then, in that particular instance, the whole class should have been invited.   Either that or cut the invitations back so that it's not just a few who weren't invited.
Title: Re: (More) Child Birthday Party Etiquette
Post by: Lynn2000 on April 23, 2013, 03:59:16 PM
I'll admit up front that I'm over 50 and I've not had children so my opinion is coming from that perspective. 

I personally think its ridiculous to require the entire class or all the boys or all the girls be invited to any birthday party.  The same way I think it was ridiculous when the "everyone must win a trophy/no one ever loses" was going on.  My personal belief is that things like that teach kids to feel entitled and then, when things don't work that way in the real world, and they don't, it hits them so much harder than if they'd grown up realizing they don't go to every party and there are winners and losers when you play a game.  (Not that winning/losing should be stressed.  It should be acknowledged but doing your personal best is what should be stressed.)

The one exception to that would be a situation like the OP posted.  It would be very hurtful to invite almost the entire class and leave out just 3-4 kids.  No, if you're going to invite so many classmates then, in that particular instance, the whole class should have been invited.   Either that or cut the invitations back so that it's not just a few who weren't invited.

This is kind of where I fall. I think the rule about inviting "everyone" in a class is strange. I understand if a school wants to make that rule for invitations that are distributed through the school; but when I was a kid I had small parties with kids I was close enough to, to know their home addresses and phone numbers so invitations could be sent directly to them. So it seems weird to me to have larger parties with kids who are all in a child's class, but not close enough to know their home addresses (or at least emails) so the only way to pass invitations on is through the school (and then you have to abide by the school's rules).

All that being said, I think it's sketchy to invite almost all, but not entirely all, of a group, as in the OP--especially such a sizable group (14 of 18) and one composed of young children who can't be counted on to really understand why they shouldn't talk about the party with the others. Either invite everyone, or invite only the five or six closest kids, would be my suggestion. I would probably go with the latter, personally; I find it hard to believe the birthday child is equally super-close to 13-14 of the kids, with a huge gulf separating them from the remaining 3-4.
Title: Re: (More) Child Birthday Party Etiquette
Post by: artk2002 on April 23, 2013, 04:19:51 PM
In order to deal with the hurt feelings issue, my sons' school adopted a "natural division" rule. You didn't have to invite the whole class, but the division had to be something that didn't point to exclusion of a few people. All the girls or all the boys was fine. Everybody in the car pool was, too. What you couldn't do is invite everybody but one or two people. Of course, the school had no way of enforcing this, but I didn't hear of anyone going counter to that when the boys were small. This was a private school, so the families there had already committed to the school's philosophies; one of which is "you can't say you can't play."

The school has a vested interest in dealing with issues like this, although I know it feels intrusive for a lot of people. No child comes to school able to leave the outside world behind and being excluded can have a bad effect on the classroom.
Title: Re: (More) Child Birthday Party Etiquette
Post by: *inviteseller on April 23, 2013, 04:35:14 PM
Again, POD Art (we seem to post at the same time!)  Our school has this is the beginning of the year paperwork for elementary only.  It makes it hard if you really don't want to invite that one kid who is annoying, but when you exclude one or two kids from a large group, it is noticeable and can cause the problems I saw with my DD's class (and btw, it did backfire on the mom because alot of the kids backed out of the party when it was found out).  Even if you send the invites to the kids homes, you have to be aware that it can cause hard feelings and issues in the room your child is in 7 hours a day, 5 days a week. 
Title: Re: (More) Child Birthday Party Etiquette
Post by: CrazyDaffodilLady on April 23, 2013, 05:13:49 PM
When my niece was in the first grade, everyone in the class except her and two others were invited to a birthday party.  The exclusions were pretty obviously racially motivated. 

Niece was broken hearted.  Her mom told her, "Your birthday is coming up in two months.  We're going to have the greatest party ever, and we're going to invite everybody." 

I love my niece's mom.
Title: Re: (More) Child Birthday Party Etiquette
Post by: Kimberami on April 23, 2013, 05:44:01 PM
I'll admit up front that I'm over 50 and I've not had children so my opinion is coming from that perspective. 

I personally think its ridiculous to require the entire class or all the boys or all the girls be invited to any birthday party.  The same way I think it was ridiculous when the "everyone must win a trophy/no one ever loses" was going on.  My personal belief is that things like that teach kids to feel entitled and then, when things don't work that way in the real world, and they don't, it hits them so much harder than if they'd grown up realizing they don't go to every party and there are winners and losers when you play a game.  (Not that winning/losing should be stressed.  It should be acknowledged but doing your personal best is what should be stressed.)

The one exception to that would be a situation like the OP posted.  It would be very hurtful to invite almost the entire class and leave out just 3-4 kids.  No, if you're going to invite so many classmates then, in that particular instance, the whole class should have been invited.   Either that or cut the invitations back so that it's not just a few who weren't invited.
I can get behind this, but I don't think the invitations should be passed out at school.  That's hurtful.
Title: Re: (More) Child Birthday Party Etiquette
Post by: *inviteseller on April 23, 2013, 07:03:44 PM
CrazyDaffodilLady...you wouldn't happen to live in Pittsburgh PA perhaps?  It makes my head hurt that that two of us have seen that happen.
Title: Re: (More) Child Birthday Party Etiquette
Post by: blarg314 on April 23, 2013, 07:45:05 PM

I do think the rules about having to invite the whole class, or all the girls, are silly - not all the parents want to host a party of 20+ kids, or are able to. And, in a large class, the sheer number of parties to attend can get silly - a class of 24 kids will be a birthday party every two weeks, on average.

That said, in general, inviting almost everyone from a well defined group to a party is not a good idea, for kids or adults. If you are inviting 50% or less from a group to a party, you're generally okay. On the other extreme, inviting all but one person from a group is very hurtful - it says "I like everyone in this group well enough to invite to my party.  Except you. Nyah nyah." That works for an pre-school class, a Guide troupe, or if you're inviting all but one of your coworkers to your wedding.

For kids it's more extreme, because, as the OP said, explaining to a four year old that you can't talk about the party in front of people who weren't invited is a very difficult concept to get across. So the few kids who aren't invited are going to have their noses rubbed in it.

There are some exceptions. I see no need to invite someone who is bullying you, or has been aggressively nasty to you in the past, no matter what the age, for example.

Title: Re: (More) Child Birthday Party Etiquette
Post by: kherbert05 on April 23, 2013, 10:29:43 PM
Loren and Brett went to a daycare/preschool that fed into a private k-6 school. When Loren was in K, Sis was told you had to invite all the kids in K or all the girls in K not just the ones in the class. Since it was a private school they could enforce it.


The parents were  NOT HAPPY.


When sis was in 1st or 2nd she wanted to invite all the kids expect one Pete. Pete was mean. Mom of course would not stand for it. She allowed Sis to invite the boys but that meant Pete. Pete with malice of forethought broke Hans' arm. He held the boy in place and slammed a heavy gate on his arm while adults jumped over things and ran in street shoes across the roller rink to save Hans. Sis wasn't allowed to have boy girl parties after that. Pete was excluded from other people's parties and his parents moved him to a private school. The sad part was Pete was not the most disturbed kid we went to school with. High functioning sociopaths and Narisists for parents do not make for a good mix of kids at school.




The saga of boy girl parties continued till they were in JH - and someone had a birthday party at a night club. They were left unsupervised and broke into the bar area. A large number of kids ended up in the hospital. The night club lost its licence, and some of the "Adults" faced criminal charges. Sis had not been allowed to attend and Dad had tried to warn the owner about how monumentally stupid he was being. It was about then that Mom and Dad understood what I had meant when in K -2 I kept insisting that some of my classmates did not have parents.



Title: Re: (More) Child Birthday Party Etiquette
Post by: sammycat on April 23, 2013, 11:39:59 PM
(and btw, it did backfire on the mom because alot of the kids backed out of the party when it was found out). 

Good.  Glad to hear some parents and kids still are still decent human beings, unlike the invitee's parent/s.
Title: Re: (More) Child Birthday Party Etiquette
Post by: *inviteseller on April 23, 2013, 11:52:00 PM
(and btw, it did backfire on the mom because alot of the kids backed out of the party when it was found out). 

Good.  Glad to hear some parents and kids still are still decent human beings, unlike the invitee's parent/s.

The sad part was the kid was really nice, but I think that was due to dad (parents were separated).  When they came to my DD's party all the kids played together, and it was like a mini United Nations and dad was very involved in helping out (he had to bring all 5 kids because the Mrs refused to bring her son or have the other 4 while he brought son to party).  I am not a fool to think there isn't racism out there, but to see such blatant racism to 5 yr olds turned my stomach along with a lot of other parents.
Title: Re: (More) Child Birthday Party Etiquette
Post by: magician5 on April 24, 2013, 06:59:16 AM
Disappointment is one of those "everybody has to learn how to handle it sooner or later" life lessons. I know I'm in the minority here, but childhood is not a magic fairyland ... may as well learn the lesson now. Life's not fair, and they may not get everything they want.
Title: Re: (More) Child Birthday Party Etiquette
Post by: MommyPenguin on April 24, 2013, 07:31:11 AM
I'll agree that kids do need to learn that they aren't invited to every party, and that's an important life lesson.

However, if an adult came on here and said that every one of her coworkers was invited to a party, but not her, we would be indignant on her behalf.  *Even* in the adult world this is an insult and comes across as mean-spirited.  Whether you're talking about adults or kids, inviting almost all of a group without inviting the whole group feels more like singling out that person/those people to *not* be invited, versus choosing just one's real friends to be *invited*, and I think that's where the issue is.

I think the parents are wrong to invite so high a percentage of the class and not those 4 boys.  I think that the 50% rule sounds reasonable.  Half the kids or less, that's fine.  Any more than that and you invite the whole group.  I could maybe see an exception if there's a kid who is bullying your child and it's known to his family because you've tried to get it to stop.  They'll know exactly why he's not invited.  If you have a child who is a serious problem and you don't think he can handle himself at the party, you could call his parents separately and explain that you'd *like* to invite him, but you know he has trouble at this sort of event, and that you'd be happy to include him *if* a parent stays with him and makes sure he's able to stay under control, and that if that can't happen you're very sorry he won't be able to come, or something like that.
Title: Re: (More) Child Birthday Party Etiquette
Post by: m2kbug on April 24, 2013, 07:53:44 AM
This is a really hard age when little ones don't get invited too.  I've had to deal with this with the siblings and there have been a lot of times when the little sibling is given one of the extra goody bags from the other kid's party, which thrills them to no end.  It hurts, but it's life.  You don't get invited to everything. 

It's always been a rule at my school that if you're going to distribute invitations via backpack express, through school, you invite everyone.  Otherwise, you need to make other arrangements.  This was grade school,  the younger grades, not now in the upper grades.

It's pretty lousy that the whole class was invited except for a small handful in this situation.  I think there was a serious miss-step here.

Because I haven't always done the "whole class" party, I have expressed to my child not talk about it in front of other people that aren't on the invitation list.  It's just rude.  There's a certain level of discretion here. 
Title: Re: (More) Child Birthday Party Etiquette
Post by: OSUJillyBean on April 24, 2013, 08:50:46 AM
I don't (yet) have kiddos so take this opinion for what it's worth:

Is it really so hard to invite kids outside of the classroom to a birthday party?  And why would you (the party host/hostess) want two dozen rugrats in your care anyway if you tried to invite the entire class?  At a very young age I had a birthday party at the park with the girls from my brownie troop (girl scouts).  There were maybe seven who could attend and that was fine.  We played on swings, ate cake, etc. and it was fine.

I will never understand spending hundreds of dollars on a birthday party for a kid that young, who might not even remember the event as a grown-up!  Little kids are easy: sugar and playtime and a few friends to enjoy it with.
Title: Re: (More) Child Birthday Party Etiquette
Post by: LeveeWoman on April 24, 2013, 08:54:38 AM
"Rugrats"?
Title: Re: (More) Child Birthday Party Etiquette
Post by: OSUJillyBean on April 24, 2013, 08:58:22 AM
"Rugrats"?

Small humanoid creature under the age of 8.   Also known as midget, half-pint, tot, small-fry, etc.  ;)
Title: Re: (More) Child Birthday Party Etiquette
Post by: nrb80 on April 24, 2013, 10:08:50 AM
I don't (yet) have kiddos so take this opinion for what it's worth:

Is it really so hard to invite kids outside of the classroom to a birthday party?  And why would you (the party host/hostess) want two dozen rugrats in your care anyway if you tried to invite the entire class?  At a very young age I had a birthday party at the park with the girls from my brownie troop (girl scouts).  There were maybe seven who could attend and that was fine.  We played on swings, ate cake, etc. and it was fine.

I will never understand spending hundreds of dollars on a birthday party for a kid that young, who might not even remember the event as a grown-up!  Little kids are easy: sugar and playtime and a few friends to enjoy it with.

See, I think that for too many parents, there is little to no contact with other parents in a child's classroom except pickup/drop off and no contact information other than school mailboxes.  At our preschool, I have emails for all the other parents, phone numbers for most, and am Facebook friends with many. 

At the preschool age, I personally just invite the whole class.  There have been several discussions among a couple close mothers about one child, who is the class bully, says inappropriate things, and generally acts inappropriately.  That family has declined every invite our out of school activity, so it's a non-issue, but the discussion I had with my son (who is turning 4) is that he can invite three best friends for his birthday or all his friends, including the problem child.  He chose the latter.

The teachers are working with the kids to talk about appropriate and inappropriate conversation and behavior.  One issue is playdates - I'm going to X's house is exciting to kids, but it hurts those excluded.  I felt absolutely AWFUL a month or so ago - I pinch hit for the parents of my son's best friend and picked him up on a day my son was not at school, took him home, fed him dinner, etc.  It was last minute, and he wasn't told about it until I picked him up - and since he was a little apprehensive I knelt down and said that we could call his mommy, and we were going to have spaghetti and meatballs and he could ride in my van next to his BFF.  Cue tears from two little girls who don't even like the boys, but were sad they were left out.

As for why hold these sort of parties - as painful as small children can be, holding and attending these parties - especially ones where the whole family is invited - helps build social relationships between the parents, and helps form bonds. Those social bonds can be extremely helpful, as well as beneficial to everyone involved.  And it's part of the grit your teeth and manage that comes with kids :-)  I certainly cannot stand one mother, who I hang out with on occasion and get together with as a family because her child and my child adore each other, and her husband is awesome and gets along with my husband. 
Title: Re: (More) Child Birthday Party Etiquette
Post by: Lynn2000 on April 24, 2013, 12:30:21 PM
At the preschool age, I personally just invite the whole class.  There have been several discussions among a couple close mothers about one child, who is the class bully, says inappropriate things, and generally acts inappropriately.  That family has declined every invite our out of school activity, so it's a non-issue, but the discussion I had with my son (who is turning 4) is that he can invite three best friends for his birthday or all his friends, including the problem child.  He chose the latter.

I think offering the birthday child the choice is sensible--small party with a few kids, or large party with everyone, possibly including some kids you don't like. I think that situation is widely applicable to a lot of other situations throughout life--like the friend whose spouse you dislike, for example, or the company party that offers both networking opportunities and also Obnoxious Ned. (Though of course if I personally, as the parent, didn't want to deal with a large party, or couldn't stand a couple of kids and didn't want to risk them being there, I would just state it was going to be a small party, so choose your three best friends only.)

The teachers are working with the kids to talk about appropriate and inappropriate conversation and behavior.  One issue is playdates - I'm going to X's house is exciting to kids, but it hurts those excluded.  I felt absolutely AWFUL a month or so ago - I pinch hit for the parents of my son's best friend and picked him up on a day my son was not at school, took him home, fed him dinner, etc.  It was last minute, and he wasn't told about it until I picked him up - and since he was a little apprehensive I knelt down and said that we could call his mommy, and we were going to have spaghetti and meatballs and he could ride in my van next to his BFF.  Cue tears from two little girls who don't even like the boys, but were sad they were left out.

I dunno. I don't have kids and I'm not especially good with them, so maybe I'm missing something here, but I think I would kind of look at those little girls like,  ???. I would wonder if they were already drama queens or used to getting whatever they wanted just by carrying on. Knowing you and one other person were excluded from something that everyone else did is hurtful; knowing that you, and almost everyone else except for one person, don't get to go over to Susie's house tonight for spaghetti and meatballs is just... life. I can definitely understand teaching kids not to brag about something, but that was clearly not happening in this case, so I would come away thinking those girls were just weird. Or I would wonder if something bad was going on in their homes, like, do they not get fed adequately, such that even overhearing someone else's dinner plans upsets them. That's where my mind would go, not, they're hurt because they're being excluded from something.
Title: Re: (More) Child Birthday Party Etiquette
Post by: mechtilde on April 24, 2013, 12:40:05 PM
I noticed early on that the children who had the big invite the whole class sort of parties only had one or two before their parents gave up on the idea.

My children don't get to invite everyone, but they have had a party every year. From about the age of five they have set the guest list and often dictated the menu and games (yes I retained the power of veto, but never really needed to use it). There are 25-30 children per class, and we have room for 12 tops. I can't afford a huge blow out every year with room hire, food for 30 etc- let alone having it at somewhere like a softplay.

Yes, it means that there will be uninvited children, but that's life.
Title: Re: (More) Child Birthday Party Etiquette
Post by: TootsNYC on April 24, 2013, 01:31:26 PM
When my DD was little and in a close-knit daycare, lots of parents invited all the kids.

But we couldn't afford that, bcs we wanted an at-home party, and we wouldn't have had room for them all. To invite them all, we'd have had to go to a bowling alley or something.

So we invited only one kid more than her age, so 5 out of 25 or 30. They were the kids she played with most often and seemed closest to. It was good training for them all, I think.
Title: Re: (More) Child Birthday Party Etiquette
Post by: *inviteseller on April 24, 2013, 03:00:19 PM
Toots, what you did is fine because in that case I wouldn't bat an eye if my child had not been invited, but the other way around if you had invited 20 and excluded 5 is the point that is to me, maybe not rude, but can cause some issues with the kids.  I was the mom who invited the whole daycare class, or the whole class because thankfully my DD's are both June so we get a grove at the park and I have a big old bar b que.  But typically, you didn't get half of the invites to even respond (my pet peeve) and I also only did this every other year.  Yes, there was always that one kid you really really really did not want to come, but in the few cases we had, they never rsvp'd or came to any of the parties anyway.  By the time they get to middle school and branch out because now you have different people in different classes and it is not as noticeable when everyone is not invited.  All the parties my younger DD has been to since she started school last year have been all the girls in the class only (between 12-14).
To the poster who asked about how hard it is to know the classmates...my district is large, as much students as area covered.  Your bff on the saturday soccer team may live 2 streets away, but goes to a different elementary school.  I am on the line that decides which school you go to and as many kids are down the street that my DD plays with at the playground, none go to school with her.  Her bff from school lives over the other side of the district and our neighborhood has a glut of boys for her age group and only 2 girls and they don't really play together.  Gone are the days where mom was home and walked the kids to school then went and had coffee with the other moms in the neighborhood. 
Title: Re: (More) Child Birthday Party Etiquette
Post by: nrb80 on April 24, 2013, 04:29:55 PM
I dunno. I don't have kids and I'm not especially good with them, so maybe I'm missing something here, but I think I would kind of look at those little girls like,  ???. I would wonder if they were already drama queens or used to getting whatever they wanted just by carrying on. Knowing you and one other person were excluded from something that everyone else did is hurtful; knowing that you, and almost everyone else except for one person, don't get to go over to Susie's house tonight for spaghetti and meatballs is just... life. I can definitely understand teaching kids not to brag about something, but that was clearly not happening in this case, so I would come away thinking those girls were just weird. Or I would wonder if something bad was going on in their homes, like, do they not get fed adequately, such that even overhearing someone else's dinner plans upsets them. That's where my mind would go, not, they're hurt because they're being excluded from something.

It's perfectly developmentally normal for a 3-4 year old.  They still think the universe revolves around them, and they are only beginning to learn that other people have fun without them.  It's terrifying, and healthy, to go through this pain at 3-4.  They're terrible little tyrants at this age, just learning how the world works. 
Title: Re: (More) Child Birthday Party Etiquette
Post by: blarg314 on April 24, 2013, 08:39:09 PM
I dunno. I don't have kids and I'm not especially good with them, so maybe I'm missing something here, but I think I would kind of look at those little girls like,  ???. I would wonder if they were already drama queens or used to getting whatever they wanted just by carrying on.

If they were 15 I'd say drama queens. If they were 12 year old girls, I'd say that there was probably complex machinations going on behind the scenes to exclude certain girls and make sure they knew they were excluded - so drama, but not necessarily coming from the uninvited girl.

But for 3 or 4 year olds? That I'd consider totally normal for their development stage.

Even for adults, being the only one of a group of people not invited to a fun thing you'd like to be invited to, and listening to everyone else chatter about how much fun it's going to be (or was) can be hurtful. But by the time you're an adult, you've learned to suppress your reaction, and rationalize ("I didn't really want to go anyways/they're a bunch of losers/I didn't like them in the first place"). 

For a four year old,  kids that age tend to be really, really honest about their emotions and not at all good at hiding them. That makes things like tact, social white lies and pretending to like someone for external social reasons incredibly difficult to explain. They can be starting to learn it, but they won't have gotten really far at this point.
Title: Re: (More) Child Birthday Party Etiquette
Post by: LadyR on April 24, 2013, 11:06:04 PM
Maybe its because I grew up in a small school but we invited the entire class until I got to a certain age and started having slumber parties or activity parties when I was allowed to invite 3 girls (the number that would fit in my parents car to go to said activity from the smalltown we lived in). My class was only ever about 12-15 kids though. We also invited neighbors, my cousins, and the children of my parents' friends. There was also 20 or so kids (and these were house parties). Not all my classmates came, my birthday was in the middle of summer vacation, but my parents sent invites just the same. Again, it was a small town, so my parents were acquainted with all the kids and where they lived and we drove to the houses to drop off invitations. In turn, I was invited to all their birthday parties. It was the way things were done until we were about 12-13.

Title: Re: (More) Child Birthday Party Etiquette
Post by: kareng57 on April 24, 2013, 11:16:39 PM
When my DD was little and in a close-knit daycare, lots of parents invited all the kids.

But we couldn't afford that, bcs we wanted an at-home party, and we wouldn't have had room for them all. To invite them all, we'd have had to go to a bowling alley or something.

So we invited only one kid more than her age, so 5 out of 25 or 30. They were the kids she played with most often and seemed closest to. It was good training for them all, I think.


That's the guideline we used, as well.  Even for simple at-home parties there's no way that we could have afforded to host 18 kids.  At my kids' public school, it was considered to be acceptable for the parents to discreetly exchange birthday-party-invitations during the pickup-wait time.

Yes, it's possible that kids heard later about birthday parties to which they were not invited.  Honestly, that's life.  Kids aged 4+ are old enough to start learning that they can't be included in every celebration.  I'll agree completely that it can seem pretty unfair to exclude something like 1 or 2 kids out of a class of about 18 - but it can also be very difficult if the one excluded child is the class bully who would make the experience miserable for everyone.