Author Topic: Kids Birthday Party Etiquette  (Read 3121 times)

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AngelsMum

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Kids Birthday Party Etiquette
« on: March 29, 2007, 02:56:20 AM »
Hi Everyone,

My DD is having a birthday in a few days and I was curious about everyone's etiquette related Do's and Dont's for a child's birthday party.  Words of wisdom also appreciated. :D

Invitations went out a few days later than I liked, but only one (out of 14 RSVP'd).  ::)  Lucky I live in a small town, so I've managed to bail up most of the parents to date.

What are your views on present opening?  Straight away, individually as people arrive?  All at once, towards the end?  My neighbour doesn't open anything at the party and leaves it all until the guests leave.  I found that disappointing as I missed her son's reaction to my gift.

I think that thank you's have been discussed before, but as a reminder, if thanked immediately at the party are "thank you notes" necessary?

How much should any parents that stay be entertained?  I thought about putting out a plate of "adult" type food and pointing to the kettle. ;D  We're pretty informal around my house.

Looking forward to your replies.

Cheers,
AngelsMum.

AprilRenee

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Re: Kids Birthday Party Etiquette
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2007, 03:01:50 AM »
For my daughters birthday, we gave invites to her entire class, you can't just invite a few unless you know all the phone numbers of who you want to invite.

We did games, pizza, cake, then presents. After presents (i've noticed at any party) people start to drift out the door. So I figure it's a great way to let people know the party is over.

I generally, if we are not doing a meal party, put out pretzels (or like chex mix), chips and dip, a veggie platter, fruit platter, soda, juice and I have coffee made.

Chocolate Cake

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Re: Kids Birthday Party Etiquette
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2007, 10:37:50 AM »
Present opening comes right after the cake eating.   Or, during the cake eating.  Leave enough time so that each child receives the pleasure of seeing the birthday child open his/her present.  There is nothing more disappointing to a child than to not see their gift opened.   Allot about 2-3 minutes per gift (opening, admiring, thanking, etc.)

Verbal thank you's are a must, but so are written thank you's.  Mail them no later than 3-4 days after the party.

If the children are of an age where most parents would feel uncomfortable leaving, then you'll have to accomodate them with food/beverage.

However, if the child is old enough where the parent should feel comfortable leaving, but don't, don't make any special arrangements.  Helicopter parents shouldn't be rewarded when they are in the way.

twinkletoes

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Re: Kids Birthday Party Etiquette
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2007, 10:43:25 AM »
The parents thing - depends on the age of the kids.  If they're, say, 10 - don't accomodate the parents.  If the kids are quite young, like nursery-school age, then I think it's fine to have some snacks out for them.

*I* personally think kids should open their presents after the party.  Especially if the birthday kid is quite young - kids tend to "speak the truth."  As in "A backpack isn't a present!" or "I already have this movie," or "I HATE Spiderman!"  But as Chocolate Cake mentioned, the kids like to see their gift getting opened, so maybe not.

Chocolate Cake

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Re: Kids Birthday Party Etiquette
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2007, 10:55:47 AM »
Especially if the birthday kid is quite young - kids tend to "speak the truth."

Good point.  I think that the issue should be addressed with the child a day or two before the party.  You could role play with your child so that they can practice how to say a few nice things about a present that they don't  like.   If you combine that exercise with a succinct explanation about how negative comments would make the gift-giver feel and how it could hurt the friendship and about the general idea of graciousness, I think your child would handle a situation like this very well.    That's been my experience with my two kids, anyway.

twinkletoes

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Re: Kids Birthday Party Etiquette
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2007, 11:26:49 AM »
Especially if the birthday kid is quite young - kids tend to "speak the truth."

Good point.  I think that the issue should be addressed with the child a day or two before the party.  You could role play with your child so that they can practice how to say a few nice things about a present that they don't  like.   If you combine that exercise with a succinct explanation about how negative comments would make the gift-giver feel and how it could hurt the friendship and about the general idea of graciousness, I think your child would handle a situation like this very well.    That's been my experience with my two kids, anyway.

A bit off-topic, but my mother attended a bridal shower a few years ago where the bride and groom received an incredibly ugly platter (it was like a Pucci-designed dress mated with some grandmother's floral-printed sofa...the lovechild of that unholy union would have looked like this platter, at least according to my mom).  The bride *gasped* and all but yelled "what is THIS ugly thing?"  Everyone heard it, and there was no taking it back.  I don't know even know how someone could try to backpedal and say "oh, uh, what I meant was..."

BettyP

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Re: Kids Birthday Party Etiquette
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2007, 11:15:57 PM »

I think that thank you's have been discussed before, but as a reminder, if thanked immediately at the party are "thank you notes" necessary?


I'm a bit cranky about this. I personally think that you should do both. Immediately thank the guest after you unwrap the gift, thank them again when they leave, and then send a thank you. If your child is too young to write, have them dictate the note and then decorate it. Wee Child and I have been doing this since he could hold a crayon and not eat it. We do 3-5 a day until they are done. (Generally, two days for birthdays and holidays)

AnnaB

Twik

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Re: Kids Birthday Party Etiquette
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2007, 08:48:29 AM »
The bride *gasped* and all but yelled "what is THIS ugly thing?"  Everyone heard it, and there was no taking it back.  I don't know even know how someone could try to backpedal and say "oh, uh, what I meant was..."

"Oh, I didn't mean the platter - there was a spider crawling up my leg. Yeah, that's it, a spider...."
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jais

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Re: Kids Birthday Party Etiquette
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2007, 02:42:34 PM »
The bride *gasped* and all but yelled "what is THIS ugly thing?"  Everyone heard it, and there was no taking it back.  I don't know even know how someone could try to backpedal and say "oh, uh, what I meant was..."

"Oh, I didn't mean the platter - there was a spider crawling up my leg. Yeah, that's it, a spider...."

LOL!! EXACTLY!  ;D

HorseFreak

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Re: Kids Birthday Party Etiquette
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2007, 02:57:44 PM »
I don't think a kid's birthday party at which the gift giver is present warrants a thank you note. Open the gift and thank them. If grandma sends a gift, have the kid call her up to thank her or write a note. I feel silly getting a thank you note after a baby shower at which I was ALREADY thanked. I know what I got you, you picked it out (registry) so I don't need you to kill a tree just to repeat it to me. Events where the gifts aren't opened in front of the guests require a note.

Lisbeth

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Re: Kids Birthday Party Etiquette
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2007, 04:05:54 PM »
I don't think a kid's birthday party at which the gift giver is present warrants a thank you note. Open the gift and thank them. If grandma sends a gift, have the kid call her up to thank her or write a note. I feel silly getting a thank you note after a baby shower at which I was ALREADY thanked. I know what I got you, you picked it out (registry) so I don't need you to kill a tree just to repeat it to me. Events where the gifts aren't opened in front of the guests require a note.

I disagree.

Writing thank-you notes is about being gracious, not "killing trees."  If you're not going to accept a thank-you note graciously, don't bother giving gifts in the first place!

Besides, if you are opening lots of gifts, you might not have much time or energy to really appreciate the gifts enough to offer more than a quick "thanks" that can sound curt.  A written note does a better job of expressing gratitude for the thought and care that the giver put into choosing a gift.
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HorseFreak

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Re: Kids Birthday Party Etiquette
« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2007, 08:24:50 PM »

I disagree.

Writing thank-you notes is about being gracious, not "killing trees."  If you're not going to accept a thank-you note graciously, don't bother giving gifts in the first place!

Besides, if you are opening lots of gifts, you might not have much time or energy to really appreciate the gifts enough to offer more than a quick "thanks" that can sound curt.  A written note does a better job of expressing gratitude for the thought and care that the giver put into choosing a gift.

Whoa, this wasn't about flaming anyone or accepting a note graciously! I was simply stating my opinion that I don't need to be thanked multiple times for a gift and that I won't be upset about not getting a written thank you when an oral one has been given already. In fact, I'd rather get a call and a short conversation about how things are going with the baby/honeymoon/post-graduation life. I personally don't feel someone hurriedly writing a two sentence thank you note is any better. 

We obviously disagree about this issue and have our own experiences to draw from. I am of the belief that this is a place to discuss etiquette, especially in today's changing world. There will be disagreements and that's OK.

Shoo

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Re: Kids Birthday Party Etiquette
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2007, 09:11:20 PM »
I don't think a kid's birthday party at which the gift giver is present warrants a thank you note. Open the gift and thank them. If grandma sends a gift, have the kid call her up to thank her or write a note. I feel silly getting a thank you note after a baby shower at which I was ALREADY thanked. I know what I got you, you picked it out (registry) so I don't need you to kill a tree just to repeat it to me. Events where the gifts aren't opened in front of the guests require a note.

As far as kids' birthdays go, it's about more than just thanking the giver for the gift.  That, as you stated, can be done in person.

It's also about teaching your child to be gracious, about expressing gratitude, and about learning good manners.  These are life lessons a child *needs* to learn, and a parent who instills this type of thinking in their children from a very young age will stand a much better chance of having a teenager or young adult who is actually pleasant to be around.

caranfin

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Re: Kids Birthday Party Etiquette
« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2007, 03:35:43 PM »
Present opening comes right after the cake eating.   Or, during the cake eating.  Leave enough time so that each child receives the pleasure of seeing the birthday child open his/her present.  There is nothing more disappointing to a child than to not see their gift opened.   Allot about 2-3 minutes per gift (opening, admiring, thanking, etc.)

I agree. In fact, I like to take a photo of the giver with the birthday child after the gift is opened, and send it with the thank-you note.

I don't really do anything to accomodate parents. They're welcome to punch and cake, but I don't plan activities for them. We just chat.
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twinkletoes

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Re: Kids Birthday Party Etiquette
« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2007, 03:42:27 PM »
I don't think a kid's birthday party at which the gift giver is present warrants a thank you note. Open the gift and thank them. If grandma sends a gift, have the kid call her up to thank her or write a note. I feel silly getting a thank you note after a baby shower at which I was ALREADY thanked. I know what I got you, you picked it out (registry) so I don't need you to kill a tree just to repeat it to me. Events where the gifts aren't opened in front of the guests require a note.

As far as kids' birthdays go, it's about more than just thanking the giver for the gift.  That, as you stated, can be done in person.

It's also about teaching your child to be gracious, about expressing gratitude, and about learning good manners.  These are life lessons a child *needs* to learn, and a parent who instills this type of thinking in their children from a very young age will stand a much better chance of having a teenager or young adult who is actually pleasant to be around.

I agree with Shoo.  This is the perfect opportunity to learn how to write a thank you note as well.  My mom taught me how to write them by telling me "OK, what did you like about the gift?  What will you do with the gift?" etc., etc.  It gets the kid beyond just writing "thanks for the sweater.  I liked it.  It was great."