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Author Topic: Siblings at kids' birthday parties  (Read 14047 times)

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NotCinderell

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Re: Siblings at kids' birthday parties
« Reply #15 on: October 06, 2010, 04:03:26 PM »
I have to wonder if this is something new in this era of small families.  I send my son to an Orthodox Jewish day school, and while I have only two children, many of the families in my son's school have several children per family.  (The most prolific family in our community has 12 kids, and there are several families in the 5-8 range).  Nobody would dream of sending all their children to a birthday party unless explicitly invited, because if the child invited, say, his five favorite schoolmates, you could literally end up with dozens of children on your guest list.  It's implicit in this community that when one kid is invited, only the child comes, unless the kid is small enough to need a chaperone, in which case a parent usually accompanies them.  A teenage sibling or cousin might come instead, but only if the parents are unavailable.

My son's birthday party was this past weekend, and we had no problems with extra kids showing up, thank goodness.

anonymousmac

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Re: Siblings at kids' birthday parties
« Reply #16 on: October 06, 2010, 06:13:03 PM »
They asked if there was any extra cupcakes for their uninvited children?  :o     

Oh, no!  I did have plenty of cupcakes, and after it was clear that every child had one (including the siblings) and there were still a few left on the plate, after a decent interval, a few parents sheepishly asked me whether they might have one.  No problems there, thank goodness.

anonymousmac

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Re: Siblings at kids' birthday parties
« Reply #17 on: October 06, 2010, 06:15:58 PM »
I don't know how gracious it is (as I am torn myself) but what my cousin does is to let people know that there will be only enough cupcakes and goodie bags for invited children.  With the very heavy implication that 'extras' will get nothing.

I am not sure how she words things, but I can find out if you are curious...

I am curious, so if you get a chance to ask, I would definitely be interested in how she does it.

I actually decided not to do goodie bags for this party, precisely because I suspected there might be extra kids, or kids who showed up without their parents RSVP'ing, or something.  I ended up just having a pile of toys like silly sunglasses, and handing them out as needed.

anonymousmac

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Re: Siblings at kids' birthday parties
« Reply #18 on: October 06, 2010, 06:26:36 PM »
When I read the original post, I assumed we were talking about older children being dropped off to the party with a younger sibling.

I think the fact that the invitees are 3- and 4-year-olds and therefore have a parent staying at the party with them, might be the problem. The parent may not have anyone else to leave the sibling/s with for the duration of the party. I know that when my friends have parties for kids up until about 6, they pretty much invite any other young children in the family, because they know that's what they're going to end up with anyway. (Also, kids that age tend to be less fussy about an all-in-together approach).

I'm not saying this is correct etiquette, just suggesting reasons why you may be running into a problem.

I think you're right.  When a parent has to stay at the party, it can be hard to find care for siblings during that time, and if it's a party that the sibling might also enjoy, it sure makes a lot of sense to try to bring them as well.

I suspected that this does happen a lot with kids' parties, which is why I was wondering if it's an expected part of the culture now.  I think it's proving to be true that for some people, it really is expected that siblings are included.

I certainly would rather include some siblings than not have those children be able to come to the party, and in this case the kids in question were great.  It wasn't a problem, it's just that I was pretty surprised at not being asked ahead of time, and having no one say anything at the party itself ("Oh, this is Johnny's older brother Jimmy, is it OK if he comes too?")

I guess I'd say about half of the people who brought siblings asked me ahead of time, and half of them just showed up and never said anything.  I've been feeling kind of grumpy toward the parents who just showed up with extra kids and didn't say anything, but if it's mostly accepted practice with small kids these days, then I think I need to let it go.

anonymousmac

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Re: Siblings at kids' birthday parties
« Reply #19 on: October 06, 2010, 06:28:38 PM »
I always ask when I RSVP if siblings are welcome.  Because sometimes they are, and sometimes they aren't.

I guess that doesn't help things from your end though.  I guess I would just either say "siblings welcome" or "due to limited [whatever], siblings cannot be accomodated".

Yes, I think so.  I felt rude putting that on the invitation, but in the future, if the numbers really matter, then I think I will have to resort to this.

kherbert05

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Re: Siblings at kids' birthday parties
« Reply #20 on: October 06, 2010, 06:56:12 PM »
This can be such a confusing issue because people have such different expectations. I know that people in my family have handled it by stating on the RSVP that they must have an RSVP by X date, to confirm the reservation with exact numbers.

Also people in my family aren't afraid to say, Sorry Jane isn't invited John is. If the kid can't come without siblings, sorry you have to decline. It sounds harsh - but expecting the host family to add siblings to the cost is rude. I think like a PP said, it might have something to do with large families. Most of my Aunts and Uncles have between 3 - 5 kids. The idea of adding the siblings is a nightmare.

I'm also amazed at the people with grade school kids, that insist on staying.  Sis is happy that Loren is old enough that people accept her being dropped off.

A flip side of that was when we moved. I was in Kinder. The parents kept insisting that my Mom stay even when the other parents didn't. She even asked the teacher is I was being some type of hellion at school or something, thinking that they wanted her to stay to control me. Turned out they were just worried about the peanut thing. When mom found that out she offered to check the labels when she dropped me off. After that she left with the other parents.
Don't Teach Them For Your Past. Teach Them For Their Future

blarg314

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Re: Siblings at kids' birthday parties
« Reply #21 on: October 06, 2010, 08:10:27 PM »

As a kid, I don't remember a single party, hosted or attended, where the guests parents stayed with the kids. When the kids were really young big parties weren't standard, and it was mainly family before the kids were in school. Once kids were in school, at age five or so, the parents dropped the kids off and picked the kids up. It was also pretty rare to have parties anywhere other than a home.

If the expectation is that parents will stay, then babysitting is definitely an issue. Spending $20-30 dollars on a babysitter so your kid can go to a birthday party adds a lot to the party. 

kareng57

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Re: Siblings at kids' birthday parties
« Reply #22 on: October 06, 2010, 08:43:19 PM »
I agree that you should specify the child's name on the invitation.  I think, for younger kids, it's acceptable for a parent to accompany them, however, I have no idea why people think it's appropriate to bring along an uninvited guest, no matter the age.

I did actually write each child's name on the invitation:  "To Johnny".  In one case there were three siblings I wanted to invite, so I made three separate invitations, each with one child's name on it.  (That family just never RSVP'd and didn't come.)  It didn't seem to make any difference.

The children are 3 and 4 years old, so while I didn't write anything about it on the invites, I did expect parents were likely to stay for the party; that was fine.  The parents were very polite when they asked if there were any extra cupcakes, and I didn't feel bad if I didn't have enough party favors for all of them. :)


It sounds as though you did everything that you could have.

However - (it's possible that you may not know, you've said you're new to this) - maybe it's very, very common, in your area for parents to bring siblings along?  Personally I don't think that it's an excuse - however, if it's commonly done it's possible that they just considered it an "unwritten" invitation for their other children as well.

It could indeed be a problem for parents who are expected to stay with their child for the party.  (That's why I didn't do birthday parties till age 4, and didn't expect parents to stay).  But if they can't arrange childcare for their other kids, they might have to simply decline, as a PP did.

ClaireC79

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Re: Siblings at kids' birthday parties
« Reply #23 on: October 07, 2010, 02:48:42 AM »
I admit to asking about my son when I rang up to RSVP for a invitation my daughter had received a few days ago.  In my defense there was no names on the invitation and my son is the same age as the birthday girl's brother and they do sometimes play together (their son has special needs and no longer goes to the same school as his sisters and my kids but the boys do count each other as friends) and my daughter came home saying that her friend had told her to bring DS to play with her brother - but I wasn't sure that the friends mother knew that.

Turns out she said for all three of mine to come along to the party (felt a little guilty as wasn't trying to get an invitation for the older one as well) - it is a rent a hall type party though rather than pay per guest so maybe that makes a difference

sammycat

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Re: Siblings at kids' birthday parties
« Reply #24 on: October 07, 2010, 02:56:36 AM »
It does seem almost expected now, that it's normal that siblings are brought along at birthday parties.  Is that true?  Should I expect it to happen, as part of parenting culture these days, and just plan for it in the future?

Not in my experience.  My kids are 13 and 9 and have had at least one party each every year.  I can honestly say that I have never had an uninvited sibling/guest turn up.  Maybe I just associate with very polite people or something, but I'm always amazed when I hear stories (on here) about uninvited siblings attending parties.

Prior to school age, most of the guests were part our social group, so any siblings were automatically invited and the parents stayed.  Once school started, most of the parents just dropped the kids off.  Sometimes the parents' friends stayed, either to help out or mingle with each other.

It's also standard where I am for the invitee's name to be listed on the invitation ("Joe cordially invites Jack to celebrate his birthday", etc, or "dear Jack.....") so maybe this has something to do with the lack of uninvited siblings, but I can't say for sure.

Bexx27

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Re: Siblings at kids' birthday parties
« Reply #25 on: October 07, 2010, 11:09:30 AM »
I think it depends on the age of the kids. If they are young enough that the parent would be expected to stay, my experience is that siblings tend to be included. I've been to several 1- and 2-year-old birthday parties and all the invitations have specified that siblings are welcome. It's pretty inconvenient for the parent to attend with one child while possibly having to arrange a sitter for the other. Of course, parents should not just assume siblings are invited if the invitation doesn't say so - I'm just saying it is common for them to be included in my circle. But once kids are old enough to be dropped off, I think it would be horribly rude to leave uninvited siblings at the party as well.
How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these. -George Washington Carver

MindsEye

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Re: Siblings at kids' birthday parties
« Reply #26 on: October 07, 2010, 12:08:27 PM »
Quote
Quote from: MindsEye on Yesterday at 10:35:06 AM
I don't know how gracious it is (as I am torn myself) but what my cousin does is to let people know that there will be only enough cupcakes and goodie bags for invited children.  With the very heavy implication that 'extras' will get nothing.

I am not sure how she words things, but I can find out if you are curious...

I am curious, so if you get a chance to ask, I would definitely be interested in how she does it.

I actually decided not to do goodie bags for this party, precisely because I suspected there might be extra kids, or kids who showed up without their parents RSVP'ing, or something.  I ended up just having a pile of toys like silly sunglasses, and handing them out as needed.

Well, I talked to my cousin, and she said that in addition to using the personalized invites, she handles it at the RSVP time. 

She says - "Thank you for letting me know that Johnny will make it to the party!  Joey is so looking forward to having him.  I have a lot of activities planned, and want to make sure that I have enough cupcakes/food/goodie bags for Johnny and the rest of Joey's guests."

If she is asked up front about extras or siblings, she says - "I'm sorry, but there will only be cupcakes/food/goodie bags for the friends that Joey invited."  She uses that same line if parents try to show up with an extra sibling. 


Cyradis

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Re: Siblings at kids' birthday parties
« Reply #27 on: October 07, 2010, 12:30:27 PM »

As a kid, I don't remember a single party, hosted or attended, where the guests parents stayed with the kids. When the kids were really young big parties weren't standard, and it was mainly family before the kids were in school. Once kids were in school, at age five or so, the parents dropped the kids off and picked the kids up. It was also pretty rare to have parties anywhere other than a home.

If the expectation is that parents will stay, then babysitting is definitely an issue. Spending $20-30 dollars on a babysitter so your kid can go to a birthday party adds a lot to the party. 

Same here. In my experience the "host mum" usually had back up in the form of her siblings, a maid or older teenage relatives. I can't recall my mum staying at a single non family party.