I’ve been planning a joint birthday party for my boys and then I started thinking about who do I invite, etc… This time around we’ve opted to have it at the park, so we have a little more room to invite more people. But then the questions becomes who do you invite? Of course my immediate family and good friends, some cousins, etc… This celebration will also be a homecoming of sorts because we are moving to my “hometown” Bay Area and this will be the first birthday my boys celebrate it there.
So I turned to my circle of social media friends to get a handle on how they decide who to invite to their “kiddie” parties…
Parents – When you have a party for your child who do you invite (besides the given family, close/good friends)? Only friends/acquaintances with kids, couples without kids and/or single friends?
Single/Childless friends – Do you want to be invited to “kiddie” parties?
I think when it comes to single and childless friends it can get “sensitive” for some who may have struggles with having children, or those that are single may just feel like they don’t fit in, so being around events where there are kids can be tough…I get it! Personally, I want to invite everyone to everything, but I get it if a friend with no kids isn’t trying to attend, no biggie, my feelings are NOT hurt! At the same time, there’s usually a budget or capacity to adhere to and it’s just not practical to extend the invitation to everyone.
Here are some of the responses:
Courtney says – Having done this and being very happy my birthday party days are over…. If I had to do it all over again, I’d do the following. Family only ages 1-5. When they reach school age, parties at age 10, 16 and 18/graduation. Mainly cause they know who their friends are and they can pick and choose who they want to come, instead of feeling obligated to invite a class of kids. IMO and having spent lots of money on parties, the kids don’t remember they were celebrated! It’s basically a party for adults.
Lisa – When they are little, I invite everyone – I look at it as a time to see all of my friends, hang out and celebrate. However, as the kids get older they will tell you who they want at their party. For my daughter’s 13’s birthday I told her she could invite 13 of her girlfriends along with her Grandmothers, and Godmother’s and we treated them to Benihana’s and that was one of the best parties ever (and price friendly) worked out great. (Disclaimer: I do not and never will feel obligated to invite the ENTIRE class)
Frank – For us, it really depends on the venue. If it’s at your house, a park, clubhouse, etc., the wider the scope of people you can invite. If it’s at a kids gym, jumpy park, Chuck E Cheese, I’d only invite the age appropriate kids and their parents. Don’t feel guilty for not inviting everyone, if they’re your friends/fam, they’ll understand!
Christina – This changes as the kids get older. With our firstborn, we invited everyone regardless if they had kids or not, until he was about 4 years old. His first birthday, I think we had 100 people! (Granted, we were one of the first in our group of friends to have kids so most were kid-less). Once he started Kindergarten, we had multiple parties to make it more manageable. One for family, one for friends, & one with his classmates. Starting about 1st grade through 6th grade, school parents start doing “boys/girls only” parties if they choose to have a party, many kids don’t. About that time, we started letting the kids choose who they wanted to invite but limit it to a certain number. Now that he’s 13, the parties have gotten smaller but co-ed again. We’ll still do a family dinner and we’ll do something with his friends- typically we’ll limit it to however many we can fit into our cars and plan for it to be after school on a Friday. This year it was bowling, dinner, & the school musical. Don’t feel obligated to invite everyone. Some people might get offended, but they’ll get over it. Most people understand that you just can’t accommodate everyone. I got over trying to please everyone after kid #3 . Good luck! Oh! A new trend is combo parties, for Gaby’s 1st grade class, 4 girls did a joint party and did a book exchange in lieu of gifts.
Stephanie – Up to age four, we invited family and close friends (with and without kids, with the caveat that they were not obligated to come at all). After four, we had “their party” – basically invited the number of friends equal to the years they were old; and we had “our party” – a family get together, not with all the decorations and over-the-top stuff but with cake. Party means presents. Kids want presents!
Nicole – It can be touchy but when the kids are too young to have friends I invite my own. When they’re old enough to have friends I only invite their own.
So there you have it a variety of perspectives from parents who’ve been there done that and who are there, doing that! I see that one notion everyone seems to agree on is that you can’t please (or invite) everybody and it also depends on your child, your family and your budget! Happy party planning.