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A Parent’s Guide to Kid’s Party Etiquette

It can be a diplomatic minefield, with offended parents taking to social media to express their disgust and disdain. The overspill can lead to arguments at school gates.

What are we talking about? Kid’s parties.

You wouldn’t think that celebrating your little one turning another year old could turn into such a nightmare situation. There have been plenty of cases of late, highlighted for the titivation of the nation across various newspapers, of parents getting kid’s party etiquette wrong and the fallout has been disastrous.

Stress and social conundrums

You wouldn’t think that organising and hosting a child’s party could be so stressful. From chasing RSVPs to catering for allergies, intolerances and lifestyles choices, there are many things that could go wrong.

But it shouldn’t be like this and so with your stress levels in mind, we have created a parent’s guide to kid’s party etiquette, answering some of the more commonly expressed concerns.

Qu. 1 – Should I invite the whole class?

It’s a balancing act – invite the whole class (the average class size hoovers around 32) and your budget could spiral out of control or invite a select few and run the risk of offending people you have never met (i.e. the parents).

So, what is the consensus answer on this? Trawling the parenting blogs, providing you are inviting half the class and not leaving one or two children out, then this is OK to do.

Most parents understand that from a budget and/or venue point of view, as well as your child’s preferences, is that inviting the whole class can make for an unwieldy guest list. Add in hang-on siblings and your party of 32 could easily balloon to 40+ party guests.

The important thing is this – don’t leave one or two kids out because this is when parents of those ‘left out kids’ can get very tetchy indeed.

Qu. 2 – Should boys be invited to a girl’s party and vice versa?

Some parents have noticed that when they invite girls to a boy’s party, they don’t attend and vice versa.

The gender divide is an interesting conundrum and some parents think they have found the answer: the theme was a put-off and age plays a part.


When some girl’s parties can be ‘princessified’ and boy’s parties are action/army/superhero ones, it can put off some members of the opposite sex.

The answer to the theme dilemma is to choose one that may be more neutral and appealing to both boys and girls.


Younger children are less likely to start differentiating their friends along boy and girl lines but as our children become older, they can develop single-sex friendship groups although not always.

If the birthday boy or girl wants to invite boys and girls, then do so. It is up to the invitee whether they want to attend or not.

Qu. 3 – How much should I spend on a party?

Unfortunately, there are some competitive parents out there and each birthday party becomes bigger and grander.

Parties can be expensive and if you are drawn into ‘competing’ for the biggest and best party, that budget can spiral out of control.

Here are suggestions from a variety of parenting blogs;

  • Cut down the guest list – by inviting fewer guests you could have more bells and whistles if that is what you want.
  • Hire local community/village halls – some of the halls that are still in existence charge almost next to nothing to hire their facilities for a few hours. Better still, everything you need is on hand for a great DIY party, including a fully fitted kitchen.
  • Make somethings yourself – it may be that your cake decorating skills are nowhere near good enough to get a professional to do the cake, but create your own invitations, budget party bags and so on. By doing some of the smaller things yourself, you have more of a budget to spend on other things.

Qu. 4 – What can I do if I don’t get RSVPs?

It can be incredibly annoying to get a handful of RSVPS, only for double the number of guests turn up on the day.

It seems that the answer lays in setting a deadline by which people respond to and given them all kinds of communication options. For example, on the invite have something along the lines of:

Party bags etc. will be order on [date] so please email [address] or text [number] by
[date] to let me know if you are coming!

Forums and blogs suggest keeping the organisational tone light and airy, rather than ‘super-organised’.

Organising your child’s party shouldn’t be stressful. Be clear on arrangements and all will be well.