Birthday parties are, without a doubt, still a tight-rope walk in diplomacy and socialising; leaving someone off the guest list can evoke bad feeling that is imitated in tit-for-tat spats of your offspring not being invited to theirs.
And so, a common avoidance tactic is to invite everyone BUT, what happens if you cannot afford this? Or don’t want to? How can you make sure that your child has a great party, with the guests they want without offending anyone?
Being invited to a birthday party should mean great fun, food and an exciting theme www.partybagsandsupplies.co.uk but for some, it can be a disaster, lurking in the shadows of social niceties. What are the solutions…?
The Party Equation
It is a numbers game, after all said and done but there is an equation you can follow to help you out. If you plan on inviting half the class, for example, then you are heading down the ‘no invited, extremely offended’ alley.
If you do not want the whole class, the advice seems to be to stick ‘small’, with a handful of guests that makes it quite obvious it was an elite gathering for a selected view… and so, remember as you slave over the invites one evening, that the smaller the percentage of children you leave out, the meaner it is.
How you can so this…
These are no fool-proof ways to avoid offending people when it comes to parties and neither do you want it to be a stressful time and, seeing as we are all adults in the parenting world (possibly…!), you need to be firm and strong, reassuring people that their little one has not been left out for any reason other than spaces and budget (be brave!) are limited but why not try;
- Girls or boys
Works a treat every time; if you have a girl, simply invite girls and vice versa. It can really help out with relations BUT, here is the rub – the gender of our children does not always directly relate to the gender of their friends… if you have a set number to invite, then decision need to be made.
- The ‘I don’t want them but they have to come’ balancing act
What we do end up doing in some cases is, to keep the peace, we invite children that maybe the birthday boy or girl really does not want there – for whatever reason. This is a common grips in homes across the land but there can be a solution in that you ask the parent of the child to stay. Some children do find social situations – including nursery, school and parties – simply overwhelming and their behaviour is a symptom of that. Any parent worth their salt will stay and help with the socialising aspect.
But, there are times where excluding a child from the party list might be a good one and that is the age-old problem of playground bullies; it does happen and if your child is not wanting that person to come, then so be it.
As the parent, it does come down to you and when you think you a have a valid reason for someone not to come.
However, there are other things that come along and bump up the numbers when you really don’t want them to…
‘Can their young brother/sister come too?’
A party minefield that has not changed over the generation but again, you need to be realistic about what you can and cannot manage…
- You have the whole class over and one parent asks if the younger can stay – where does it end? You could go from a manageable 25 children to 30+ if you let everyone’s sibling stay.
The solution? If it’s a drop off party at your home, they are welcome to stay but the parent stays too.
If it’s at a hired venue that is a ‘free for all’ type arrangement, then the impact might not be too great (but still ask the parent to stay); some venues, such as soft play, may mean you are paying per child. If you are happy for the younger sibling to stay, tell the parent the cost of the party per child and ask them to pay the extra.
Again, this is a difficult balancing act but it pays to be sympathetic, with a spare part bag or two.
How to whittle down the guest list for your kid’s party is a nightmare that does have solution without causing massive offence to everyone but to keep things in check…
- Handing out the invites in class is a contributory factor in the nightmare and so, unless you are inviting the whole class, distribute the invites discreetly at the gate or better still, send texts or emails
- Mind the sharing thing on social media as this can be a source of offence too!
- It pays to talk to your child as, at some point, there will be a party to which they are not invited; help them understand that this is OK and when it comes times to choosing their party guests that someone else may end up feeling this way and so, it pays to be kind.