A Guide to: Birthday Party Etiquette for Kids
Once your child starts school, your weekends will turn into a constant whirlwind of parties, presents and cake. Continue reading for our advice on the best etiquette for parents and children attending birthday parties.
RSVP – It’s always polite to let the host know as soon as possible whether or not your child can attend. This is particularly important if the hosting parent is waiting on numbers for a venue or how many goodie bags to make.
SIBLING RIVALRY – If you have another child who wasn’t invited, never assume they are also welcome to stay. Try to make other arrangements with your partner (divide and conquer) or through a play date. Also consider if it would be fair to bring a 9 year old to a 4 year olds birthday party and vice versa. However, if you do find yourself in a jam with no other option, be sure to ask the host in advance and be as helpful as you can to the hosting parent while at the party.
The only exception to the rule would be if you have an infant, as you would be nursing, etc.
BEING LEFT OUT: If your child doesn’t get invited, try not to get offended, upset or intervene. While children’s social groups change all the time, it’s hard to deal with your child’s disappointment from being left out from certain social events. Explain to them even though it’s hard to understand that not everyone can be invited and it shouldn’t affect their friendship with that child. To cheer your child up, offer to arrange a fun play date or fun family activity the day of the party.
GIFTS – Knowing how much to spend on gifts is normally based on three variables: school, age and local precedent. Try not to get caught up in being pressured to compete with other parents when it comes gift giving. While you don’t want to be cheap, going over board can be just as unfavourable. However, it’s most important that you always stick to what’s within your own budget.
Make it more fun and get you child involved. Ask what their friend is into (books? legos? games?) and let them help pick out the present.
SHOULD YOU STAY OR SHOULD YOU GO – Generally, it should state on the invitation if parents are expected to stay or drop off their child, but every so often you are given the choice. A good rule of thumb is that you should stay with children under 5 and leave the older children to have their own fun.
However, if you are asked to stay, make the most of it! Put your best effort forward into being social, meeting and befriending the other parents. Also take the opportunity find out which kids your child gets along with for future play dates.
FOOD ALLERGIES – If your child has a food allergy, try to let the host know in plenty of time so they have the opportunity to make arrangements for them. Just in case, always take a few snacks and treats for your child to enjoy. This way your child won’t feel excluded from the party food fun.
MANNERS – Looking after a party full of children can be a tough job, so it’s important to pick up your child on time. It’s also made easier on the host if you teach your child the importance of manners. Make sure they know they need to be on their best behaviour. Remind them to use their ‘pleases’ and ‘thank you’s’ whenever necessary…. Politeness is key!
For parties at people’s houses, explain to your child so they understand the significance of being respectful – this means being careful with other people’s belongings, in addition to no jumping on furniture, no screaming and most importantly, to listen to the person or parent in charge and to follow their house rules.
BE A GOOD SPORT – Shy children might need a little more encouragement to join in on party games, while other children might need to learn to be a ‘good sport’ and how to lose gracefully. You know your child best, so you will know if this is something they will need help working on.
It can be tough for children to stick to these points, especially when they are young, excited and hopped up on sugar. Try and recap these points of etiquette before every party and soon they will become party pros!