Preschool and birthday party etiquette — The Bump
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Preschool and birthday party etiquette

Do you invite the whole class or only those that are BFF's with your child/you hang out with them outside of school? If you invite one or two, should you invite them all? Thoughts?

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Re: Preschool and birthday party etiquette

  • At the school where I taught, sending a few invites to school to be passed out to certain kids wasn't allowed.  I guess parents could somehow get the kids addresses and mail them, but it was discouraged.  It was all or none.  I think I'd send them to all.  I'd hate it if it were my kid who didn't get an invite.
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  • We are going to invite all. There's no rule at our school, but I just think that's easier at this age. We did go to one party where only boys from the class showed up. I was curious if they had invited only the boys but didn't ask. We do have a class roster that one of the parents put together. If I were going to only invite select students, I would mail the invites to their home. 
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  • I think it depends on space and affordability.  If you are having a smaller party with budget constraints then only inviting BFFs through the mail is OK.  And I would let her choose 2 (or however many you generally play date with outside of school) and let that be it.  If you are having a blow-out at your house then I say send them all to school and invite the entire class.  Of course, I don't know if once the kids get to be 4 or so and talk about the parties at school then some kids find out and get upset if they aren't invited.  So far, bday parties have barely been blips on the radar for P but I am sure once she gets older it will be clear who is included and who is not.

    All that said, I only invite kids we know from school bc her bday is in the summer.

  • We always invite all. 
  • The rule at our school is if you want invites passed out at school, all the kids have to be invited.  Most of us send evites or send out invitations to each other through the mail anyway and we all usually invite the whole class since we're all friends or friendly with each other. 
  • I think unless you are just doing truly a BFF or two, you should invite everyone.  The kids are really starting to talk and understand each other at this age (well I'm thinking about Jack, who's 4), and he'd be really hurt if the kids were talking about a party and he wasn't invited.  I get that it's part of life to not be included in everything, but when the kids are older they also have a bit more discretion, plus I don't think 4 year old's have to learn that lesson right this minute :)  We usually invite none or all. 
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  • My response will be long, because that's how I am :-) 

    In daycare, I always invited the whole class to Danielle's parties...and then my close friend's children this is for ages 2, 3 and 4.  Our daycare did not have that rule, but I was very adamant that it was an all or nothing kind of thing.  When she started Pre-K at the elementary school, I invited the whole Pre-K class and my close friend's children and let her invite 5 people from daycare that she was still friends with...although she still went there for afterschool care. It was hard to narrow it down to only 5 because she really knew those kids longer than her current Pre-K class.  Her next bday party, 6 years...she's talking about a girls only kinda party (Sweet n Sassy). This will be somewhat easier (if she doesn't change her mind) because it will be virtually cut in half because all girls...but she's in a daisy troop, has my close friend's kids (girls), kids from her current K class and then still friends from daycare that she still sees weekly (they go to drama class together).  It's looking like a lot of kids even with just the girls..so we might start being somewhat more selective because this particual venue only allows up to 18 girls (or maybe it's 20).  her daisy troop is 14...there are 9 girls in her K class, of my friends there are 3 girls and then her 2 daycare still friends.  LOTS. The other good thing going is her bday is in the summer so it makes it less likely that all the kids will know/talk about it.  She definitely does talk about though...so and so invited me to his bday party so I will invite him to mine (this was at age 4).

    So now comes Darren...poor second child gets the shaft.  I've limited all his parties thus far to ONLY my close friends and NO ONE from daycare. His first 2 parties have been about 16 kids tops (the younger siblings and older first child in most cases).  At least so far, he's only 2 :-)  I'm sure he'll start to become aware, around 4 is when Danielle, and ask for his friends from school to come too.  Another thought, at least at our daycare they allow you to come in and do an activities/treat on your bday...whereas in the elementary school you are not allowed to bring in sweets on your bday. You are also not allowed to hand out any bday invites in class at elementary school. 

    My personal belief is to invite everyone in the class or no one, in an ideal scenario.  I realize now that different party venues might have restrictions and that things happen eventually where you'll likely be only inviting some of their friends and not an entire class. 

  • I agree it should be all or none. It was very awkward after DS's third birthday party because we had limited space at the venue. We maxed out with the neighborhood kids and then the select classmates and their siblings and parents. The day after the party, all the kids in his class were talking the party. And DS remembers to this day who wasn't invited:-(
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  • Last year we invited everyone but I noticed for majority of the parties the girls just started inviting the girls and boys invited the boys.

    Ridge was invited to a little girls party from his class and it was princess theme and adorable but he just wanted to go home and sat in the corner.  He was the only boy to show up. :(  But he always said she was pretty so we took him.

  • Thanks for the replies. We were leaning towards inviting everyone initially, so I was just curious what the protocol was and everyone's experiences.  We are having it at a venue, but I am betting on the fact that less than half of the kids from her class will be able to come. We'll see how those odds work out :-)
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