Birthday Parties - Do You Really Have to Invite the Whole Class?

Filed under: Opinions

kids birthdayStanding in the hallway at school last month, a mom turned to me and said, "We got your birthday invitation in the mail. We'll be there."

I saw a mom nearby, a mom with whom I've been friendly for two years, raise her eyebrows. Her son had just had his birthday party a few weeks earlier, and she'd invited the entire class to the roller rink, including my daughter. I gave her a quick smile and explained, "It's a tea party. We only invited the girls."

I felt guilty, and then I was annoyed at myself for feeling guilty. I hoped her feelings weren't hurt, of course, but this birthday business seems like it's getting out of hand.

Perplexed parents (like myself) are starting to ask the question: Do you really have to invite the whole class to your child's birthday party? Increasingly, it seems, the answer is yes. But what I haven't been able to figure out is -- why? If you've got the money, space and patience, I guess the answer is why not? But if you've never got enough of any of them, is it really necessary to spend your money and your last shred of sanity on a huge party?Many schools today make a blanket rule: Either invite the whole class or don't invite anyone. Earlier this year in Sweden, a student's birthday invitations were confiscated after he passed them out to everyone in his class but two kids, whose feelings were understandably hurt.

You don't have to look far to find parents who agree with this rule. MomLogic's Julie says, "The rule in my house is that my kids must invite the entire class or none of the class to their party, period. No, I don't exactly revel in the idea of that many kids invading my house, but when I think of the alternative...some kid feeling like mine did on Friday, when he was told all about the party he wasn't invited to, I know it's worth the extra effort. In fact, I couldn't live myself if I excluded even one classmate from the guest list."

Let's get one thing straight, birthday party invitations don't belong at school. And when parents plan a guest list, it's important to make sure that some kids aren't purposefully left out. But I still think that spending hundreds of dollars on a blowout bash, just so every kid can come along, sends the wrong message.

My opinion may change as my kids get older. Kindergartners are pretty much focused on the here and now, so there's little discussion about who's doing what on the weekend. But if our school ever makes the all-or-nothing rule in regards to birthdays, we'll be sticking to family-only for our celebrations.

What do your birthday parties look like? Do you invite every child in the class, choose your child's closest friends or avoid inviting school friends at all?

For more great party ideas, visit AOL's Party Central!

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.