Rudey's Room

Birthday Party Etiquette: Who’s Invited?

“Sorry, you’re not invited.”

Not invited? 

No one wants to be not invited. 

“You’re not invited.”

We advise our kiddos that this is on the do-not-say list.

Instead, we remind them: “just don’t talk about it at school.”

My hush-hush tactic is derived from my past. I wasn’t invited to a few co-ed middle-school parties that were plenty o’talked about at school. I felt unpopular, unliked when – what felt like – everyone was talking about the party. This made me sensitive to the guest-list question.

Being left out stings.

I salute thee hurt feelings, front and center.

I remember.

Yet if you have school-age kiddos, Who’s invited? is big question.

Who’s invited to the birthday party? Do you invite the entire class? If not, how many kids should be invited? Is it girls or boys only? How do you decide on the guest list?

I’d love to invite everyone, but for us, there are space and money factors.

We don’t have room to entertain a large group at home. Veronica has 64 classmates, 32 per classroom. At my last count, there are 42 girls in her grade level. I would say class, but many of her close friends (bestie included) are in the other homeroom.

Several years ago I read/was told about a birthday party rule of thumb : Invite as many kids as your child’s age plus one.

We followed this rule with Veronica for ages six and eight thus far. Five – for both girls – has equated a big bash at Pump It Up with the entire pre-school class and family friends. Seven, for Veronica, and four, for Stella, was a ski experience.

At six, Veronica invited six girlfriends to a movie. For her eighth birthday, she invited eight friends to a pottery-painting party.

Eight is a lot less than 42, so this begs the question: What happens if there is a party and your child is not invited?

Well, I see it as a chance to chat.

I’m all for open communication and discussing what-happens-if scenerios. Examples are a path to minimize hurt feelings and to practice polite responses in advance.

And it’s bound to happen that a classmate has a party, your child isn’t invited, and hears about it.

It’s okay. It’s a teachable moment to discuss manners, friendship, kindness, and some ins and outs of life. It’s also your opportunity to share a story from your own experience, highlighting your feelings and how you handled it.



2 Responses to “Birthday Party Etiquette: Who’s Invited?”

  1. LaceyJewellCope

    This is a great question to pose! I’m sure we all vividly recall not being invited to something in elementary or middle school. The most hurtful moment for me was when someone I thought was a good friend planned a party the same night as my birthday (which she was definitely invited to)! Childhood can be tricky to navigate. I’m curious what others have to say – especially any frequent Party Planners/!

    • Rudey's Room

      That is hurtful. Thanks for sharing. I do believe that communicating with your kids and discussing the ins and outs helps them navigate.


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