Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Birthday party dilemma

Annika's birthday is still 2 months away, but since she's been at 2 birthday parties in the past 2 weeks, I've got birthday on the brain lately. 

I've decided to do her party at home this year (am I crazy?? probably - seems like no one does home parties anymore), but I'm feeling a little conflicted over the guest list.  In the past we've intentionally kept the kids' birthday parties small, and it hasn't been too much of a problem since they really didn't have a large group of friends (at least not all from one place).  It was no problem to just invite 4 or 5 kids.  However, now with Annika being in kindergarten things are a little different.  There are 11 girls in Annika's class, including Annika.  There are about 5 that are "good friends" that she's already said that she wants to invite (she also has birthday on the brain, but that's more of a year-round thing).  So, do I just go with the 5 girls that she wants to invite (and be thankful that she doesn't want a large party), or do we invite all the girls?  I shudder at the idea of having 12 kids (including Emmett) running around our house, but part of me doesn't want to exclude anyone.  One of the parties that Annika was invited to recently was a "not-so-good" friend, and Annika was absolutely over the moon that she had received an invite.  She went and had a blast, and who knows, maybe made some connections that she wouldn't have otherwise.  And maybe that's the case with some of the other girls in the class - maybe they would love an invitation, love to be included.  Maybe it would be the start of a new friendship.  Even though Annika already has her few good friends and her "best friend", I think that it's still quite early in their lives to be making friends, and friendship groups are more fluid at this point (than say, in a few years from now, when cliques become more solid).

So, I'm torn.  Do I only invite a few?  Do I invite them all? (and cross my fingers that at least several won't be able to make it?).  What's your experience with birthday parties?  I'd love to hear some stories - what you've done in the past or what you would do in this situation.  And if you could please leave your comment here, instead of on my Facebook link, that would be great (just so I have them all together in one spot).  If you don't have an account to log in, you can leave an "anonymous" comment (although I'd appreciate if you at least left your first name at the end of your comment).  Thanks!!


Anita Rex said...

I have always invited all the girls in the class so usually more than 10 the most was 14. I do it because there aren't that many girls, I also invite friends on top maybe some from the other class and maybe others. Especially in kindergarten, they are all just getting to know each other and I think it's a great way for you to get to know them too. Plus you could think I am doing it at home which isn't as expensive so I can invite them all, versus having it where you pay per child. :>

Kristin Buhler said...

I've always tried to keep birthday parties low-key. It's a combination of my personality and our small house. We even got away with no gifts for the first while, until our kids started being invited to other parties and wised up. :)

For one birthday party we rented the community club for a few hours. It was great! The kids [and parents!] got to run around, make a mess and be loud and it was NOT in my house. For another party we took the birthday boy and three friends to Fort Whyte for an hour or two, then a quick cupcake back at our house. Simple.

A friend of mine made an effort to invite only non-school friends to her daughters' parties, the friends you DON'T see on a five-day-a-week basis. I kind of like that approach. It helped us know where to draw the line.

Andrea said...

We have always kept parties smaller - whether they're at-home parties or not, although home parties they get to invite maybe a couple more people. I think the most kids they have ever invited was 6 or 7. More than that and it's just pure chaos in my opinion. I don't know if the birthday kid even has as much fun when there's too many kids. Especially at a younger age, it just seems too overwhelming. For the parents AND the child.

As far as kids feeling left out, we make sure to not send invitations along to school so other kids don't see what's happening. Living in a small town, hand-delivery has been a good option - but the last few years I've actually just sent out email invites.

Kids won't always be invited to everyone's party, and while sometimes it can be hard to deal with, I think there's nothing wrong with learning how to overcome disappointment at an early age.

Anonymous said...

For younger kids I've always liked the idea of inviting the number of kids that equals your child's age. (ie if Annika is turning 6 than she can invite 6 friends) I think it can be just too much on both the parents and the child if there is too many children.

As for the invites - we always gave their teacher the invites and then he/she would discretely put the invites in the children's backpacks.

Way to go for having a home party! I think most kids really like home parties better. I know my kids love going to their friend's house for a party.

Happy party planning!


Pamela said...

First, I think you should do whatever you feel comfortable with in regards to party size and what Annika will enjoy.

But...as a grade 1 teacher here are my 2 cents:
As "discrete" as a teacher can be...kids find out. Secretly stuffing invites into a backpack is not an easy task and do not always get found before the party date depending on how often backpacks are thoroughly checked. As a teacher, I despise handing out invitations sneakingly because I know it's often the "difficult" children that don't get an invite and they are the ones who need a friend the most.

Also, even if the party invites go out without other kids knowing, the aftermath is always shared in class and at recess. Kids do find out they were not invited and feelings do get hurt. It is true that some kids NEVER EVER get invited to parties. I know disappointment is something that we need to train kids to overcome but when talk about the latest party goes on and on and the same child knows they were not included it is hard to watch.

I kind of like Kristen's comment about no school friends...I have never heard of that before and I think it's a way to eliminate hurt feelings at school.

Again, I think it has to be what works best for you. I also know that I didn't think of birthday parties quite the same as when my kids were younger and just invited their favourite friends and purposely left out certain people. I look on parties with different eyes now that I am a teacher.

Meghan said...

I've been thinking about this and Wyatt's birthday isn't until September! The thing is, his birthday will take place before school starts up again for the year, so if we invite school friends it won't be much of an issue. However, if he had a birthday during the school year, I don't know if I'd want any of his school friends there. :S They get to celebrate in class, so I'd hope that he'd still be okay with a family-only party. I think I'm partial to family-only parties after having ONE friend at his 4th birthday and it being a not good time for us.