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Who to Invite to a Child's Birthday Party

Published June 04, 2013        by Sarah

Image by TinyPrintables on FlickrYour little one’s birthday is coming up fast, and it’s time to get cracking on that invitation list. Putting pen to paper is easier said than done in this case, though. After all, there are so many people you could invite, but adding all of them to the list might become cumbersome. Who should you actually invite to your child’s party?

The Must Invites

There are a few people you absolutely have to invite to your child’s birthday party – your family members, especially if it's baby's first birthday. You cannot have a birthday party and not invite them. While they may not want to come, particularly if you’re having a kid-focused party, the chances are good that they’ll want to help your little one celebrate this milestone, and leaving them off of the guest list will only create tension at family dinners and holidays to come. Additionally, you may want to include those close friends or caregivers who would be hurt if you didn’t add them to the guest list. Imagine your situation if your weekend sitter decides she’s no longer going to babysit for you on date night because you didn’t bother to invite her to Junior’s birthday party.

On a somewhat related note, don't expect everyone you invite to know what kind of kids birthday gift they should bring. Make a note on your invitations of what your child is into right now. You might mention that they enjoy a certain cartoon or tell them his/her favorite color. You may also want to add their clothing size too, just in case.

Those to Consider

Image by sushi_zume on FlickrIn addition to inviting family members and the other important people in your life to your child’s party, you may also want to consider inviting some of your child’s friends. After all, it is his party. You can certainly consider kids from play group, daycare, or school to add to your list. Neighbors are a great idea too.

The general rule of thumb here is that the total number of kids to include should be your child’s age plus one. For example, if little Henry is turning four, inviting five total children to your party is a good number. Add any more than that and your child might get overwhelmed or even left out during the course of the party. You can also add any friends or neighbors who may not fall into the must-haves category at this point.

Those You Can Leave Off

You certainly don’t have to invite the entire class, the entire block, or your whole Mom’s Club just because it’s party day. Never feel obligated to invite everyone within a group. Discretion, though, is key. If you don’t plan to invite all of the kids in your child’s class to his birthday party, don’t send the invitations to school to be distributed. Instead, mail them and tell your child to be discreet about who he talks to about his party. You may want to follow the discretion rule of thumb yourself. While you may not want to invite everyone, it’s easy to step on a few toes when you’re talking about leaving people off of the invite list.

Birthday parties for children are often dangerous waters, particularly when it comes to the dreaded invitation list. Be careful who you leave out, because it could come around to create a nuisance in your life, or that of your child, later.