Birthday Party Etiquette

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What are some ways to get around birthday party behavior that is unruly or potentially embarrassing?

Birthday Party Etiquette

You are knee-deep in birthday party planning. You have decided on a theme, you've bought the party invitations, the party balloons, birthday banners and other decorations. As the party date approaches and everything comes together you worry about the things you can't control -- such as guest behavior and your child's response to presents he or she doesn't like. Here are some common questions parents have and worry about before a child's birthday party and some answers for how to deal with them, courtesy of Scholastic, a global children's publishing, education and media company.

  • Do I have to invite everyone in my child's class to her birthday party? The answer is no. Just make sure your child tries not to talk to much about the party at school and don't let her hand deliver the invitations.
  • Should I call people who didn't RSVP to find out if they're coming? The answer is yes.
  • How do I make sure my child is gracious to guests? A 4-year old child should be able to greet and thank guests and by first grade say goodbye and thank you without prompting. If you child is younger or needs prompting, don't be afraid to do so.
  • Are competitive games a bad idea? The answer is no, but make sure everyone goes home with a prize and you don't make grand prizes of coveted toys everyone would want.
  • What do I do if someone brings a sibling or a parent stays unexpectedly? The answer is, there's not much you can do except squeeze in another chair. Keep extra goodie bags or favors on hand just in case.
  • A child is being unruly. How do I handle it? The answer is, try to distract the child with a task or make him feel special with extra attention. Ask another parent to take him under her wing. If all else fails, warn the child you will have to call his parents to pick him up if he doesn't settle down.
  • What if my child hates a present? The answer is, you can avoid this by not opening gifts at the party. There is a movement by parents toward this in recent years.
  • Are thank you notes necessary? The answer is absolutely. It teaches responsibility, politeness and a respect for others.



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