Party invites, how to get it right!
Part of a host’s responsibility is dealing delicately with the feelings of those not on the guest list, and the earlier you can teach that skill, the better. Discuss ways to minimise hurt feelings, like avoiding party talk during school hours, and practice polite responses in case word does get out to uninvited peers.
There are some adult-specific things you can do, too. Track down post addresses so your child doesn’t have to hand out invitations at school in view of uninvited peers. Call parents and let them know it’ll be a small group so that they can coach their child on the social etiquette of attending a private party, and check if any special ‘arrangements must be made for abilities or dietary ‘restrictions. Decide whether parents and siblings are included in the invitation, and let them know in advance so they can plan accordingly.
If you do choose to include the whole class, be sure to consider the practical challenges. Some parties can get so crowded with children that the birthday boy or girl has no idea who’s there. Those parties are celebrations of excess, not of the child, and often end up more stressful than joyful. Parties should focus on bringing delight to children, not showing off who can throw the biggest party.
Especially if you have a large group, less is more.
When defining the guest list the “age plus one” rule works really well - for a 5-year-old, for example, invite six guests - we think that’s excellent advice. It keeps the group manageable regardless of whether parents stay or drop off their children.