While I often get criticized for having only one child (check out how awesome that is here), I definitely don’t have to worry about splitting siblings and coordinating multiple play dates for more than one child. Birthday parties used to be easy peasy for me. I would simply invite all of my friends and their kids and call it a day. Now? Things are not so easy. As my kiddo is getting older, she is starting to form her own relationships and guest lists. That can make for a sticky birthday party situation. How do you solve the dreaded birthday party dilemmas?
To Invite Siblings or Not
Although my child doesn’t have any siblings, it’s kind of been a no brainer for me as far as invites. I have always invited all of my friends with both (or all) of their children. Double or triple the fun, no? However, as the kiddos get older, the interests and age gap becomes more apparent. As my daughter turns six, what do I do with the activities suitable for four and up? It seems to be an awkward conversation to have to say, “no siblings” but the increasing age gap makes it nearly impossible to include a two year old in a party designed to hold the interest of six or seven year old. It feels like that awkward conversation is coming soon.
My Friends or Yours?
When my daughter was just a few years old, her friends were my friends. She didn’t seem to mind who came to visit or where we went so long as there were other kids around. A special novelty for an only child! As she gets older, her preferences are starting to become more apparent. She favors the children of some of my friends, but not others. More difficult will be when the children she favors come along with a parent I dislike. Now what? Invite the parent I hate so that my daughter can spend time with the kid she loves? Oh Lordy. Awkward.
The Drop-Off Dilemma
Last year my daughter had a birthday party where literally all the adults came and left. While I didn’t mind being left with close to twenty kids on my own, I kind of felt bad that nobody was actually interested in celebrating her birthday. I felt sad for her, perhaps even more so because she is an only child. On the one hand, I understand how at a certain age moms should be able to drop off their children so that the kiddos can foster their own bonds and relationships. On the other hand, shouldn’t we want to celebrate the children of our friends? Wouldn’t staying at the party show our children just how much they are loved by not only their parents, but the other adults in their lives? I am not sure that I have a definitive answer, but I’m pretty sure that someone said something about it “taking a village.”
Whole Class or Selected Kiddos?
I am totally an inclusive person. I’m the the kind of person who invites awkward groups of people together because of the fear of anyone feeling left out. I admit that it’s not always a good trait, but my intentions are good! When it comes to kids, I want to say that everyone should be included in a birthday party invitation. However, there are so many factors in that equation. What happens when your child has a genuine personality conflict with one or more classmates? What do you do when a classmate has an entirely different set of behavior expectations that contradict the values of your family? It’s such a slippery slope to go with the all or nothing mentality. So many situations just aren’t black and white.
Birthdays are supposed to be a time for celebrating and enjoying those around you. Although I am always trying to do the right thing, I know that sometimes messaged get mixed up and signals get crossed. The best gift you can give your child is the effort of being as kind and thoughtful as possible when putting together an invitation list. As usual, a simple email or text can also assure friends of your intentions, which can make all the difference in the world!