But even if you're keeping the party small, inviting your school-aged child's whole class seems to be inevitable these days. Or is it? Holidash asked party expert Kim Byers, party planner owner of the Celebration Shoppe, how to keep the number of kids down at your child's birthday party without letting your kid down.
"As a mom, we never want to hurt a child's feeling by not inviting someone, but you also don't want to be limited to the type of party you can throw for your child (i.e., grand with a few kids or mediocre with many kids)," says Byers. She adds,"Inviting the entire class is actually part of some school policies now. Personally, I don't care for this trend at all."
Why not? For one thing, it's not always practical to invite every child in a class to the birthday party. For each kid you invite, the cost of the party jumps, and so does the degree of difficulty for pulling off your intended theme. Not to mention the more kids on the guest list, the more adults you need on hand to keep the crew under control -- and that means more food, more space and more money
So how do you limit the guest list without hurting anyone's feelings? Byers advises that unless it's going to be a party for the whole class, do not arm your child with birthday party invitations to hand out in the classroom. Mail them to the homes of the guests or make phone calls to the invited children's parents (also a great opportunity to get to know some of your child's classmates' parents and answer any questions they might have).
"That said, remind your child not to discuss it at school if they can help it. This will keep those not invited, likely children they aren't as close to, from being disappointed," Byers says.
Other ways to keep the birthday party guest list under control:
- Note on the invitation whether siblings are included. If they are, factor them into your count before you start inviting kids.
- Plan two parties -- one just for family and another just for the kids, to minimize the chaos and maximize the fun.
- Limit your child to a number of guests that will match their new age (four kids for a fourth birthday, five for a fifth and so on).