Party politics for the host

You're hosting a birthday party and there are some rules should be followed. A friend of mine calls it the “Party Politics.

When your child is old enough, he can invite who he wants to. If you are only inviting a select few, rather mail the invites or deliver them at home. Specify who you are inviting, because you might end up with parents or siblings if you don’t.

Specify the time of the party like this:
  • If you think two hours maximum, say “15:00 - 17:00”.
  • If you don’t mind guests hanging around, you can say “15:00”.
  • If you don’t want other parents around at all, you can say “Drop off at 15:00, pick up at 17:00.”
You need to know who is coming to your party, and if the parents haven’t responded, call or sms to confirm.

Many parents will ask you what your child wants.
Have a little list handy and answer: “Erik likes puzzles, arts and crafts, Ben 10 and dinosaurs”, or whatever your child likes.
Gifts are an excellent opportunity to teach your child some basic manners. He should thank everyone for their gift, even if it is not what he wanted. After all, parties are not just about gifts, they are about having fun with your friends too!

To Open Or Not To Open
I never let my children open their presents during a party. Opening presents is the birthday child’s pleasure and he can hardly enjoy it with children around. Rather let him play with his friends during the party, and have the presents all to himself afterwards.

Thank You Notes
We do not give thank you notes anymore, and it is a shame. When someone has spent time and money to choose a gift, they deserve to be thanked for it.

Don’t know what to say? Here are some ideas:
  • If your child loves the gift, say “Thank you for the dinosaur – I now have a T-Rex for my collection!”
  • If your child already have 20 T-Rexes, say “Thank you for the T-Rex. No matter how many T-Rexes I have, I can never get enough of them!”
  • If your child really doesn’t like the gift, say “Thank you for the T-Rex. I am glad you came to my party.”
Siblings And Parents
Children under five will usually bring a parent, since they are emotionally not ready to socialise without them. As children get older, you don’t really want to cater for a house full of parents. Specify on your invites “Moms, please join us for a cup of tea” or “Siblings welcome”.
If you do have parents over, do not feel ashamed to ask them for help.

Difficult Kids?

The Birthday Child

Speak to your child about what you expect from him and his behaviour on the day.
Teach him basic manners – say hallo and goodbye to every guest and thank them for their presents.
Remember that it is a party and that spirits are bound to be high. You must help him calm down and get back to the fun.
Do not say anything to spoil his day, and especially do not show when you are angry.

The Guests
If a parent is present, ask them to deal with the situation. If not, you might have to redirect the upset child to a quiet spot to calm down before they can rejoin the party. Remember to be calm, especially in dealing with other people’s children.

Need more party tips?
Preserving party memories
How to behave when invited
Be party safe

What is your advice or tips for having the perfect party?
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