Kids destroying cake

Birthday Party Etiquette

From a child’s first birthday “cake smash” to their final sleepover with friends, how they celebrate their birthday is as unique as they are. Planning can sometimes be easy, but as candles are added to the cake, new elements emerge. Tastes change as children get older: who their friends are, what activities they enjoy, and how (or if) they want to celebrate. Here are a few of the basic to help you navigate the winding path of birthday party do’s and don’ts.

By Lyndsey Akley

Do you need to invite the entire class?

Put simply, no – you’re not obligated to invite your child’s entire class. If your child does want a party, ask whom they would like to invite. If they want to celebrate with a smaller group of their closest friends, not only is this easier on the budget, but it also provides an answer for parents who may inquire about upcoming festivities their child may not be invited to. On the flip side, if your child wants a larger party, it is best to be all inclusive so no-one gets left out.

Is gift opening a public or private event?

Pros and cons can be said for both sides, but the important thing to remember is that guests put time, energy and finances into selecting the perfect gift.

“Party gifts are often picked out by their friends, and they are very excited to see them open it,” says Joni Anderson, Rapid City mom of two.

If gifts are opened on site, have a rule that all gifts can be looked at, but will be put away for use or play after the party. Where you choose to open these gifts is up to you, but be sure to let your guests know that you appreciate their efforts. A verbal ‘thank you’ and a written card are always appreciated.

Do you bring treats to their classroom?

People love to feel special, and children are no different. Taking treats to your child’s class can give them another chance to celebrate their special day with friends who may not be invited to the party. However, many places have rules regarding outside snacks. If you choose to bring treats, be sure to bring enough for everyone, be aware of any allergies, and take the teacher’s time into consideration. Snacks should be easy to distribute, eat, and clean up.

Celebrate How They Want

It is easy to get wrapped up in the idea of making everything perfect for your child’s special day, but it is important to remember the celebration should reflect your child’s preferences. Planning a child’s party can be stressful in different ways.

“You want your child to love their party! They have an idea in their mind and you want to do your best to deliver that idea,” says Joni.

Worrying about their party is easy, but it is important to step back and remember why you are celebrating in the first place. Their birthday is to celebrate them and the year of memories you have made together.

It can be stressful trying to plan the “perfect” celebration, but if you keep in mind that the goal is to celebrate your child and the blessing they are, the party will be a success. If you don’t want to do all the heavy lifting yourself, consider checking out a local Black Hills birthday party venue!

If your child is invited to a celebration, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Make sure to RSVP!
  • Don’t break the bank buying a gift.
  • Be sure to thank the party host!