Directions to your Birthday Party
If you are inviting new friends or you live in an out of the way place, it’s always thoughtful to assist your guests in finding the party location! I have to be completely honest, this is a detail I personally often forget.
It seemed like for so many years we were inviting friends to our parties who knew our neighborhood. Now, that my daughter is in first grade, we are inviting a whole new set of folks. It’s no longer the kids of my friends who are coming but her friends from school. And not very many of them live in our specific neighborhood so they get lost!!!
Really all it takes is a simple sign that your kids help to make. Or get a couple of extra balloons to tie to the front gate or a stop sign where they need to turn.
Another nice gesture is to put a copy of the directions in the invitation and not just an address. I’m so dependent on my IPhone to get me where I need to go that I forget not everyone has one or uses theirs in that way. This is really easy to do if it’s your home. Just type the directions in a word doc and size it small so you don’t have to resize all the time to print. Save the Directions Document for all the parties you throw.
So, no matter what kind of party you are giving or gathering, it’s helpful to assist your guests in arriving on time and with as little stress as possible!
Towels for Party Guests
Are you planning an outdoor water type party? If you are having a summer party, it is just too much fun to have it at a water park, where you can turn on a sprinkler or even at a pool if the kids are old enough!
First off, it’s always good to either put on the invitation or on an insert that your guests should bring a swimsuit, towel and sunscreen. But I don’t care who it is or what age party it is…..someone…..will forget one or more of the required water enjoyment items. We’ve been to 3 water involved parties this summer and at the most recent one, another one of the little girl’s mom forgot to bring her swimsuit. Tragic! Luckily, I had taken my swim bag and it had an extra swimsuit in it! It was about 2 sizes too big but the kid didn’t care. All she wanted to do was play in the water.
So, as the hostess of a party that includes frolicking in the water it would be good to remember extra towels, sunscreen and a swimsuit or two. That is if you have extra you are willing to share. Forgetful moms and/or dads will be thankful!
To open presents or not to open presents……that is the question. And if you open them……when do you do it?
Honestly, this is a tough one. But here goes and these are just my personal thoughts based on going to many many birthday parties and hosting them myself.
For kids younger than Kindergarten age, I’m not sure that it’s necessary. For those kids it can take a really long time even if there are only a few. Most of the time, the kids don’t even know what present they brought and so it’s just not as effective. For those age kids, they can get a bit overwhelmed with even 2 presents but the first one may be something they want to sit down and play with right then. If that’s the case, wouldn’t it be much nicer to have the luxury of saying…..”no problem…..we’ll just open the rest of these later.” Plus, if you are trying to have a relatively short birthday party this can lengthen if unnecessarily. BUT, if there is a child who really wants to see your child open his or her present, by all means at the end of the party, pull that one out and open it up right then and there.
Now, for kids Kindergarten and older. Most parents have learned at this point that having a smaller party is better. I’m not one of those but my husband is pushing me towards it! So, let’s start with the small parties. I for sure think you need to open the presents at this age as the kids who come to the party are just as excited about this as your child will be and it can be built into the schedule of the party. If the party is a longer one, let that be an activity during a lul in the scheduled events. While pizza is cooking is the perfect time!
If you are nuts like I am and have a huge party, I couldn’t bear the thought of my daughter opening all her presents during the party. We had 26 kids to come. There were a few who asked when we were opening the presents and for those that were really interested in seeing her open the presents, we did it after most of the kids had gone home and they could sit down in a small group and enjoy it more.
The biggest thing to remember is to assign someone else besides yourself to be in charge of writing down who each present is from. I know Miss Manners says that if you open a present while the giver is sitting there with you, there is no need to send a thank you note. But I just think it’s nicer for the kids to start off early letting their friends know how much they appreciate them. So, no matter if you open the presents during the party or not, it’s good to have a record of who gave what. And it needs to be someone else who is in charge of the list since you will be busy doing other things!
No matter what age of child you have it is never too early to start teaching them good party host/hostess manners. Please be courteous to your guests. They will feel more welcomed and the party will start off much better…..I promise. I know that it’s effort because you will be scrambling doing last minute prep things but as soon as those little guests arrive, it’s important to stop and greet them. AND if you can wrangle your child it’s more important for them to greet their own friends. After all the guests came to see the birthday girl or boy.
Saying Good Bye
It’s equally important for your child to say thank you after receiving or opening gifts and to say good bye when guest are leaving and say thanks for coming. This may seem so trivial to some of you reading this but these little details are often either forgotten or allowed to be slipped under the rug. Don’t let these proper manners go by the wayside.
No matter if your child is 3 or if they are 15, it’s never a bad idea to take 30 seconds the morning of a party to go through guest etiquette.
Photo taken by Amy Hall Photography, Portland, OR.
There is nothing more important for a young child than to receive mail. It really doesn’t matter what kind of mail it is and it doesn’t matter if they can read yet or not.
So, what do you do when you are sending an invitation to a child and their sibling is welcome? Well, it is very important to make some kind of notation somewhere so that the mom doesn’t have to wonder or contact you to ask that uncomfortable questions if little Gary is invited to come!
Envelope Address Etiquette
These are two examples of good ways to invite siblings. The above photo shows the inside of an invitation where the following words were simply included…”Siblings Welcome!” The below photo is the back of an envelope and states “P.S. Harris is welcome too!” For me either works. There may be even other creative ways to let recipients know that siblings are welcome.
The big thing I want to impress upon you here is to state it somewhere. Please don’t put your guest in the uncomfortable position of having to ask. It’s just good Etiquette in filling out the invitation for your child’s birthday party invitation.