Children’s Birthday Party Dilemma


It’s that time of year, my daughter’s birthday has come flying round again and she’s hitting the big 6 at the beginning of March.  Until she was 4 and at full time school, I’d gotten away with not throwing birthday parties.  I’d had a few relatives over for cake and balloons and that was pretty much it.

Then when she started school of course the invitations came flooding in and she understandably wanted a party.  The first year I got a little caught up in it all.   For her fourth birthday we had pretty much all 30 children in her year to a huge bash at the nearest village hall, complete with magician/balloon animal maker, and fabulous party food.  I swear to god, it cost more than my 21st Birthday Party!

Last year I cut it back to a girlie tea party at our house with 6 friends…my house was trashed within 10 minutes of them being here.  Whatever happened to kids being scared of their friends mothers and not making a mess?  When did that go out of fashion?  So this year I’ve plumped for the local soft play place who do everything  entertainment, invitations, food, balloons and party bags, all I have to do is turn up with a cake and the birthday girl for £10 a head – bargain!

However of course there is a catch, I’m happy with Miss L inviting 10-12 children and she wants to invite 20 of her closest friends.  Two of the spots are taken up with her best friend from out of school and his little sister and that’s non negotiable, which leaves 8-10 spots for school friends.  I’m of the opinion that she should invite close friends and then if there’s space children who’ve invited her to parties in the last 3 months.   But she wants to invite her whole class plus some kids from other classes.    There aren’t many kids in her class and it doesn’t seem to be the rule that you have to invite everyone in the class, but there is no way we can afford to do that.  Bless her she’s pretty good at getting that normally but seems to be having bit of a blind spot when it involves her party!

What do you do for parties?  How do you decide who’s invited?

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  1. Be strict and tell her she can only have x many guests but, if the school let’s you do this sort of thing, bake a load of fairy cakes for her to take in to give to as many of her friends as she likes. Hell, get her to bake them!!!!!

  2. I have operated a several lists policy for the past year. We start off with favourites then if some of those can’t make it send out the next wave of invites.

    Although I did then lose my list and had no idea who was coming … luckily found it though the week before the party

  3. LOL! See this is why I never had any parties when I was a kid – I now totally understand 🙂 The school don’t like homemade cakes – kids with nut allergies etc, so I’m going to send in chocolate buttons in or something?

    Several lists policy might work, but like you I’ll probably lose it 🙂

  4. My daughter just turned six and wanted a roller skating party, with all of her friends. (whole class + cousins + my friends’ kids = 30 kids… ack!) Sounds fun, but definitley not in the budget. And I don’t think we could have housed all of those gifts. I kinda-sorta bribed her and said that if she could decide on 1-2 girls to invite, we’d have her first ever sleepover. While it was a long evening, there was no prep or really clean up involved. And they had a blast! Good luck to you!!

  5. Usually when we had parties for our children it was just their best friends- I’ve never done a whole class party {Im not that brave.}
    A lot of times we were on the two party plan- One in the evening for Grandparents etc. very low key just dinner and cake.
    Then we would have a friend party usually 3-5 and do something fun like a swim party, pizza, or something along that line.
    Good luck- I love a sweet little party.

  6. Well, as the seasoned veteran of one proper birthday party I can only guess at a possible solution.

    I am not looking forward to this year’s for the reason you list. Max will be in a combined class of 30 children (reception and year one) plus the friends from outside school, that like yours, are obligatory.

    Going out with a limit is a great idea, but then getting the list right to please everyone the real gift. I hope you whittle it down effectively.

  7. The thing is, our beloved children want all kinds of things, it’s up to us to create the boundaries here. They’d drink fizzy pop and stay up all night ad infinitum if we let them dictate things.. as I was a single parent for many years and was terrified of the huge job of running parties, I simply said ‘next year’ until she was six. Then I followed a Steiner rule of thumb – you can have as many children as your age. So she had six friends over to our tiny house for an hour of games, a 15 minute disco and then a half hour foodfest. It was fine! Other friends who felt left out got invited round another time when things weren’t so fraught. I also recruited help – having it at home meant I could afford to hire the babysitter and her friend who were delighted to run the games. This year one of my daughter’s presents was a popcorn maker. We invited 4 friends round for a birthday tea, DVD and sleepover and gave them all torches in their party bags. They had a blast and, again, other important friends are going to get invited over for a summer gathering when I can send them outside with a bag of games and a box of choc ices. There was nothing but delight from my daughter and her friends at the results here, don’t feel you have to submit to external social pressure – confide in one or two other parents how difficult you find it and you’ll probably see from their faces you’re not the only one.