Birthday Party Dilemma

by Kathy on August 15, 2011 · 2 comments

in Abby, Birthdays, Bob, Decisions, Family, Sean

Sean’s 8th birthday is approaching and we have started planning his “friend party,” which we plan to have at our new home. We will also hold a separate combined “family party” to celebrate Sean’s 8th and Abby’s 2nd birthdays, since they are only two weeks a part.

In past years Sean has invited friends from school and from our neighborhood, but never his entire class. We have usually invited around 10-15 kids to his parties and the parties have always been held at our house, except for the year when Abby was born and we took a small group of Sean and his friends to a movie theater as part of his birthday celebration. Since his birthday falls in early October, in order for people to save the date, we try to make our plans and send out invites early on in the school year and sometimes even before classes begin. As a result, we rarely have a good sense of which classmates our son will bond and hang out with that school year when we work with him to make the guest list.

Sean has attended three different schools over the last three years (preschool, kindergarten and 1st grade) and thus made new friends at each school, some of which he has kept up with and others not. This is the first year he will be at the same school two years in a row. Sean will likely attend his current school through 8th grade. Including Sean his 2nd grade class has 29 students in it. There is only one class per grade at his school and thus he will always have these same kids in his class, unlike bigger schools with two or more classes per grade where the kids get moved around from year to year and end up with different groups of kids each year.

So you have probably already figured out where I am going with this… My dilemma is whether or not to invite Sean’s entire 2nd grade class or not. I understand that there are so many pros and cons to both options.

I have always been a very inclusive person. So that leads me to want to invite his entire class, so that no one feels left out and the kids have a chance to socialize and bond outside of the intense, though wonderful, learning environment that they experience at school (they attend one of the Chicago Public School’s Regional Gifted Centers).

However, Sean is not close with all of his classmates and he certainly has friends from previous schools, our neighborhood and other areas of his life that he is closer with and would like to include. If we invite the whole class from his school, at most (if at all) we would likely allow him to invite a few more friends that don’t go to his school. But that could bring the invite list up to 30+ people!

We realize it is unlikely that everyone we choose to invite will be available or want to attend. But we have no idea what that percentage might be. If we invite the whole class, we could always invite some of Sean’s friends who don’t go to his school and their families to our “family party.”

In the past we have invited some close friends to our children’s family party and that has worked out nicely. There has always been crossover between Sean’s friend and family birthday parties, because naturally Bob and I have close relationships with some of our kid’s good friends.

So my question to you is, what have you done in the past for your child(ren)’s birthday parties and what are your thoughts on this dilemma that I am having with my son this year?

I know ultimately Bob, Sean and I just need to make a decision and stick with it. However, Sean and I see the advantages in both ways of doing his parties this year and keep waffling back and forth as to which way to go.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Krissi August 15, 2011 at 3:58 pm

I don't think you should feel obligated to invite the whole class, especially if he has other friends he wants to invite. Think about the space, the activities,and the budget and whether or not 30+ kids are even feasible and let that be your guide. What does your son want to do? He should have a say in what he wants. As a teacher, I should point out that when some kids aren't invited, and then the child (and other students) talk about the party, it could hurt the feelings of those that weren't invited. I've seen this happen in class like when kids are talking about their weekends, sharing journals. So, that is a thought too. Mine aren't quite old enough to have this dilemma yet so I don't have experience with it from a mom point of view. But that's my food for thought.

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2 HereWeGoAJen August 15, 2011 at 8:46 pm

I remember being eight and I do not remember ever inviting my whole class to my party. Even when it was a small school. I also don't remember knowing about a party that I was left out of, I am pretty sure we were fairly good at not talking about it in front of others. What is the school's policy on cupcakes in class? That is what we always did, cupcakes at school and then just close friends for the party. I do remember a few parties where we would invite all the girls from my class, but no boys. That was at my really small school though. (Like all the girls in my whole grade was only seven girls or something like that.)

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