Should You Invite The Entire Class To Your Kid’s Birthday Party?
by Ann Mifsud
If you have been wanting to plan a birthday party for your kid, but cannot decide whether to invite the entire class or not, we at easykidsparties.com can help you make up your mind.
The answer to whether you should invite the entire class to your kid’s birthday party lies in asking the right question. That is, not if you “should” but if you “could”. Do you afford to bring in the whole class? Do you have enough space to host them? Does school policy permit not inviting everybody? How much help will you have on the day? Will it be safe to invite all the kids in class? And, is your child old enough and will she be happy to have all her class mates at the party?
If you have been fretting to stick to etiquette, we have some very good and reassuring news for you…there is none when it comes to whether you should invite the entire class to your kid’s party.
We will go through a handful of considerations which we think should not be dismissed before making up your mind.
You can click on any of the following to go straight to the issue that concerns you the most:
- Your kid’s and guests’ ages
- The number of kids in the whole class
- School policy on organizing kids’ parties outside school hours
- Safety issues when organizing a kid’s birthday party
- Your budget in deciding how many kids you invite to your kid’s party
- The size of the party venue in relation to the number of kids
- Any help you can get in organzing your kid’s birthday party
1. Your kid’s and guests’ ages
Think about it, if your child is around the age of two, having a huge number of faces may be overwhelming and may lead her to fuss and want to stay alone or close to you and not celebrate much. For the young developing brain, seeing so many people usually means a lot of processing, which can be tiring.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, at around 3, kids start becoming more sociable and slowly move towards playing with others their age instead of side-by-side. So inviting friends to a party will mean that they can have some games or enjoy a magician’s or clown’s performance, as long as they are not afraid of clowns because some kids just are.
It takes them till they are around 5 to become more sociable, independent and less overwhelmed as when they were younger. Since by now, kids would have learnt taking turns and sharing, you will find that they will cooperate if you plan to have some games during the party.
For this reason, you may wish to stick to a number of close friends when they are younger and only start introducing them to the idea of inviting the entire class when you see they have reached this stage.
As the adult, you are the one who will be taking the decision, possibly in consultation with another significant other in the kid’s life. Remember that each child is different, so taking into account his or her level of development is crucial.
If your kid is old enough, take this opportunity to sit sown and discuss with him or her the decision on whether he or she should invite the entire class, after taking into consideration all the points discussed below. This will help them take responsibility and own the decision, making them feel they are very much at the ‘organizing’ side of the party.
You may find out that your kid may not be on very good terms with some children in the class, and would not really wish them to be present for this personal milestone. I think this alone should carry some weight when it comes to taking the right decision.
Your child may wish to go for quality time with his or her closest group of friends rather than quantity. Respect that if it is the case. After all, it’s not really how many people your kid knows or is known to, but the kind of relationship he or she has with them.
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2. The number of kids in the whole class
Although there is some consensus on the number of kids in a classroom, you will be surprised to know that this will vary from school to school. Some schools have relatively fewer kids than others. Having a class of 20 kids as opposed to a class of 30 kids may play a role when it comes to deciding whether you invite the entire class or not to your kid’s birthday party.
Of course if you can afford it and have the space where to organize your kid’s party, then that may make it easier for you to make up your mind. But if not, you would want to make sure that if you are inviting some friends and not others, you don’t create an exclusionary scenario.
It’s one thing adding 4 or 5 kids to a list of 20 guests. But it’s a different game altogether to double the amount, from say 10 to 20 kids.
A good rule of thumb if you cannot invite the whole class would be to invite half or better still, less than half the class.
Some parents may be inclined towards organizing a large party for their kid’s birthday, but would much rather invite 10 close kids with their younger or older siblings, instead of inviting the entire class.
Others may find that in the context of not being able to invite the entire class, inviting kids by gender works well for them. This is especially true if your kid tends to have most of his or her friends of the same gender. This can be tricky in other circumstances though. You don’t want to reinforce gender stereotypes. More importantly, you would want to encourage relationships with both genders. So do give this some thought before taking a decision.
3. School policy on organizing kids’ parties outside school hours
You may find yourself having to take into account what the school your kid attends says about organizing kids’ parties outside school hours. Weird as it may sound, some schools actually make it clear that if there is to be a party, all the class is to be invited. They may insist on keeping to that policy, even if you do not fully agree, or worse still, cannot invite the entire class for other justifiable reasons.
Of course, it is good to mention that the idea behind such policies is usually to foster an environment of inclusion. As a parent you may be focusing on the 2 hours your kid’s party will last. But from a teacher’s point of view, rest assured that kids do speak between themselves on what they are going to be having at their party and will also continue speaking post party, telling others what fun it had been doing this or that activity at your kid’s party.
Before going on a guilt trip though, remember you are the host and deciding to invite the entire class simply because of a policy your kid’s school might encourage, will have implications on you any how. Such as, but not exclusively, our next 2 points, safety and budget.
4. Safety issues when organizing a kid’s birthday party
Whether or not you tend towards inviting the entire class, one crucial factor you need to take into account is safety.
If you’re inviting the entire class you probably won’t be inviting them at home, at least probably not indoors. But even if you do have space to invite the whole class and keep them well entertained, whether outdoors or indoors, keep in mind that venue size is not the only issue. Safety, in our opinion, is even more important.
If you decide to have a group of 30 kids at your kid’s party, you may want to remember that that’s a lot of responsibility on you.
The kids invited to your kid’s party are your responsibility for those two hours. So it practically goes without saying, you would need help in making sure they are safe while having fun.
You may decide to have parents sticking around rather than dropping them off. In this way you won’t be the one shouldering all the burden. You would still need to make sure the place is safe, of course. But with parents around, there will be a few extra eyes. That is, if you don’t mind it and your budget allows it!
Before making up your mind on this matter you may wish to read our article which answers the question “Should Parents Stay On At A Kid’s Party Or Just Drop Them Off?”
Should Parents Stay On At A Kid’s Party Or Just Drop Them Off?
With so many different customs that color our world, no wonder some parents get confused on whether to stay at a kid’s party or just drop off their child. It primarily boils down to your kid’s age…
5. Your budget in deciding how many kids you invite to your kid’s party
This can be a sticky point. Some parents would look at the budget first before organizing any party. Others think that the budget should not be a deciding factor on whether one should invite the entire class to a kid’s birthday party.
We can safely say it’s somewhere in between. We can argue the more the merrier, why not? But we cannot dismiss the reality that there is a substantial financial difference, depending on whether you are organizing a party for 10 or 30 kids. Add parents staying on, and the cost escalates further.
It is not just the food we are talking about, because you can decide to serve simple food items. Budgeting for your kid’s party will include tableware, entertainment, favor bags and the venue – increasing the number means you’re less likely to be able to hold it at home.
So yes, taking your budget into account is wise. If you can afford it, this will be an easy one to tick. If not, don’t feel ashamed. Ultimately, the most important thing is that you mark your kid’s milestone with a celebration surrounded by the people he or she has a relationship with. It should be an event where your kid feels loved and special to those around him.
6. The size of the party venue in relation to the number of kids
The size of the venue needed will vary depending on whether you are inviting 10 guests compared to when you’re inviting 30. Imagine the set up you would like to have. For example, would you wish your guests to be seated while eating? Ask yourself how many guests the venue you have in mind can take.
Consider whether the kids will be having free play or more structured games and activities. They will obviously need a good amount of space whichever the option.
If you are considering having a bounce house for example, make sure the venue can take it, as you may be needing more space than you think.
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Having a bounce house at your kid’s party is definitely a great, fun and memorable idea, but it doesn’t come with zero planning. Some preparation is required when considering having a bounce house at your kid’s party.
Should you decide to go for a large outdoors space to accommodate all the class, make sure you have an equally sizeable space indoors in the event of a sudden change of weather.
And if you’re considering asking parents to stay on, then the venue has to fit all your 30 or so guests, plus adults.
7. Any help you can get in organzing your kid’s birthday party
If you are inclined towards inviting the entire class for your kid’s birthday party, you will surely need outside help. Whether it’s in the form of outsourcing food, entertainment or the overall organization of the party, you cannot do it alone.
Think of what you will need on the day. If you do not wish to outsource help, then consider asking relatives or friends to give a helping hand. Maybe you could get a couple of adults to organize the games and activities for the kids.
A couple other adults can help out with serving the food, or at least co-ordinating when and how the kids are to be served. You will need lots of experience to manage a group of 30 kids, of whichever age, at a 2-hour party, making sure they are well-entertained, well-fed and safe. Logistically, it is close to an impossibility to do it alone.
What can I do if I cannot invite the whole class for my kid’s party?
If after considering all the above factors, you decide to go for a smaller party for your kid, as opposed to inviting the entire class, you want to make sure that it is done in a way that would not hurt any kids that have not been invited. After all, kids are kids.
Advice your kid not to go around bragging who she’s inviting. If word does come out, as sometimes will, teach your kid to be polite rather than defensive and explain that inviting the entire class was not an option this time round.
As a parent, avoid having your kid hand out invitations in front of other kids. Be discreet and possibly choose to send the invites by post or use evites. It’s no big secret, but not splashing it out in anyone’s face teaches them to be considerate of other people’s feelings.
It could be next time round your kid will be the one who is not invited to a kid’s party. You will need to sit down with your kid and explain that it is ok. You may need to handle this with care for sure and help your child express any feelings of hurt or anger, which are legitimate and need to be expressed.
Another consideration worth mentioning is to look for possibilities of throwing the party when the kids are having a longer school break, like summer or Christmas. This could be an easy option if your kid’s birthday happens to be close to such holidays. This will avoid scenarios where kids walk in on a Monday morning discussing the party they’ve been to in front of some other kids who were not invited.
Final thoughts on whether you should invite the entire class to your kid’s party…
In this article we have discussed a number of salient points which are worth considering well when contemplating between inviting the entire class to your kid’s birthday party or a selected number of friends.
Seven key factors emerged as very important when making such a decision. For one thing you would want to take into account your kid’s and guests’ ages, the number of kids in the entire class and whether or not there is a particular school policy for kids’ parties outside school hours.
You would also need to be mindful of safety issues, your budget, the choice of venue and any help you may be able to get.
Tempting as it may seen, refrain from looking at one of the points above at the exclusion of the others. They should all be taken into account as one factor affects another. So, it is important to consider all of them before making your call.
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Hi I'm Ann
Mom to three kids, I am the proud co-founder of Easy Kids' Parties. After a career in journalism and education, I diverted my skills to creating this website, with the aim of helping all those parents out there who wish to organize amazing and memorable parties for their kids but feel overwhelmed at the idea. Discover more...
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