Think back to when you were a kids: didnʼt you always look forward to having a birthday party? Even more stressful, were you or were you not going to be invited to one? There is that stress and anxiety that is created when a child hears about THE party and hopes to be included, and fears or expects otherwise. Itʼs one of lifeʼs important experiences that we all relate to... and a time when your advice can be very helpful.
When your child hears about the party and has not been included, you can ease the pain of feeling rejected by offering possible scenarios for the situation. Explain that sometimes there isnʼt enough room at the party for all friends so that Johnny can only pick the oneʼs who live closer, or only in a certain class or age group. Maybe it is because his mom doesnʼt know you as a parent and only invited those where there is a parental relationship. Sometimes a little ʻwhite lieʼ based on possibilities can spare some hurt feelings, use your instincts to decide.
Try to engage the left out child in a favorite activity in place of the party to distract her from the issue. Have her select the place and who she wants to be with to share the experience. It should be someone very reliable and truly compatible to avoid any disappointment. She will have her own great day with another friend or family member!
Now thereʼs the stress of choosing a party theme, deciding where to have it and whom to invite. Hereʼs where you have to be practical, not emotional. First thereʼs a budget: have a dollar amount in your head that you are comfortable with and start pricing it at varied venues. Your first consideration should be your childʼs interest or passion. Does Jessica love skating more than she loves drawing? What about that ʻbeauty partyʼ she attended last month...does she still want to do the same for herself, or is she now changing her mind towards a gymnastic party? Kevin has been playing with remote control cars and his friendʼs house, not only can that be a birthday present, the party can be held at a racing facility! Use your imagination to provide a unique experience.
Kids can be fickle, or just having trouble committing to one idea. Start visiting different locations alone to get information about the facility and see their actual condition, staff members and location. When youʼre made your evaluations and favoring the top 3 or so, revisit with your child. Be sure to ask about options, basic pricing versus upgrades and other charges, if any. Make certain that your birthday child understands that once made, the decision is final.
For optimal attendance, check the date before committing to the facility. Is is on or right before a holiday when many families may be away and unable to attend? ...thatʼs a sure way to lose guests. Always include the very important “R.S.V.P.” This reminds parents that a reply is expected, not taken for granted or unimportant. Using “Regrets Only” assumes that if they havenʼt said “no” its a ʻyesʼ, and that can be about a 50/50 inaccuracy. It really can mean ʻnoʼ, or “yes, but I forgot to tell you”, or “oops!, I completely forgot about this party”, which will be a great disappointment for the birthday child and unnecessary costs for the party. Now you have a plan, so relax and enjoy your future parties.
Marlene Bohnyak, Owner, Instructor