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Birthday Party Etiquette

kids birthday party etiquette

When it comes to kids' birthday parties, even the most elegant parents make mistakes. Teaching kids how to be gracious is an important life skill. Momtrends has put together a list of Dos and Dont's to help parents avoid social gaffes.

Do RSVP. It's not fun to guestimate how many six year olds will be in attendance. It's also wasteful to order too much food or too many goodie bags.

Do communicate allergies, but don't be a pest. Kids today come with careful diets. Kind parents, bring along appropriate treats to help their kids avoid allergies. Kind hosts will do their best to offer snacks that work for everyone, but don't make yourself nuts preparing three different kids of cake (regular, egg-free, wheat-free).

Do be prompt. Birthday parties for kids are not open houses where you can come and go as you like. The start time helps parents plan activities and snacks. Be late at your own peril--you may miss Bozo the juggling clown.

Do mind the clock. Around age 5, the miracle of the drop-off party occurs. This means you get an hour or two free. Don't push your luck and catch a double feature. Picking your kid up late from the party is very uncool.

Do exit gracefully. Do teach your children to greet adults warmly and to say thank you at the end of the party.

Don't bring extra guests without permission. If the invite is for Janie's B-day addressed to your 6 y.o. don't assume you can bring your 2 y.o. Ask the host/hostess if it is ok to bring a sibling. Don't be offended if they say no. It may be for safety or a cost consideration.

Do write thank-you notes for the gifts your child receives. When your child is about 4, they can start helping with the notes. If you send email invitations, it is fine to email a thank you.

Don't open gifts while the guests are there. It will lead to mass confusion and probably some jealousy and hurt feelings.

Do feel free to say 'No gifts please'? on the invite. Don't get vexed if your son's best pal brings him a new Bakugan anyhow. Have you checked out Echoage? It's a great alternative to gifts.

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Here’s how it works in six steps:

1.) Choose an invite-pick from a zippy assortment of email invites.
2.) Choose a cause–from Autism Speaks to EarthCorps–pick a cause your kid believes in. Rather than gifts, your child will raise money for this cause.
3.) Email invites
4.) Eco tracker–software to manage the guest list.
5.) Awards-your child gets acute award to celebrate his generosity
6. ) Email thank you

Simple. Fun. Green. While I know this concept isn’t for everyone, green-minded kids and their equally passionate parents may really go for this. I think it is a refreshing alternative to buying a toy the birthday boy may or may not like to add to his burgeoning toy closet.

I caught up with Alison Smith, co-founder of, to find out more about her take on being a green mom.

What is the best part of being a green mama?

The best part of being a green mama is the awareness that comes when you open your mind to the needs of the environment. Once you make small steps, you find yourself wanting to do more.

What is the most annoying thing about kiddie b-days?

The most annoying thing about ‘traditional’ kiddie b-days, is the packaging from all of the gifts.

What is the best gift we can give our kids?

The best gift we can give our kids is the gift of consciousness. Being aware and living a life that is focused on the needs of the community and the environment is lasting.

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