What's Proper Etiquette for Kid Birthday Parties?
Do you make treat bags? Who do you invite? Where do you have it? Who do you feed? What do you spend on a gift? The list goes on and on.
Moms Talk is a weekly feature on all Lehigh Valley Patches, in which local parents are invited to share opinions and advice on parenting issues.
Each week our Moms Council members will discuss a different issue. Join the conversation by weighing in on a topic or asking questions.
Our Moms Council members include:
- Lisa Amey, of Upper Milford Township, is a stay-at-home mom to an 8-year-old son and a 5-year-old daughter. A past president of the MOMS Club of Emmaus and long time member of MOPs (Mothers of Preschoolers), Lisa is an Independent Consultant for Arbonne International.
- Lisa Drew, of Emmaus, is a certified nutritionist and personal trainer, wellness and fitness coach with more than 17-years experience. She is the mother of a 13-year-old girl and a 9-year-old boy.
- Jennifer Elston, of Emmaus, has almost two decades of professional experience in child development and counseling. She is currently a stay-at-home mom to two beautiful girls. Together with her husband, Chris, she owns Christopher Elston Photography.
- Jeanne Lombardo of Nazareth is the mother to a 10-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl. She’s new to the Lehigh Valley, having moved to Nazareth from Bergen County, N.J. in January.
- Lisa Merk, of Lower Macungie, is a stay-at-home mother of four boys – a 12-year-old and 6-year-old triplets. Lisa is a past president of the MOMS Club of Lower Macungie East. In her “spare” time, Lisa teaches piano to school-age children.
- Megan Patruno, of Allentown, is a mother of three – an 11-year-old boy, an 8-year-old girl and a 6-year-old boy. Megan also works as an admission counselor for Muhlenberg College in Allentown.
- Zoila Bonilla Paul, of Bethlehem, is a stay-at-home mom to two girls – a five year old and a 14 month old. Zoila is a member of her local “moms’ club” and says she is “well-versed in the fun that children can bring.”
The subject of this week’s Moms Talk is kid birthday party etiquette. It comes from yours truly, Jennifer Marangos, the editor of the Emmaus Patch, and quite frankly, I don’t know where to begin. This is a topic that totally baffles me. ‘Cause, to use the favorite old foggy phrase of pretty much every stand-up comedian over the age of 40, “back in my day” birthday parties were different.
First of all, when I was four, there was no such thing as a “friend” birthday party. We had family parties. My mom set up a spread for all the aunts and uncles and cousins down in the basement, whipped up my favorite Betty Crocker box cake, spruced it up with some M&Ms and we played all day.
The gifts were largely clothes – it was a family party after all – and there was no such thing as treat bags for the guests.
Yesterday, our four-year-old went to a “friend” birthday party for a child in his class at the day care. The party was out at one of the many Lehigh Valley establishments that host children’s parties. My husband stayed at the party with him. The hosts of the party very generously fed my husband and the other parents pizza and cake, our son came home with a full treat bag, and they both had a great time.
So here’s what I want to know:
What’s considered proper with kid's birthday parties? How much do you spend on a gift? Who do you invite? The entire class? If so, that can get pretty pricey, depending on where you have the party. And, where do you have the party? Do you have to provide a goodie bag for the guests? (Do any of us need more tiny plastic toys in our lives?) At what age do you start having “friend” parties anyhow? Do you need to feed the parents at the party? And, speaking of parents, at what age do you just drop your child off and come back at the end of the party to pick the child up?
There’s a lot here. Any insight you can provide on any part of it would be greatly appreciated by this confused mom, and, I am hoping, by other parents on the birthday party circuit. Share your thoughts and stories with us in the comments.
If you would like to become a part of the Moms Council and/or have ideas for future Moms Talk questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.