November 1st, 2014

Birthday Party Etiquette Tips for Hosts and Guests

by Jacqueline Whitmore

It may seem like a simple affair, but a birthday party for a child can bring up a lot of questions. Especially with small children and preschoolers, it’s difficult to know what’s appropriate and what’s not. You may be wondering: “Do I need to have goodie bags for every guest?” Or, “Can I bring my other children along?”

Birthday cake for a 1-year-old

Photo credit: Oscar Shen via Flickr

Here are some birthday party etiquette tips for hosts and guests:

If you’re the host:

  • Don’t discipline someone else’s children.
  • Set a spending limit so no one tries to “out spend” your other guests.
  • Set a timeline for your party so your guests don’t overstay their welcome.
  • Help your child write thank-you notes to all those who attended the party.
  • Provide each child with a small goodie bag filled with a toy or baked goods to take home so everyone feels important.

When you and your child are invited to a party:

  • RSVP. If you say you’re going to attend, please attend. Reply within one week of receiving the invitation. Don’t wait until the last minute.
  • Bring only who is invited on the invitation. Siblings should only attend if they are invited.
  • Bring a gift or make a donation in the child’s name to the parents’ favorite charity.
  • Stick to your budget on presents and don’t try to outdo other parents.
  • It’s not absolutely necessary to send a gift if you cannot attend the party, but a birthday card is a nice gesture.
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