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First invite to a birthday party...what to expect?

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#26 Mmmcheese

Posted 09 February 2019 - 06:58 PM

View PostLunafreya, on 09 February 2019 - 06:55 PM, said:

am I expected to reciprocate the invitation? Do you have to invite the whole class at preschool? We don’t have the room and I’m not sure we could afford that!

It's a minefield lunafreya! And it's different everywhere. We didn't do whole class in preschool, but did in first year of school (it cost a fortune!) We do try to reciprocate, but my dd's birthday is earlier in the year, so not always.

#27 ~J_F~

Posted 09 February 2019 - 06:59 PM

View PostLunafreya, on 09 February 2019 - 06:55 PM, said:

am I expected to reciprocate the invitation? Do you have to invite the whole class at preschool? We don’t have the room and I’m not sure we could afford that!

No you aren’t expected to reciprocate. Sure there will be some people who carry on that you should but it’s totally up to you and what you do for your DSs birthday. Don’t be pressured into anything because of other people’s expectations!

Edited by ~J_F~, 09 February 2019 - 06:59 PM.

#28 Riotproof

Posted 09 February 2019 - 07:04 PM

View PostLunafreya, on 09 February 2019 - 06:55 PM, said:

am I expected to reciprocate the invitation? Do you have to invite the whole class at preschool? We don’t have the room and I’m not sure we could afford that!


#29 amdirel

Posted 09 February 2019 - 07:05 PM

View PostLunafreya, on 09 February 2019 - 06:55 PM, said:

am I expected to reciprocate the invitation? Do you have to invite the whole class at preschool? We don’t have the room and I’m not sure we could afford that!

No to both questions. But just keep in mind numbers so as not to exclude people- for eg if it's a class of 20, don't invite 15 and only leave out a handful of them, it's best just to invite 8 or so.

#30 gracie1978

Posted 09 February 2019 - 07:06 PM

You have to stay, someone left a child at my 4yos party and it was a nightmare, I couldn't look after him because I had 20 kids in my house, it's expected that parents keep an eye on their own child.
I was so p*ssed off at the mum that did it to me, she didn't even tell me in advance (because she knew I would have said no).

Good luck with the toilet training, mine is being a terror about pooing in the toilet.  Really want it sorted before school next year!!

Edited by gracie1978, 09 February 2019 - 07:08 PM.

#31 JomoMum

Posted 09 February 2019 - 07:12 PM

DS, 5yo, has attended maybe 2-3 parties of friends. We spend approx $15-20 and I always stay.

I am not w believer in reciprocating invites. For party invites, class Christmas cards/candy canes etc.

I don’t mind whether the birthday child opens their gift of not. We’ve been lucky in the instances where they don’t, and actually when they do also, to receive a text to say thank you for the gift.

#32 Stoked

Posted 09 February 2019 - 07:21 PM

Many birthday venues advise against opening presents at the venue as there is a risk of small parts being lost, etc. There's usually a table set aside for presents, whether at an external venue or someone's home, and everyone leaves their present there and that's it. We've always heard back from the parents afterwards whether by email, text message or in person - in our area everyone makes a point of thanking each family for their present.

#33 lonestranger

Posted 09 February 2019 - 07:30 PM

We’ve done quite a few 4 year old parties...

Yes, do stay.

We give a present of around $15 value...others give more expensive gifts (like $25), but that is our budget. We usually give a book, DS often helps choose a topic that the child likes.

We invited the whole class to DS’s party, but didn’t expect reciprocal invites. He has been to many parties where only a few children from his class were invited, totally normal.

I like attending the parties as I like socialising with the other parents! I also tend to finish off DS’s serve of birthday cake...

Edited by lonestranger, 09 February 2019 - 07:35 PM.

#34 Wolf87

Posted 09 February 2019 - 07:42 PM

I didn’t know not staying was an option at that age, toilet trained or not! I’d be seriously p*ssed off if someone dropped and ran at this age, I don’t want to be responsible for a load of kids that aren’t mine!

#35 EmmDasher

Posted 09 February 2019 - 07:51 PM

50/50 here on drop and run or stay. When DD was 4 I was told that I could either stay or go as I pleased. I hightailed it out as fast as you can say thanks, see you later. At that age I would never drop and run unless being told to do so by the parent and I’d stay if toileting was an issue.

In some cases, both parents and other siblings came which I found a bit OTT. Each to their own 🤷🏼‍♀️

Gifts, yes. We try and keep to $20 and under and small or consumable crafty items.

We don’t reciprocate invites. It’s just too hard to keep track and at that age friendships can be an ever changing garden of opportunities.

I keep a present cupboard now and bulk buy several items when they’re on clearance eg. I got these mini furbies at the grocery story for $3 each and a pile of gorgeous quality necklaces for half price, loom band kits for $1 at Spotlight etc. I just keep a stock of generic age appropriate items because it was getting out of hand with the number of parties.

Edit- DD is always so sad when the kids don’t open the present. She is like me and we really love to see people open the gifts and share that with them. Watching the gift openings is the best bit of some parties and it sucks a bit when they don’t do it (even though I understand why). All parents we socialize with text thank you for attendance and gifts promptly following the party.

Edited by EmmDasher, 09 February 2019 - 07:54 PM.

#36 MGB

Posted 09 February 2019 - 07:59 PM

Preschool and FYOS I stayed.
We spend around $15-$25 on a present.
I don’t think you have to reciprocate, but as a pp mentioned. I wouldn’t leave out only a handful of kids either.
Most parties my kids have been invited to the birthday child hasn’t opened the present at the party.
Occasionally I have received a text of thanks for for the gift, not fussed though.

#37 Ruby red shoes

Posted 09 February 2019 - 07:59 PM

Yes, definitely stay. I found it was a good opportunity to get to know other parents from kindy/school.

$15-20 is my usual budget. I might spend a bit more if the birthday child is a bestie. Big w has robotic spiders, lizards, snakes and dinosaurs which is my current go to gift. Craft stuff is always a hit too.

We don't tend to open gifts at the party. We generally open them afterwards so we can take note of who gave what. We send thank you cards afterwards.

Edited by Ruby red shoes, 09 February 2019 - 08:01 PM.

#38 BECZ

Posted 09 February 2019 - 10:33 PM

Yes, you should stay.  I would be surprised if you weren't expected to.

We usually spend $25-30 on a gift, but each to their own.

I rarely see gifts being opened and although opening them at the party was the norm when I was a child, I see that doing it afterwards can be a good thing as some people spend more than others and you don't want people to feel embarrassed.

At times where they have opened gift at the party, once the boy, who specifically requested Lego City was too honest and said to the gift giver, "I already have this one.   (Other child just looked at him blankly) But I already have this one!  Can you get me a different one?!"  

On another occasion a child gave the delux set and another gave the basic set.  You could tell the gift giving child felt a bit awkward, but luckily the birthday child was gracious and excitedly said, "Wow thanks 'x'.  Now I can make an extra big set!"

#39 BeAwesome

Posted 10 February 2019 - 09:16 AM

- Parents tended to stay until Year 1 parties here, then they become drop and go.  I'd definitely stay for a non-TT child.

- At that age I tended to spend around $20 on a gift.  I've increased that a little as my kids have got older.  I've found these days most kids are making their own cards to put with a gift rather than store bought.

- I'd ask my child what their friend was interested in - the few previous posters that mentioned 'girlie stuff' and barbies would have totally missed the mark with my eldest DD, even at 4.  

- I found gift opening didn't happen to avoid potential upset, for a myriad of reasons, such as - no tact, double up, breakages, etc.  I've noticed now as the kids are hitting double digits, they've started opening gifts in front of their friends.

#40 Renovators delight

Posted 10 February 2019 - 09:20 AM

View PostBeAwesome, on 10 February 2019 - 09:16 AM, said:

- I'd ask my child what their friend was interested in - the few previous posters that mentioned 'girlie stuff' and barbies would have totally missed the mark with my eldest DD, even at 4.

I figure neutral presents like Barbie, a LEGO set etc present good re-gifting opportunities for the other parent, especially where its an all-of-class party. :ninja: I try asking DS what the child likes, but he is often very vague, or tells me something like a fitbit which doesn't fit the budget! Last year attending 4yo parties with DS2, he had no idea what any of the children liked and just told me what he liked every time.

#41 Mollyksy

Posted 10 February 2019 - 09:35 AM

Strangely my DS had a pretty good idea of what his friends liked but mostly I was guided by the helpful character invites lol! I'll be lost if they go. Having said that, a few presents DS got were I initially thought far off the mark. Most though we played with or began a new phase of interests (the humble matchbox car has now lead to truck overload!). Like PP said, not sure if its controversial, but a generic present like lego can be regifted or donated to kmart tree. I just do my best with good intentions. But please rsvp people!

#42 Mmmcheese

Posted 10 February 2019 - 09:37 AM

View PostSuperMombie3, on 10 February 2019 - 09:30 AM, said:

Everyone stays where we are too.  DS1 had a party invite recently and at 4 he has no idea what the kid was into so I texted his mum to ask when I rsvpd what she'd like.  Once they get older I try to get the kid invited to help choose.  I hate buying gifts.  I usually try to make it around $20 but we don't go to a heap of parties so far.  Might have to revise that when Ive got 3 attending different parties.

Eta: I usually buy a cheap card from kmart or a $2 shop and get the kid invited to decorate it.

I've been lucky that my DD is actually really good at choosing presents and has been since she was little. We are also regifters too though :ninja: that can help with costs and I like to think it's environmentally friendly too. (She was never going to use those bead sets...)

#43 just roses

Posted 10 February 2019 - 09:53 AM

I'd buy a book for a 4/5 year old. And maybe a hotwheels car to go with it. I didn't like spending too much for those younger whole class parties. Partly because there seemed to be so many of them, but also - as a parent who hosted a few - you just get overwhelmed with gifts.

I also quite like giving (and receiving) consumables at that age. So little craft kits or some cool crayola textas with paper and some shaped scissors. That sort of thing. Not cheap craft sets that just get chucked out, though. Something useable and fun.

One gift that was pretty cheap - but greatly appreciated - was a bubble machine. I bought it on a whim and my friend (whose son I gave it to) has ended up using it for multiple backyard birthday parties!

Now my kids are older (turning 9 and 12) so parties are fewer and smaller and now we spend around $20 on gifts.

#44 Jenflea

Posted 10 February 2019 - 10:01 AM

My kid is 8 and we all still stay, mostly because the mums all sit around and talk.

I wouldn't ever drop and run under about 7 though, kids still need to be guided as to how to behave in a party, head off any tantrums or fighting if possible, don't scoff ALL the lollies and don't grab and snatch etc.

#45 Hands Up

Posted 10 February 2019 - 10:07 AM

Yeah i think opening gifts at the party is odd. We’ve always sent/received a message afterwards saying thanks.

Definitely stay.

#46 MrsLexiK

Posted 10 February 2019 - 12:12 PM

I’ve stayed with my kids at all parties but I’ve had a friend of DS1 come to his 3rd, 4th and 5th and the parents o my stayed at the 4th birthday (because they could) she was the youngest of 3 and a bit of an age gap so the older kids needed dropping off at football etc plus the mum worked on weekends at a hospital. Then they seperated so was even harder. At DS1’s birthday last year we had a close friend also dropped and not stayed because parents were away. Parents asked if it was ok before via text each time.

#47 Veritas Vinum Arte

Posted 11 February 2019 - 09:35 AM

To stay or not stay depended upon the location of the party, knowing my child (some are fine, one would have a meltdown whenever happy Birthday was sung due to the noise) etc.

If I was going to drop and run, it was usually at “at home” parties where there was extended family as well as kinder friends and there (meaning extra adults) and I made sure the host had my mobile number and reassured them I would be at a cafe 5mins away. Usually in this situation the hosts were happy to have one less adult body in the house.

Presents were never opened at parties when we were kids... it was considered vulgar. Plus gave ample opportunity for kids to be mean about what present X gave. EB has done an epic thread on this previously.

We always do a $20-$30 gift at a minimum.

#48 Mollycoddle

Posted 11 February 2019 - 09:39 AM

View PostMandaMama, on 09 February 2019 - 05:40 PM, said:

BUT don't expect that you will actually get to see the birthday child open the gift, and in view of this, don't expect any acknowledgment or thank you for the gift either. It seems to be a "thing" to treat kids' birthday parties like weddings with a "gift" table, with only the immediate/close family getting to see the birthday child open said gifts once all the friends have gone home. Needless to say this is not how I conduct things at my kids' parties.

It sounds like you're implying this is ill-mannered.  I totally get why people do this, it's hard to keep track of gifts and all the small pieces with the general chaos of the party, it's hard to supervise gifts when you've got the rest of the party to deal with.  I've had other kids try to open stuff and play with it, even pieces lost or broken so my child hasn't even had the chance to play with something as it hasn't even made it past the party!  Of course you get a thank you when you hand the gift over, what else do you need?

Edited by Mollycoddle, 11 February 2019 - 09:41 AM.

#49 28 Barbary Lane

Posted 11 February 2019 - 07:49 PM

Yeah first time there was no present opening I thought it was a bit weird but now I love it though. No awkward moments when you realise you’ve brought the same thing as the last five presents that were opened and bonus points for getting  you home at least 45 minutes faster!

And I would definitely stay FYOS, toilet trained or not. It’s a very uncomfortable moment when you just about to cut the cake and some random 4YO announces “I need to do a poo RIGHT NOW and need someone to clean my bottom” but when frantically look around for the parents you realise they are AWOL!

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