7 Kid Birthday Party Etiquette Rules -- For Parents

kids at a birthday party

Birthday parties are the pinnacle of excitement for a kid ... but for the parent throwing the festivities, it can quickly turn into a hair-tearing-out type of ordeal. Why? It's not the rowdy kids, but their parents -- who often don't follow some simple rules of party etiquette on how to act. So moms and dads, if you ever want to be invited to future parties, do your hosts a favor and avoid these rude behaviors below.


1. Not RSVPing to the inviteThis, by far, is the most common complaint among parents and etiquette experts alike. "I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to chase down parents, even the day before the party, for a simple Yay or Nay," says one parent. "Seriously: How hard is it to let someone know if your kid will be there or not?"

2. Not RSVPing then showing up anyway. Even worse than the no-shows are the folks who blow off the RSVP, then just show up with their kid at party time. Hel-lo! If you've ever thrown a party, you know that having a head count is important. Help your poor host out.

3. Showing up with extra siblings. "I know how hard it is to make one kid stay home with a sitter while you take another to a birthday party. I get it, I’m sympathetic," says another parent. "But ASK if you may bring the invited kid’s brothers and sisters. Or at least give me a heads up. Chances are the answer will be 'Sure, bring 'em along.' But I don’t like to be surprised."

party etiquette graphic

4. Staying when parents aren't invited. "This especially applies to older kids," says Donna Jones, author of Raising Kids With Good Manners. If the host has made it clear that this is a "drop-off" party, don't linger around.

5. Leaving when parents have been invited to stay. "Birthday parties for younger children often require the help of parents," explains Jones. As a result, "it's rude to drop your child off and leave if you've been asked to stay."

More from The Stir: Dos & Dont's of Throwing a Kid's Birthday Party

6. Blabbing to the uninvited. "Parents should talk to their children about the need for discretion," says parenting expert Michelle LaRowe. "This is true especially with school-aged children, since their entire class or circle of friends may not be invited to the party. Some schools have rules on birthday party invitations; others don't. Check with your child's classroom teacher before asking your child to stick invites into their classmates' backpacks."

7. Lingering way past the party's end time. Odds are, that party host is dying to clear her home, clean up, and keel over. So give her a break and get out of there!

What birthday party guest behavior annoys you?


Images ©iStock.com/petrograd99; ©iStock.com/benz190

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