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Kids’ Birthday Party Basics

There really should be rules for elementary school birthday parties, don’t you think? I’ve given this quite a bit of thought, especially after a recent incident that happened to my son. (It’s too long to get into, but it resulted in hysterical crying and multiple punches one child threw toward mine.) For instance, maybe one rule could be: when having a small party, don’t hand out invitations at school. That way, children who aren’t invited don’t have to find out.

Another obvious rule is: when having a small party, please do invite your child’s very best friends. Because you know if you invite one best friend and not the other—from a trio that plays together each day—the other child will find out and feel horrible.

Other standard rules that parents might want to follow include:

  • If you’re having a huge party and most of your child’s class is going, invite the entire class. 
  • When you do have a big party, accept that it’s going to be expensive and cough up more for entertainment, or arrange some games.
  • It is not okay for kids to have paintball guns in the backyard with no parental supervision.
  • If you do think paintball guns and target shooting are acceptable games at your child’s first-grade party, let the other parents know and be sure to have a first-aid kit handy. Oh, and stick around in the backyard when the games are happening!
  • Piñatas cause injuries and mass hysteria—just know that and be prepared. (Be especially aware that some kids will rush the piñata as the candy falls and other kids will push, pull, and tear out their friends’ hair in order to get to this candy.)
  • Parties without activities result in children’s grouping off and leaving others out. Inevitably someone will start crying, so plan accordingly.
  • Lock your teenager’s computer room during a birthday party, as kindergartners will find it and start playing his Grand Theft Auto game.
  • Finally (and this is a big one), check with parents about allergies! You don’t want to see a kid with a gluten allergy cry when he can’t eat the birthday cake. Trust me.

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