Advice on Birthday Party for Soon to Be 8 Year Old

Updated on November 04, 2008
L.F. asks from Hopkins, MN
18 answers

To date we've always invited the whole class. It seems like that has been the case with a lot of the parties she has attended. With the economy as it is, this is a less desirable option. What is common practice? Hate to be exclusive. Don't have a real good sense of what the norms are around this.

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So What Happened?

First of all I just want to thank everyone for their advice. It was thoughtful and very helpful. My daughter is quite a tom boy so the "all girls" option (which I think sounds fine) simply doesn't work. Most of her friends are boys.

Clearly, overwhelmingly you are saying that in your experience all class parties are the exception. Thinking back, I believe my frame of reference was warped by the fact that she did attend a fairly expensive preschool, and inviting everyone was the norm there.

I'm not sure what we are going to do....but not an all class party! Thanks.

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answers from Des Moines on

We usually invite the whole class becase my boys have some friends that are girls and some boys. This year I think we will try to get the addresses of the kis they want to invite the most, this has been almost impossible as they were smaller but now they are getting older may be easier. I don't know where you live or what you are planning but Altoona Campus has a reasonable kids party for 15 kids 50 dollars.
working mother of 7yr old twins



answers from Milwaukee on

We have never invited the whole class and it works out just fine. The rule at the school is that IF the whole class is not invited the invitations cannot go through school. It seems as though if you receive an invite in the mail, it is generally assumed that the invitees do not go around bragging about the party they were invited to.

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answers from Minneapolis on

I have never invited the whole class. We've always gone by the rule that you can invite as many friends as you will be years old. So each boy had two friends over when he turned two, five friends when he turned five, etc. Once you hit ten then you stop at ten friends.

We've never gotten any grief for it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

For my son's birthday recently, I hired a story teller to come into his class and that way, he got to celebrate his birthday with everyone. I would recommend for your 8 year old maybe the Reptile Man or the Bug Man or something along that line that might interest them?
Good luck!



answers from Minneapolis on

It is not the norm in our area or at our school to invite the whole class. I have two kids ages 9 and 12 and we've never invited the whole class. Our parties usually average about 8-11 kids, although I limited my older son to 5-7 this year because he had his first sleepover party. The teachers don't like invitations passed out at school so we usually put them in the mail or hand deliver them and I tell the kids to be discreet at school not talk about the party. One of the birthdays is a summer birthday so that makes it a little easier. One year I did allow the summer birthday boy to invite the entire baseball team, assuming many wouldn't be able to make it because of vacations, etc., but they all showed up and I regretted it. Good luck.



answers from Madison on

I was always allowed to invite the number of people I was old. Worked for us and we're doing it with our son. At my old school, students had to invite the whole class if handing invites out at school. Maybe it stems from that. Mail from home or make some calls for the party and do what works for your family.



answers from Des Moines on

The norm (and polite thing) is to invite either her whole class or every girl. There are many ways to save money on birthday parties, if money is an issue. Having the party at your house and playing games is practically free. Have fun!



answers from Minneapolis on

Well the experts would tell you that you invite as many children as your child is old (8). I think more and more people invite the whole class because they don't want the work of hosting a party so they pay someone else to do the party for them (like pump it up or museum etc..)When you host it in your home of course it will be smaller, just close friends.



answers from Minneapolis on

Personally I've never been a fan of inviting the whole class to birthdays, both from a party-throwing and party-attending perspective. It is definitely not the norm in our school. Every girl is more common, but not everyone has done that, either. I think they should spend their bday with people they enjoy. At this age, my rule was that you can invite the number of people equal to your age. We always send the invitations by mail so no one at school feels excluded.



answers from Minneapolis on

My daughter is 7 and has been invited to tons of parties over 12 probaly in the last 3 years alone. She's only been invited to 1 coed party ALL the other party's have always been just girls.

Becareful with the invites though some teachers are picky and won't allow invitations at school unless the whole class is invited or every girl is invited.



answers from Minneapolis on

My experience has been that the trend to invite the entire class is more common in well-to-do suburbs. My son has only ever been invited to 1 party with his entire class and that was because the child really wanted that (and it was a relatively small class).

When my son was little we limited the party to as many kids as his age although for his 5th birthday I started to ask him who he wanted to invite. This year he was very specific that he only wanted 5 kids.

His school this year tells parents in the beginning that invitations are never to be handed out at school. He has been invited to one school friend party this school year and was the only one from his class.

We have always done parties at home or at a free site like a wading pool (summer birthday). My son picks a theme, usually using Oriental Tradings catalog for inspiration. I do a homemade cake decorated with that theme. Then I buy a few party favors/decorations with that theme or we make some items. I time the party so that I can just serve some snacks (fruit and popcorn) and cake and ice cream.



answers from Madison on

I usually just ask my son who he wants to invite. Until this past birthday we have always done the parties at home. You don't have to provide a meal depending on what time you have the party. You can make your own cake or cupcakes. If you wanted to have the kids decorate, you might go with cupcakes. You can find lots of games on the internet to play at parties.

So far we haven't had an issue with not inviting the whole class, he had one teacher who didn't want the invitations handed out in class if everyone wasn't invited. If that is the case, you can hand them out before or after class.

Good luck.



answers from Minneapolis on

We went through "exactly" the same situation with our first/only girl child. But, what happened is She was invited to Girls' Only party by a friend NOT in school but from outside school. It gave us the realization there could be Girl's parties and Boy's parties as a solution. The party was to get their hair done as a Princess or Prince at a Kid's Hair salon. It was loads of fun for the girls and any boy that asked to be invited or parents other children of similar age.

Now it seems the "right" and normal thing to do. She has been invited to several girls "only" parties this page year.
Our child is 8 and now in 3rd Grade.
Of course a special friend if a boy could be also invited and he will get lots of girl's cute attention as the "only" boy.
Later parties could be much smaller like 2 to 7 best friends. I wonder when that is? :-)

PS our child is also ADHD the second teacher did not recommend testing! The school accepted the testing from a former educational psychologist through our health insurance which covered that type of disability testing. Not probably though if Dyslexia!

Any way She showed a discrepancey between IQ and performance which did not suprise us in the Least! We knew her to be clever She struggled in school and still does in parts and excels in some areas.

They Refused from the testing her acceptance! but was told it was borderline. But when they saw a written diagnosis of ADHD by a Child Psychiatrist by law they had to allow her IED support, more than She was already getting! And they told us as long as She is in that Elementary School She will get it what She needs. I still wonder about alternatives for education as we know her to be pretty bright! (or even more so!) So a Child Psychiatrist helped a lot and also they are the best ones or a Pediatrician to prescribe medications anyway to a young child! The Testing was done by a Park Nicollet Psychologist and the Dr. was affilated with the Alexander Center. We wanted to a "home" run the first time and only had to have the psycologist testing based age first school year basis which made it even harder for her acceptance! But again the Psychiatrists opinion would over rule even any testing resutls if they felt strongly about that! And met with the child several times themselves! (to make sure) The end of Second Grade was Great! 3rd grade we are still "deciding"... The medicine helped her when She got it in Second Grade. Not as much in 3Rd. She only got to get the Diagnosis and Medicing 1/2 way in 2nd Grade. I wanted her to be assessed in First Grade! Our Relative is a former Principal of an elemtary school who kept telling US wait till she is "older" to really see a Discrepancy! I think She could have benefited from the medicine in part of First and ALL of Second Grade! So the Schoo and We are paying for THAT



answers from Omaha on

My recommendation is to invite the kids she talks about most in class or the ones that seem to be the closest friends. One year we had invited the entire class for a party but even with the help of the party hosts at the place my husband and I it was just too much. So we opted for smaller party. My husband and I agreed on a number that we felt we could handle.
My daughter just turned 9 and so we took her and 5 friends to a movie, then had pizza and games at the house and a select few (2) were able to spend the night. We let our daughter choose then mailed the invitations so that there wasn't anyone feeling left out because we were handing stuff out at school. Another friend of my daughters had 3 girls and took them to get a pedicure, Another suggestion is if they are into arts/crafts there are some pottery places around Omaha to take them and have them decorate a dish. Skating or bowling might be an option. Good Luck with party



answers from Waterloo on

If you do only invite some of the kids from her class, be sure to mail the invites to their homes and don't pass them out at school. We don't invite my son's entire class, we only invite a few of his friends. If any of the kids ask him why they're not invited I tell him to put the blame on me and say "My mom says I can't invite anymore kids."



answers from Davenport on

How about just the boys or just the girls? That would cut expenses in half. At our school you may pass out invitations, and you needn't invite the entire class, but you must invite all the girls or all the boys if you are handing out at school.



answers from Appleton on

Hi L.,

In the past, I have had my son's parties at home to save on expenses. We have the old fashioned games I had as a child (with a twist, of course)... we had relay races, games, and making their own party hats. We revised pin the tail on the donkey with pin the spatula onto Sponge Bob's hand. You can keep the food fairly inexpensive such as sloppy joe's, chips, finger jello, etc...

This past birthday, my son wanted to have his party somewhere other than home (as many classmates do). I used the excuse of his golden birthday to keep the cost down (he had a bowling party). I told him it would be ok, but he could only invite 8 friends because it was his 8th birthday. They had a blast, but he's talking about having his next one at home so that he can have more friends over (it was hard for him to choose just 8).

With my son being my oldest, I'm trying to pay attention to what the other families do. I can't however "keep up with the Jones'". Ideally, I would like for him to have 2 to 3 friends overnight and just play + have fun. We could let him choose his favorite foods for supper and let the kids decorate the cake. I think that would be fun and much less expensive. So far, it seems like there are fewer parties this year (he's in 2nd grade). Seems as though K + 1st there were more parties... although we're only a couple months into the school year.

There didn't seem to be issues with only having 8 invited this year. Usually it is either the whole class or just the boys (or in your case, just the girls).

I don't know how helpful I was, but this is what we have done so far.

Hope everything goes well for you and your party planning. Wish your daughter a "Happy Birthday".




answers from Iowa City on

One family I know does a larger party (with a limited number of guests, not the whole class) one year, then the next year the birthday kid gets to invite one or maybe two at most special friends to do something special with.

My son is fine with that and, since our budget has been tight and recently got tighter, he's accepting of the fact that a big party is pretty much out of the question now. He's had one big one since hitting school age and had fun, but is happy with the idea of just one or two friends. I honestly think that, although he might not admit it, he tires of the sensory overload of a big party, the noise and activity that increase with the size of the crowd.

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