Is It Rude Not to Invite the Entire Class to My Daughters Bday Party?

Updated on September 07, 2017
B.C. asks from Hialeah, FL
26 answers

My daughter is turning 10 and she has a handful of best friends at school and then there are a few others (girls and boys) that she's friendly with and would also like to invite. But that's it! She ademantly does not want to invite the rest of the class. So out of a class of 25 she wants to invite 12. I don't want to make anyone feel left out so I was contemplating inviting the whole class. Many of these kids that she does not want to invite are parent that I know at the school. Most of these kids have been together in the same class since 1st grade with her with the exception of just a few. So not sure what to do! It is her party and I think she should not have to invite anyone she doesn't want there. It's also at a laser tag place and I am paying per child so it will get extremely costly if everyone shows. However in my experience with whole class parties, more than half end up not showing! What should I do? I'm torn!

* it's 12 kids from her class, however there are also cousins, family friends, etc. So if I were to invite all 25 from the class, we are talking about 35 kids

*EDIT: I know its really horrible to have her take them to school, but I don't have their addresses and only a few of their phone #. Would it be okay if I asked the teacher to put them in their backpacks?

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So What Happened?

Ok so I know many of you based on your responses are likely to frown on my decision. But I decided to finally just send them in to school, mostly based on her teachers response. When I spoke to her today she told me it was not a big deal at all for her to pass them out and that she would do it very discreetly at the end of the day and put it in their backpacks. She even went on to tell me that for her sons bday last year she had to do the same thing ( pass them out at school discreetly) since she did not invite the whole class. Not sure if I got this response from her because we are friendly ( I do work at the school). Another very huge reason for me deciding to do it this way at the last minute was because we are in Florida where the hurricane is literally about to hit and I thought the mail might never get there in time considering the situation. So it was kind of late to be waiting for parents to send me their addresses when the hurricane is hitting in the next few days. I guess I could have emailed but I already wasted my money on printing invites! So I hope it does go as discreetly as possible! 😳

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G.♣.

answers from Springfield on

She's 10. She knows who she wants to invite, so let her just invite those kids.

Inviting the whole class might have been appropriate in kindergarten, but at this point, they know who their friends are. Also, it's ok for them to face disappointment. Not everyone gets invited to every party, and that's ok.

Let her choose who gets invited.

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B.A.

answers from Minneapolis on

You can invite whoever you want but send the invitations to them by mail or deliver in person. If she hands out invitations at school it IS rude to not invite the whole class. So, if invites are distributed at school or on the bus, you need to include everyone

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B.J.

answers from Los Angeles on

I don't see what the big deal is ,let her give the invitations to her friends and relax.. I always just bought some water balloons and did a simple come to the park and eat homemade cupcakes with us birthday party. Gifts were optional.

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T.F.

answers from Dallas on

It is NOT rude to not invite the entire class. However, it is NOT ok to take the invitations to school.

Teachers will not do this for you.

At our school they do have a rule of no invitations and but many kids bring them anyway and I find it sad to see some children all excited to get an invitation and then others are sad because they are left out. It is NOT the way to go. Students who do get an invitation are not quiet about it and feelings get hurt.

Keep personal things at home and figure out a way to invite without sending invitations to school.

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D.B.

answers from Boston on

Personally, I have always hated the "whole class" idea! It's ridiculous to think that 20 or 25 kids just love to hang out, and it's such a burden on parents to have so many parties throughout the year. And 25 guests looks, to most parents, like a "gift grab" - guests bring a gift which the birthday child doesn't open in front of them, and then they wait 3 weeks for the 25 thank you notes to get written (if they ever do). Then it starts over for the next birthday the following week. It gets old.

A preschool class of 6? Maybe invite them all. But by 10, kids need to learn to make choices, evaluate friendships and, quite frankly, learn to handle not being invited to everything. It also doesn't hurt them to learn a few skills, like not flaunting an invite they received in front of everyone else.

We had the "year rule" - at 5, our son invited 5 kids. At 8, he invited 8 kids. By 10, he wanted to do something more expensive than a home party, so we limited the guest list even more. If he wanted movie/lunch or a laser tag thing, he invited just a handful.

Don't be held hostage by the "left out" thing - the fact is, people make choices all the time and someone is left out all the time. If she had a class of 13 and wanted to invite 12 and not the 1 remaining kid, I'd say not. But that's not the story here - she's growing up and becoming more discerning. I say to invite the kids she likes, be instructed not to talk about the party at school, learn to open gifts at the party and say a proper "thank you and I love it" while the guests learn the skill of enjoying this without a gift being for them, and let your daughter learn to write a decent thank you note - no emails notes. (Our son was told to either write a thank you note for the gift, or give the gift back with a note about why he didn't want it! Of course he wouldn't do the latter and we wouldn't permit it, but you get the idea - there's a note being written no matter what, and you can't play with the gift or spend the gift card until the thank you is written. Social skills!

Please, buck the trend in your area and stop with the big parties. The other parents and kids will thank you for it!

ETA: Please do not send the invitations to the school! That puts the teacher in charge of your daughter's social arrangements. It also makes the teacher an agent of including some and excluding others. Neither of these is the teacher's job. When I was teaching in 2 different schools, this was a huge no-no!! Please don't take advantage of the teacher this way. Send your daughter with a small list of the kids she likes and have her discreetly get addresses. At 10, kids know how to write their addresses. Then mail real invites with real RSVPs. If your daughter cannot get the info, then she's not old enough to have a party of this size.

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S.S.

answers from Atlanta on

as a mom to 4 boys, I feel your pain.

Invite who you want. Teach your child discretion and have her hand them out at school by slipping them in their backpacks, or asking them to meet her in the library or something that works for her.

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J.K.

answers from Wausau on

Regarding how to invite - when one of my kids has a school friend but they haven't hung out outside of school yet, I have them get contact info before any plans are made. This would include a party invitation. Have your daughter get contact info from the few kids you mentioned, then invite via telephone or call to get a mailing address if there is time.

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B.C.

answers from Norfolk on

We were pretty over this by 2nd grade.
Eventually everyone learns that not everyone is invited to every party.
You won't invite everyone and likewise your daughter won't be invited by everyone either.
It just gets too expensive.
You send invitations home through mail (or email) and not through school so those who aren't invited aren't made aware of it.
Call people a few days before the last need to know time if they have not rsvp'd whether they are coming or not.
12 isn't a bad number but expect parties to get even smaller as she gets older.

Additional:
I'm surprised by the schools that have a 'whole class or no class' rule.
Really?
Any party I throw is a private function and they don't have the authority to tell me what to do /who to invite in my private life during non school hours no where near school property.
It's an over reach of authority.

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A.D.

answers from Minneapolis on

It's not rude, and it's totally fine for your daughter to choose who she invites, and who she does not invite, as long as she isn't inviting all of the class but excluding just 1 or 2 people. I don't think inviting half the class would be bad manners at all. Your daughter is her own person and can choose her friends, and it shouldn't matter at all which parents you personally know. Children do need to learn that not everyone gets invited to every party, because that's just life!

What kids also need to learn, is to be discreet. It IS rude to bring or pass out invitations at school (definitely do NOT ask the teacher to do so), and it is rude to talk about the party around people who are not invited. This will cause un-necessary drama at school. Even if your daughter is discreet in passing them out, her party and the topic of who is invited and who is not, is almost certain to come to the attention of people in the larger group if the invitations are right there at school, before, during, or after.

I think you should definitely email or mail the invites. Make it your daughter's task to discreetly get addresses or contact information from anyone she wants to invite if you don't have it on a school directory.

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M.J.

answers from Sacramento on

You don't have to invite the whole class. We never did that. Who can afford that many kids at a party?! No, don't feel the pressure to do it. Just friends and family.

Have her gather emails or addresses from her friends, and send the e-vite or invitations that way. She's old enough to ask her friends for the information you need.

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C.C.

answers from New York on

ETA: Does your daughter send Thank You notes for gifts? If she has not done that in the past, she is old enough to do that now. Put out an address book at the party and ask each child to fill in their information.

-----------------

Is she allowed to not invite kids who bully her? Is she allowed to not invite kids who are openly mean to her?

Keep in mind that your daughter might have very good, very understandable, reasons for *not* wanting certain children at her party. Of course it is up to you if you want to cross-examine her about those reasons. But I think this is one area in which you should just trust your daughter, and let it go.

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W.W.

answers from Washington DC on

B.,

No. It's not rude. However, there might be backlash if they talk about the party at school....

She's not friends with everyone in her class, right? She may KNOW them - but does she want them there? If the answer is no? Then invite who SHE wants to invite - it's HER party. You tell her how many you can afford to have there and then plan from there.

If you want to contact the teacher and ask how they handle handing out invitations. Keep in mind? They will probably want you to be PC so no one's feelings get hurt....

Personally? I would just give the invites to my child and ask her to discreetly pass them out to the people she wants in school.

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J.C.

answers from Anchorage on

If she was inviting 20 out of 25 I would worry about hurt feelings, but she is only inviting 12, no need to invite the rest. But don't hand them out at school, in fact most schools have rules against this (or rules saying you can only bring invites to school if you do invite everyone). Have her get the contact information of the kids she does want to invite, or have her hand them out before or after school when they are not in the classroom.

Added: it seems this teacher is okay with handing out the invites to no worries there, but I would consider getting contact info from her friends for the future, next years teacher might not be willing to pass them out for you.

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C.T.

answers from Santa Fe on

No it's not rude! You just don't bring invitations to school and you coach your daughter to not talk about her party at school. I like my kids having small birthday parties. I did a big class party a few times when my kids were really young but then I said no more. Just let her invite the 12 kids she likes best. It's not rude at all. Again, remind her not to talk about it in front of others.

Updated

No it's not rude! You just don't bring invitations to school and you coach your daughter to not talk about her party at school. I like my kids having small birthday parties. I did a big class party a few times when my kids were really young but then I said no more. Just let her invite the 12 kids she likes best. It's not rude at all. Again, remind her not to talk about it in front of others.

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D..

answers from Miami on

Invite who you want. Absolutely make sure that other kids don't see the invitations going into the backpacks, even if you have to do it yourself.

Know that not everyone will come. You may invite 12, but only have 8 come. Be prepared for that. Make sure SHE is prepared for that.

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N.B.

answers from Oklahoma City on

The teacher isn't going to be okay with this and many schools have policies against it. If you involve the school in any way you need to invite the whole class. Half of them won't show up anyway.

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R.K.

answers from Boston on

I wonder if she might rethink those the list. Either she should have their addresses, emails or phone numbers, or they are not very close.

If she really wants them, then she should get their information. This will facilitate thank you notes or emails.

Schools got involved with the whole "ask everyone" when parents started asking teachers to distribute invitations or had their children distribute them at school (this never worked out as discretely as one would hope). Please, do not send any invitations to school.

Added: This post is a great reminder of truly important issues and those we encounter daily. While I was one who discouraged you from involving the school, your response deeply moved me. Stay safe. Know others are praying for all of you.

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S.H.

answers from Santa Barbara on

Yes to inviting 12 (it's not like you are inviting 12 out of 13).

No do not even think about getting the teacher involved in this. It is usually not allowed to bring invitations to school if the whole class or all girls/ all boys are not invited.

Many kids still do this at school and some do it discretely while others doing it is a malicious way. "Hi Bella could you give this invitation to Mary for me since she in in your class?" said the birthday girl who did not invite Bella.

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E.B.

answers from Honolulu on

I'd stick to her handful of best friends. It sounds like with the family and family friends, it will be a great party.

And no, never, no way is it okay to ask the teacher to handle the invitations. Not even if you're inviting the entire class. Never. For one thing, this is not a school function. For another thing, teachers have enough to do without sorting out invites, slipping into backpacks, making sure the kids are told to hand the invites to the parents, etc. You will have no way of knowing whether Johnny understood that he was to hand the invitation to his parent, or whether the parent checked the backpack, opened the invite, etc.

It seems like the perfect solution. If you don't have these additional kids' addresses and phone numbers, and don't know their parents well enough to know how to invite their kids, then stick to the best friends that your daughter knows, whose invitations you can hand deliver or mail because you know their address/parents/phone etc. That's the cut-off point.

Kids who are still young, not even quite tweens, don't realize all the finer points of planning a party. They just think "oooh, she can come and he can come and they can come" and they don't have the maturity to comprehend expenses, RSVPs, plans, reservations, planning for the proper amount of people, food, etc. But by age 10, most can be taught about those often challenging parts of party planning. Don't be afraid to tell your daughter that you have limits (financially, space-wise, time, etc) and tell her that she'll have more fun with fewer people to interact with instead of spreading herself too thin.

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B.A.

answers from Columbus on

At that age, I think it's more than o.k. to discreetly invite only a few friends. I think what is often times overlooked in these discussions is what the responsibility of a birthday child is during a party. Ten year olds are old enough to begin to learn about what it means to be a good host/hostess. And part of being a good host is making sure that all of your guests feel welcome and included.

I've been to a few parties where the entire class was invited, along with the soccer team, every relative, etc. There was 35 kids at one of the parties! I spoke to the parents of the birthday child once during the party. My son spoke to the birthday child twice, because she was busy hanging out with her close friends, and I would expect that. He's young enough that he didn't think anything of it.

But by the age of 10, kids are observant enough to understand that the birthday girl is oblivious to their presence. And that hurts! Nobody likes to feel like they are being ignored or tolerated.

I think it's kinder to everyone involved to discreetly invite only those people that the she's close to and wants to interact with.

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M.G.

answers from Portland on

I never invited the whole class until my youngest was told she had to invite the whole class or all the girls (kindergarten). I didn't mind in that case, because we met all the parents throughout the year dropping her at parties, and she truly liked everyone. In the end, about 8 of the 12 girls came - so it was manageable.

However, this same child asked to have all the girls come again up until 2nd grade. By 2nd grade, it was obvious she wasn't good friends with some of them and I thought - ok why are we doing this. So we stopped. They all had fun, but the dynamic was a bit off because some of the kids were very good pals of my daughter, and some were not. It's like a work party where the ones who hang out - hang out together. I just didn't want that again, so by 3rd grade we said just invite your close buds and gave her a number. This is what we had done with the other kids, and worked best.

She was fine with it and the party was a lot of fun and everyone interacted super well.

I would not invite kids she is not close to or never plays with at school. It is not rude to not include them. Did they invite her to theirs? I doubt it. At 10, most kids select their buds and don't invite the whole class. My kids have not gone to all class party at that age.

As for how you hand out, our kids (and their friends) always handed them out discretely at school at recess or lunch. They knew to not do it in front of other kids. If I have the parent email addresses (sometimes the teachers provided them, but usually only in earlier years) I emailed instead. It's been fine. If my kids have seen invites handed out but they didn't get one, they got over it. It's not been an issue. Some schools have policies on this so check if needs be. That's how my kids friends distribute them also.

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M.D.

answers from Pittsburgh on

You do not have to invite the entire class, but it has to be clear that it's a small percentage of the total. I would say she either invites her 4-5 best friends and that's it OR she invites all the girls but not the boys OR she invites the entire class. Inviting 1/2 of the class (12 of 25) is not right if inviting 12 means that she's inviting all of the girls in the class except 2 (or something like that).

No, she can't take the invitations to school unless she invites the entire class. At our school, the school policy is no invitations at school for any reason so I doubt it is even an option. And if you don't have any contact information for some of these kids, they are not really your daughter's best friends - if they were really best friends, they would go to each other's houses, and you would know the other family's contact info. So, there is an easy way to cut down her list to only her best friends.

Oh, and I have a conversation with my kids before every single birthday - you never ever discuss your party at school. It's very hurtful to talk about a party in front of people who are not invited.

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T.D.

answers from Springfield on

my childs school has a whole class or no class rule. if you invite one while at school you have to invite them all. the only way around this rule is to invite the kids outside of school. and not in nor at the school at all.
my summer bday child kept contact thru facebook with a few school friends and we invite just a few. ( like 3 out of 28) but we do not mention it at all during school, and take care of invites, and thank yous outside of school.

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H.M.

answers from Dallas on

I am kind of surprised that the teacher was willing to do that. It might make a difference that you work there yes. When my son's were in elementary school the years they would pass out the invitations for us said that they would only do it if everyone was invited. Which for us was not a big deal because if they where not friends with them they didn't come. but I understand that you need to keep it to a specific number or close as you are paying per child. I hope she has fun at her party and stay safe!

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C.S.

answers from Youngstown on

I would invite the whole class and ask them to rsvp so everyone is happy.That way no one is offended and the school doesn't get mad at you.The kids that aren't her friends won't show up so no worries.

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M.S.

answers from Washington DC on

Looking at the numbers, I am wondering how many of the girls are left out? With a handful of her best friends and a few others she is friendly with and only a class of 25, it makes me think that there are only a few girls not invited. You know as well as I do that you can be discreet as you want, but the girls not invited will find out, if they haven't already. When my son was little, as much as I wanted to limit his parties, I always invited all the boys--about 12 or 13, because I really wanted to avoid hurt feelings.

Please stay safe!!

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