Siblings at Birthday Parties - Orlando,FL

Updated on February 16, 2008
L.P. asks from Orlando, FL
7 answers

My daughter is turning 6 and we are having her birthday party at Michaels. At other past parties we went to I noticed that siblings stayed at the birthday parties and sometimes participated. However, with Michaels they need an exact number of kids so they get out the right amount of supplies and can plan accordingly. Also although not expensive it is not cheap either. So to try to avoid having more than I planned I put a note in the invitation to please RSVP because I need an exact number.

Well I had one mom call me this evening and told me that she had to bring along a 4-year old sibling and could she participate. I told her that the project is age-specific (she is turning 6) so I didn't know how she would do...She told me that the sibling does everything her older sister does so she'll be okay. She also offered to pay for her. There are two things that are bothering me and I don't know how to handle them - 1) she told me that her husband was babysitting the other child - a 1-year old boy - why couldn't he just watch both kids and 2) I feel bad making her pay but I also don't want 5 people showing up with siblings and then I have to pay for all of them - increasing my spending to something I didn't want to spend.

I feel bad that this little girl seems to have to have her younger sister at everything and I also just feel bad that I don't know how to best handle the situation. I want my daughter to be able to celebrate with her friends not with her friends siblings. Any caring advice would be greatly appreciated.


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answers from Los Angeles on

I say no to siblings. This party is not for them, this is a celebration of a child and his/her friends. Not the younger siblings. Just because the 4 year old CAN do what the 6 year old is doing, doens't mean she should.

I have a 12 and an 8 year old. They DO NOT even attend each others parties unless they are specifially invited by their sister. If I am dropping one off at a party and the parent says "oh she can stay too" I say "no thank you, this is about ______ and her friends, not the sister. But thanks for the offer"

It is my personal choice. But I have stuck to it and you know what, the parents that come to my girls parties know that siblings are not invited and they don't even ask.

Parties are crazily expensive. Even to "pay" for the other child at for the craft is silly. What the kids isn't going ot eat any cake? or drink anything? and what about the treat bags, now you have to make another one of those too! (Which by the way, I NEVER do) And truthfully, if one is bringing their sibling, how many others will want to as well.

I say no to siblings. Hey, if you want, if you want to tell the mom know, just blame it on me...LOL!


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Orlando on


My son is not old enough for this sort of issue yet, but I have seen my mother handle situations like this in the past. One time my little brother's friend showed up for a day of play with his younger brother tagging along. My mom ran out to the driveway to catch my brother's friend's mother before she left. She told the mother that she had a day planned for the older boys and that she was not going to entertain the younger one. She apologized to the little boy, but explained that it wasn't personal; she just wasn't prepared for him to stay.

I thought this was a little harsh and asked my mom why she did it. She told me that my brother's friend is always stuck with his little brother and never gets a moment to himself. She didn't think it was fair for my brother or his friend to have a tag-along all day. My brother's friend felt bad for his brother, but by the end of the day he thanked my mom for sending him away. He really enjoyed his day. I think my mom did what was best for my brother and his friend, but I'm not sure if I would have the guts to do that.

In another instance, my aunt recently had a birthday party for her son who was turning six. She asked for parents to RSVP and specified that siblings were welcome, she just needed to know how many to expect. Most of them did RSVP but some just showed up...with multiple siblings! Fortunately, she was prepared for the extras. To me that is just rude, but my aunt says she has seen it happen a lot at other parties which her son attended. So don't be surprised if this happens.

I think since you already asked for the invitees to RSVP, the little sister should be allowed to come. I wouldn't feel bad about asking her to pay; she's probably used to it if the little sister always tags along. Perhaps next time you could specify that siblings are not invited. There must be a polite way of putting it on the invite. But, like I said, I don't really have any experience here. I'll definitely be checking back to see what the other moms say!

Good luck!

-T. Q



answers from Orlando on

I think you handled it well. I have been fortunate I guess having 3 kids that the siblings we knew so it wasn't any big deal for the younger ones to come. I think that's why they brought them because our son or daughter was used to them being around and it just seemed natural.
My kids are 7 years apart so I never took the younger one with the older ones.
I know it can get a little expensive, but like one lady said sometime others that you have counted on don't show up so it all pans out in the end. That's what you'll just have to hope for, things always have a way of working themselves out.
For my youngest son's 5th birthday in January we drove back to Ft. Myers to have his birthday party so that all of his friends he's grown up with could come to his party, that was an expense. Then we had a bowling party which I thought wouldn't be too bad. Turned out that we had almost 30 people there, kids, siblings, parents. So our 2 hour party ended up being 4 hours and we had half of the bowling alley rented out when it was all said and done. I didn't like paying that bill, but it was a good time and I wouldn't have traded it for the world.
Have a good time and enjoy yourselves, it'll all work out.
When their young like this everything seems to be a touchy subject. I know how you feel, don't worry you are doing a great job.



answers from Orlando on

If I had not experienced it, I wouldn't understand it either.

First let me tell you what is worse than uninvited siblings. My daughter turned 6 years old, and we invited the entire kindergarten class since we were new to the area. Ten children rsvp'd.

That Saturday, only 5 of those children showed up at IPEZ. The moms brought siblings. Since I paid for 10 kids, I thought -- great, at least it wasn't wasteful.

The parents who rsvp & then don't show up irk me more than those who bring siblings. Then there are those parents who don't even rsvp.

Every time my now 7 yr. old is invited to a party, I'm in a quandry. I have a 5 yr. old daughter & they are very is in kindergarten/one in first grade. But I was like you - no they need to understand -- separate friends -- separate parties.

However, each time I took one to a party & talked to the host -- every single mom says -- why didn't you ask? it would have been fine to bring along your other daughter.

At home, I've left a sad little girl whose father is babysitting our 3 year old, and the hostess said it was absolutely fine.

Any parent would GLADLY pay for the other sibling. The emotional ramifications are worth it -- 10 bucks -- even 20 -- getting off easy compared to the moping, crying & jealousy it all creates.

Of course, my friend had a party at the Monkey Joe's in Apopka & invited the entire preschool class & then said, bring all your siblings. Well, some moms even brought neighbor kids. That was a little bit out of control. I think she ended up with 10 kids from the actual preschool class and 25 kids siblings & such -- maybe more.

Basically, it is a sticky situation all around. Normally, I had a rule, I would NEVER ask to bring any sibling to a birthday party.

Then, just recently, a NEW mommy friend was having a house party for her 2 yr. old & talking about the family & friends going. WEll, I asked if my husband & other children should come too? I wasn't sure the exact invitation; i mean, it was a house party (i always thought the more, the merrier at house parties).

I thought I was receiving some strange vibes about asking. What is the exact protocal? I'm glad I did ask because everyone had their spouse & children. I was a new friend, but what a fun day everyone had. She had a bouncy castle & a huge backyard play area. My new friend said she was new about all this sibling party stuff -- and she thought my 7 & 6 year old would be bored or not fit in (the birthday party was for her 2 year old son).

Essentially, now my new rule is that if I am giving a party, and the mom asks to bring along a sibling and offers to pay, I say "sure" (if it is at a special place).

If it is a house party, I say the more the merrier.

My sister-in-law doesn't have much help with my brother watching the kids. So she always WANTS to pay to bring along her other two sons -- or else her son cannot attend the party. It is difficult enough to find a babysitter for doctor's appts. -- let alone a babysitter for a birthday party.

Money doesn't grow on trees. If a parent asks to bring along another sibling & you mention they charge per head, and they offer to pay for the siblings -- then don't think twice about it.

Honestly, I still cringe when I receive an invitation for just one of my children -- but especially my girls who are so close in age. Your children are far apart in age & mine are close together (7,5,3). With my youngest, it is easier -- I tell the girls it is a baby party, so they aren't interested. But with my girls, just one grade apart, now I call & offer to pay if it is at some place.

If you haven't experienced it, you wouldn't understand really. It isn't about spoiling the kids -- but to a kid, a party is magical & everyone wants to have fun. When they are close in age, it is very, very difficult -- and really not worth the hassle to take one & not the other -- just go & do a family day than have the conflict.

It is like explaining to a childless couple who are having a big barbecue bash where they are having family member's children, but your kids -- you have to get a babysitter. It doesn't make sense when it is your own, so you just don't go.

Hope I shed some light. It is an awkward situation all the way around.
P.S. if you can imagine i have anything to add to my book here. it is just a short time frame that kids (and moms) will go through this. eventually as they become a little older, they do find their own is just at this tough age of preschool & young elementary school.



answers from Orlando on

Here's my experience: My older son was invited to a party and I called the parent to RSVP for my older son, but asked if my younger son could come too. The mother told me that she "preferred that I not bring the younger one" (her exactly words).

As the recipient of the denial, I was fine with that answer. I felt that it was a case of just asking, you never know -- they might say yes. It certainly would be more convenient for me to be able to take both children, but was prepared to be turned down as well. I didn't ask if I could pay for the younger one, but if the circumstances were different, I might have.

Personally, I don't think you should feel bad, the mom probably asked knowing there was a chance the answer would be "no", so it should not be a shock to her. As far as taking money if it is offered, I also don't think you should feel bad about that. Anyone who's had to plan a kid's party probably knows that these things can be expensive and wouldn't want the cost to be a burden on someone else just to accomodate me and the sibling.

I think you handled the situation well. Hope this makes you feel better.



answers from Orlando on

I agree it's a touchy situation... I have been through a zillion parties (my own kids' plus attending those my kids have been invited to) and I have always tiptoed around the sibling thing. I have seen people show up assuming they can bring the siblings and I think it's rude... but it's a bigger deal if it's a pay-per-person thing than if it's just a bunch of kids at a park... I never bring the other children unless they have been specifically invited (I ask if there is a gray area) and a few times I have had people tell me I should have brought them along...

It's easy to say what I think I "would do" in the situation because I'm not the one actually having to do it... but speaking off the top of my head, I think what I probably would do is tell the mom that there is a limited space available and you were not expecting anyone to bring their siblings-- I would further say that others had asked if they could bring siblings and since the space is limited that you have been telling them all "no" so it's really not fair if this sister comes along. I don't know the specifics of how close your daughter is with this girl, but it sounds like you aren't that close of friends with the mom, so I really do think that's how I would handle it. If she does end up coming for whatever reason, do NOT hestitate for a second to accept the payment from the mom when she offers. I'm assuming your 6 year old is in kindergarten, and maybe her friend's mom is just still a newbie at the whole birthday party scene, but pretty soon she will start getting invited to sleep over parties and other types of parties where her sister is just not going to be able to tag along. You're right about the dad thing-- I would feel bad if the 4 year old had no where else to go, but she can stay home with the dad.



answers from Orlando on

Siblings have always been welcome at my sons parties. We figure we're asking a family to commit the time to celebrate our child's birth. It's a small sacrifice, especially since she's offered to pay which will probably make her feel better so let her.

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