Who to Invite to Daughter's Birthday Party

Updated on June 26, 2017
N.Z. asks from Los Angeles, CA
14 answers

My daughter is currently in preschool with about 14 other kids. Her last day in preschool is next week (she's starting TK in September). Beginning in July, she'll be in a summer program run by her elementary school. A handful of the kids from her preschool will be in the program with her. The other kids will be going to different schools. Her birthday party will be in mid-July.

My question is whether we should invite all 14 kids from her preschool OR invite just the kids who will be in the summer program with her. She personally does not care for the other kids much. If she had another year of preschool, I would definitely invite all 14 kids, but since preschool will be over and everyone's going their separate ways, I'm wondering if it's okay not to invite the other kids who aren't going to be in the summer program with her.

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So What Happened?

Military Mom - you must have me confused with someone else who really struggle with these types of issues as I did not host a party for my daughter last year -- we went on a family trip instead. I did post some questions back in 2015 about birthday parties, but it had nothing to do with who to invite and it was before you were on Mamapedia.

Also to clarify, this is for her 5th birthday.

Featured Answers



answers from Portland on

Keep it simple, invite the kids who will be moving on with her. Life is life: not everyone is invited to everybody else's birthday party. And yes, do it discreetly.

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from Wausau on

"She personally does not care for the other kids much."

None of them? Then don't invite any of them. Keep the party invite list to relatives, and maybe your adult friends with kids that she enjoys spending time with.

If you meant she doesn't care for just some of the kids but does like others, then just invite her actual friends. Do not hand out invites at the preschool. Ask for contact info then mail, call, or email.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I'd ask her who she wants to invite; it doesn't have to be all the kids in her class or summer program, just the ones she likes/plays/hangs around with more.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

I would just ask her who she would like to invite and leave it at that. I have always asked my son who he wants to have at his parties. He lets me know who he wants to invite and always has fun with his friends.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I kind of remember you going through this last year with who to invite to your daughter's b'day party and who not to invite. Is the issue really with your daughter (who is probably only 4?) or you? You seems to really struggle with these types of situations. I don't really know how a not even 4 year old can "not really care for the other kids" . . .

Invite whom you wish. Do it in a way that doesn't offend other people or make them feel left out on purpose (like handing an invitation to one child in front of another child). Kind of common sense.

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

We usually only invited close friends to birthday parties, so basically the kids they played with outside of school. That way we kept parties to a reasonable number. Stick to the kids who she has playdates with and whose parties she has attended.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

In this instance I'd invite whomever I wanted to invite.

School is not in session in Oklahoma so parents who have kids with summer birthdays only invite who their kids want.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

If it were me, and she wasn't fond of the kids not going into the summer program - I'd just invite the ones going into the summer program (pass out invites discretely). The thing with summer birthdays is - chances are some kids will be away on vacation. So it will likely be a manageable size.

If she just wants to ask the kids she likes - that's fine too. Some schools/centers have policies on if you can hand out invitations at school - so I'd just check on that first. We had a teacher that had you invite all the girls for example (or whole class) if doing invites at school. This was in kindergarten. I was fine with that because we met kids and parents that year and we had a simple, easy party. It was manageable.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

The two times I invited the entire class I did so because I wanted to avoid kids having their feelings hurt by being excluded. Our preschool, as well as our elementary school, have a rule that if you're going to pass out invitations at school, the entire class has to be invited. I was o.k. with that.

But since they won't see each other after next week, I don't think it really matters if you invite the entire class. I'd invite just those people that are going to be in the summer program with her.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Really, at this young age, and in the middle of summer, I'd keep it quite simple. In pre-school, kids haven't developed real friendships like they will when they're older, and kids this young don't comprehend what goes into planning a party (sending invitations, expecting RSVPs, planning the theme, getting the cake, etc). I'm guessing that many of your daughter's classmates will be on vacation or busy with summer plans.

Instead, I'd tell your daughter that you're going to do something really special on her birthday (whatever she likes, such as going to a theme park or fun restaurant or doing whatever activity she enjoys) and that since it's her birthday she can bring a friend along, and she gets to choose where to eat. Make plans with the friend's parent about the time/day, etc, and make sure they know it's a birthday outing. Inform the friend's parent about finances (will you be treating for everything, should the friend have spending money, will you buy souvenirs, etc). Just keep it simple and let your daughter choose one (maybe two) friends to celebrate with.

Save the big parties for a little later.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

I think inviting just the kids who will be going into the summer program with her is fine.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I agree with just asking your daughter who she wants to invite. You mentioned there are kids she does not care for much. I would let her make the list. It's perfectly OK to keep it small with just her closest buddies, whoever her best friends are right now. It doesn't matter who is going in what direction for school, kids friendships are still going to be fluid. I think there's too much feeling obligated to "invite the whole class" these days. Great for some people who choose to, but it doesn't mean everyone has to host a large party. Of course you wouldn't invite a whole group and exclude just one or two, but if you keep it small, then no worries.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Of course it's okay not to invite the whole class. It would have been okay not to invite them all during the year, although some parents are afraid to have their kids make these choices. But if she's not seeing them now, skip it. For the same reason, though, I wouldn't invite the entire summer program enrollment! It gets out of hand! These are kids who don't all know her, right? They'll just be meeting her in July, and within a week or so, you're having a birthday party? Personally, if I were a parent of a child who just met your child, I would think it was odd to get an invitation.

She's going to be - what? - 5? We followed the "year rule" and you got to invite 5 kids on your 5th birthday, 6 on your 6th, etc. Pick 5 kids and be done with it. Not everyone gets to go to everything and it just sets up a nightmare pattern/precedent for later on. What's your plan for TK - to invite all 25 kids to her next birthday, even the ones she doesn't like? When my son was in preschool and elementary school, I dreaded 25 invitations a year - the scheduling, the gift buying for kids he didn't know, the chaos of huge parties, never getting a thank you note because kids didn't want to write 25 of them and parents didn't want to insist on it! And he hated the parties too. So did most of the kids.

Teach her to evaluate which kids she actually enjoys, and to make choices. It's okay for some kids to be "disappointed" now and then and to learn to deal with it. If she finds out that someone had a party and she wasn't invited, you can help her to realize that she's probably not a close friend of that child or that the family couldn't (or wouldn't) host the universe. I think you'll all be happier as the years go on and the parties start to drive you crazy.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Just invite the kids that she likes. Now that school is over and she's not going back, you don't need to invite the whole class. Invite the ones in her summer program and any other kids she likes (from school or elsewhere) and don't invite the ones she doesn't care for or the ones you don't think you won't really ever see anymore.

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