Birthday parties through your child's infancy were basic: invite fellow friends and their babies to the party. Now, your child is selecting who he wants to invite, what activities he wants to participate in and where he wants to have the party. Parents must also wonder about when to send out a child's birthday party invitation. Few hard rules govern when to send out your invitation. However, persistence after sending out the invitation will help you get an accurate head count from those who did not RSVP.
1. The Right Time
If you send out invitations too late, guests might already be busy; if you send them out too early, guests are more likely to forget Junior's birthday party. Sending out invitations as soon as you know the party details is a good rule of thumb. Invitations should be in the mail more than two weeks before the party, but no sooner then eight weeks before the party. Aim to send out invitations between three to five weeks before the party.
2. Invitation Etiquette
Young children can get upset easily if they feel rejected by their peers. If your child intends to invite only a few friends from her class, call the parents or mail invitations. Passing out invitations at school increases the odds of excluded children learning about the party. If your child intends to invite several children from class, send out invitations to the entire class. Mention whether the party is drop-off: you might find that if you leave this unclear on the invitation, you might be supervising an entire classroom of guests on your own.
3. Getting RSVPs
Sending out invitations for your child's party is only part of the battle. The other part of the battle is in getting RSVPs from parents. Include a time by which to RSVP on your child's invitation as well as two forms of contact, such as a phone number and e-mail address. When the RSVP deadline passes, start calling the parents. Keep your patience, even if you are upset that you did not hear back about the invitation. A simple, "Hi, I was just wondering if you were coming to Jill's party" can help set your birthday guest list in stone.
4. Handling Problems
Some parents might get angry about the time the invitations arrived, the party date chosen, the venue, or any other number of things. Keep your calm and explain your reasoning to those parents. If parents persist in a rude manner, close down communication. If guests arrive with additional, uninvited party-goers, decide ahead of time how you plan to handle the problem: say nothing, or politely explain that you had to keep the guest list small. When it comes to a child's birthday party, keeping to diplomacy can offer a big pay-out.
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