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hen children enter school their circle of friends expands. This means that when their next birthday arrives, there may be requests to invite the entire class to the party. Parents facing the prospect of 20 or more children may wonder what to do in this instance. Parents and children have no doubt heard the tales of extravagant parties. Reality shows follow families who throw sweet 16 parties that rival weddings or those who spend thousands on their kids’ party regardless of the child’s age. The average family may feel torn over what to do to celebrate important milestones. Smaller parties are typically best for younger kids.However, some parents fret over which classmates to invite and which to leave off the guest list. But there are ways around this di-

lemma.  Check with the school before making any concrete plans to see if they have any policies regarding parties. Knowing the regulations can make the process easier.  Think about having a class party and a separate party for the family and close friends. Many schools will allow parents to bring in snacks so that the class can celebrate. If this is likely to disrupt the class, consult the teacher to find out if lunch can be donated to the class or supplies in honor of the birthday child.  If only select students from the class are on the guest list, mail invitations home or personally deliver them to the parents. Offer an explanation as to why all kids in the class cannot be invited. Budget and available space are often the culprit.  If the entire class is invited, include a note about gifts on the invitation. Suggest a book exchange so that the birthday child is not left with 30 gifts.With a book exchange, each child brings a wrapped book, including the birthday

girl or boy. Then the kids swap and each take home a present. Another idea is to let parents know that gifts will be donated to charity.  When inviting the entire class, keep in mind not everyone will be able to attend. Perhaps 30 to 50 percent of the class may show up. Plan accordingly using these numbers.  Use the space and the locale to determine the guest list. If the child wants to have the party at a spa or a craft store that limits the guest list, this will make it easier to enforce a smaller guest list.  Look at locations that can accommodate a big crowd if you cannot pare down the list. Parks, pools, restaurants and party places can often fit a crowd. You’ll find plenty to choose from in this section. Confusion typically reigns when navigating the etiquette of having a birthday party for school children. While there are no hard-fast rules, common sense and personal preference can rule the day when planning the party. (MS)

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Profile for Suburban Family Magazine

Suburban Family ~ March + April 2015  

2015 Annual Race Guide, Summer Camps, Springtime Fun, Chicago Events, Dining Guide

Suburban Family ~ March + April 2015  

2015 Annual Race Guide, Summer Camps, Springtime Fun, Chicago Events, Dining Guide