A little boy with blue icing on his face in a blue bow tie, ready for a birthday party


4 Birthday Party Etiquette Tips For Parents

Feb 24, 2017

Your child is invited to a birthday party — yay! Someone is another year older and that is definitely cause for celebration and perhaps a bit of stress. See for me, the issue is more in attending a party than throwing a party. When I throw a party, I'm in control. I know what I'm willing to spend and I'm pretty easy going when it comes to everything else. Gifts, no gifts — there’s no pressure, so it doesn't matter. I just want everyone who attends to have a good time. Birthday party invites, on the other hand, always give me a bit of anxiety. What do you get? How much should you spend? Do you still buy a gift if you don't attend? That is until I came up with birthday etiquette guidelines for myself that I abide by and I believe you will find helpful too!

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What do you get?

This can be tricky. I mean, how well do you know the child whose party your child is attending? At the moment, the possibilities are endless with all the toys available on the market. I personally like to go educational, meaning books or some form of educational gadget, but this is based off of what I like to receive. I don't like toys and I don't like clothes. This is because I have particular preferences, but other parents may have others. So, your best option? Call the parent and ask. Now, if this is someone you know well, you may not have to take this step. But if you don't them well, it may be worth it. The way I see it, you're already spending money on the gifts, so of course you want it to be meaningful.

Now for the question on all of our minds...

How much should you spend?

The general rule is between $20–$25 and honestly, it makes sense. You can barely get anything for less nowadays. But this is definitely not to say you can't buy a gift that costs less or even more. There are a few factors I like to consider in my gift-purchasing process. How well do I know the child? Are they a family friend or even a family member? If so, I'm likely to spend more. Yet, there is also my budget to keep in mind and if I find a good gift on sale for $10, I'm not letting that pass me by, oh no! Maybe at the time of the party, we just won't have the wiggle room to go all out. That being said, it's not a "who got the best gift" contest. Give from the heart, it's the thought that counts!

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Do you still buy a gift if you don't attend?

It's a party, not a wedding (lol), so no. Unless, of course, you want to. Again, using the example of it being a close friend or family member, I may go the extra mile — but it's not a requirement.

Lastly, here is a bonus that we, as parents, often ask ourselves (especially when our children are younger and can't beg us to go):

Does your child have to attend?

Of course they do! ... Just kidding! Actually, it's okay to say no — just remember to respond to that RSVP and let them know your child won't be in attendance. Sometimes you just can't make it and most parents can understand this. After all, it's a birthday party. I think we, as parents, often make it a bigger deal than it is. In the end, the kids end up just fine.

Article Author Daniella Osman
Daniella Osman

Read more from Daniella here.

Daniella Osman, born and raised in Toronto, is your everyday woman. Although she started off studying nursing, she later decided to pursue her dreams of being a TV host. She studied television and broadcasting at Seneca College and now has a YouTube channel, Danie O, which aims to inspire and motivate women to reach their highest potential. When she's not catering to the needs of the virtual world, she takes on her most favourite role which is catering to the needs of her three-year-old little bundle of joy. You can follow her on danieo.com.

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