Should Everyone Be Included

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

I am treading in new water with McKinley being in Kindergarten. Or should I say, with McKinley being involved in school and outside activities. McKinley's birthday is coming up, April will be here before you know it, and we're in the early planning stages of the big day. But here's the issue, how many kids should be invited to the party? A handful of friends or everyone in the class? And that has me asking the question, should everyone be included?

When did we become this society? When I was growing up, you had a birthday party and you invited your friends. Not everyone, just your friends. And it wasn't every girl in the class. It was girls from both classes and it was maybe a handful. And some outside friends. I think my largest birthday party was 10 girls and that was a lot. And it was held at home. Where most birthday's were held. However, one year we did head out to Putt-Putt which was a lot of fun. But most always my parties were at home.

And at home parties can be fun. You have a theme, you play games, and sometimes a sleepover. You have Miss Piggy deliver a ballon-a-gram. You have someone come and do face paintings. You have a magician. You have a talent contest. Everyone comes dressed from the 50s. You have fun and you don't worry about whether or not you hurt someone's feelings. You weren't friends with them to begin with so why would they want to come to your party anyway? But not today! Today, you have to invite everyone because you don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. You don't anyone to feel left out. And you're stressed out as a parent because you don't know what to do with a possible 18 kids and their parents for a couple of hours. Is the stress really worth it?

I chatted with a friend about this not too long ago. She has a daughter turning six in February and is currently planning her party. When I asked how many she was thinking of inviting, she said she wasn't quite sure. I mentioned that our last birthday party had the entire class invited and she was shocked. She agreed that seemed unrealistic to ask of every parent throwing a party. A friend of hers allowed her child to invite the number of kids of the age she was turning. Six friends were invited. That seems realistic. 

On the way to school today, McKinley and I talked briefly about his party. I told him we needed to chat and he said, "about the theme?" I said no, about the guest list. I told him that I didn't think we were going to invite the whole class, but maybe just a few of the friends he spends the most time with during the day. Plus, he wants to include some of his friends from Preschool and I'm totally okay with that. I love that he still thinks of them even though they haven't seen each other since August. We have reached a manageable number of 10. A good round number with a mix of boys and girls. I feel good about it. But where to have it is the next question. I'm not opposed to an at home party, but April is tricky. And early April is even dicier. We've been lucky that the last several years have been warm enough to spend time outdoors. I'm not sure if we will be so lucky again this year. What to do with 11 Kindergartner's, in a house that's not so spacious, is the question. But we have a few other ideas up our sleeve and will look into those soon.

So what are you doing in your neck of the woods? Do you put a cap on the amount of kids your child can invite or do you include the whole class? Do you even have birthday parties that aren't family only? I would love to hear your thoughts!


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