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Inviting the whole class to a birthday party

(61 Posts)
Peacefulmama Sat 13-Jan-18 13:05:25

AIBU post: Please let me know your thoughts on who you invite to birthday parties.

Our little girl is starting school in September 2018 and her birthday is about 5-6 weeks later in mid-Oct. Aware that this year I would need to hold a weekend party for the first time, I was planning on pre-booking a party venue (or something) and said to my husband that we would have to let the venue know numbers but leave 3 or 4 spaces 'open' in case she makes new friends in school and really wants them at her birthday party.

Husband then said that to avoid leaving anyone out, if we invite a few of her new school mates, we should invite the whole class. He grew up in a big family where the attitude was 'if one kid gets something, they all get that same something' .

I think that's a lovely attitude for family members and established friends but to apply it to a class of 30 five year olds, most of whom your kid has only just met, is bonkers.

I was originally planning a party at a soft play or animal sanctuary with maybe 10 of her cousins and friends. Surely inviting the whole class would be really expensive, also quite stressful to organise such a large gathering, and if my daughter has only bonded with two other kids, I just dont see the point in inviting the other 28 to a special occasion like a birthday party. I'm all up for encouraging bonding and making new friends but this seems a bit much.

Am I being unreasonable? Or am I thinking on the right lines and DH is the weird one. I have no school age kids so I dont know if the protocol for kids parties changes when they go to school?

Would welcome your thoughts xx

Situp Sat 13-Jan-18 13:12:13

Our rule is an equal number of guests to your age. It works really well for us.

My sister does these parties for 30+ kids and it is utter bedlam. Never understood it.

I don't think that so early in the term parents would notice or be offended if their kid wasn't invited though.

lovewatchingrainfall Sat 13-Jan-18 13:17:39

My daughter start primary in September and is her birthday in March and I have sucked up and organised a class party she has also been to 4 other class parties. As it's her first year she is still making friends as such so I thought a class party is easier then next year on wards will be close friends.

ChocolateButton15 Sat 13-Jan-18 13:21:14

It depends on what kind of party she wants. The soft play/animal party wouldn't really work with 30 kids plus cousins. Whole class parties is usually a hire a hall and entertainer situation. I don't think either party is wrong, she will love it either way. We did a whole class party last year because everyone was having them and she wanted one. This year I'm just doing a small party because she's had 2 whole class parties and I can't face it again!

IAmNotThrowingAwayMyShot Sat 13-Jan-18 13:22:49

My DS has a September birthday and we invited the whole Reception class to his party. We did nibbles for the parents and most of them stayed. It was lots of fun and a great way to get to know the other families. We did a separate small thing for family, including cousins. Since then, there have been 3-4 more parties and everyone has invited the whole class. At that age their friendships change so much anyway, and we really wanted to include everyone. We held it at a church hall and hired an entertainer so it didn’t cost a lot per child.

megletthesecond Sat 13-Jan-18 13:26:39

Mine had whole class parties in reception year, both autumn birthdays. It meant I had to hire a hall and entertainer. It's a good way to get to know other parents and kids.

Not too chaotic really, loads of parents stayed so I didn't have to deal with silly behaviour or toilet trips.

The parties get smaller as they get older.

Trashboat Sat 13-Jan-18 13:27:02

First couple of parties were whole class parties before friendships were established. Hired some entertainment which took up an hour. The other hour was food and dancing. Not that hard.

The last party dd had was a cousin, a friend outside of school and 7 others. Total of 10 inc dd and they did laserquest.

catkind Sat 13-Jan-18 13:28:08

Really up to you. They do get quite immersed in school life quite quickly so may want school friends, but which classmates are their "best friend" can vary from day to day. So a lot of people early in reception do do class parties. It's a nice opportunity to meet some of their classmates and parents. But maybe as you say not even that as early as October. I'd be tempted to say nursery friends and family, or just do a family outing and save big parties for the next year. You might not even know the names to invite by the time you want to send out invitations.

SequinsOnEverything Sat 13-Jan-18 13:30:11

Quite a lo of dd1s class had whole class parties in reception, then later years had smaller groups. Mostly these were just in a hall with games, an entertainer or a bouncy castle.

EllenJanethickerknickers Sat 13-Jan-18 13:32:29

Usual MN 'rule' is whole class, all girls (or all boys) close friends only. Never miss out one or 2 children. So if 12 girls in class you can't just invite 10 of them leaving 2 out.

Whole class parties are usually in a hall and it's cheaper per head to invite more. Soft play or activity parties are smaller.

Bazzle Sat 13-Jan-18 13:32:43

DS started school this year and his birthday is next month. I am not doing a whole class party on account that he already has about 15 nursery friends so it would involve inviting 45 which is too crazy and expensive.

My rule is he can invite anyone from his class that he can name - which even after a term is not that many!

KC225 Sat 13-Jan-18 13:34:59

I have always done class parties, its a great time for the kids to meet out of school a nice way to meet some of the other parents. I loved them.

It's just a couple of hours and yes it can be bedlam but it is enormous fun and if can't have a mad party at 5 when can you.

Having said that, its not the law, there is no right or wrong.

Bazzle Sat 13-Jan-18 13:35:32

P.S. I can't believe you are already thinking about this now.I always have a panic I've not sorted anything a couple of weeks before the birthday blushgrin

lalalalyra Sat 13-Jan-18 13:41:39

Whole class parties are expensive if you do them in soft play or whatever. If you go somewhere like the animal park you need to have loads of adults which adds to the cost.

We do whole class parties. Hire the local hall - music, balloons, party games and food (either in a little card lunchbox or plated up to save the waste that comes with a buffet). One more really doesn't matter in that scenario. It's a bit bedlam, and you do need someone who is confident enough to deal with the games, but it's a great laugh I find.

It's also way cheaper than soft play/zoo etc and the kids get so few parties of that style they love it.

Snowysky20009 Sat 13-Jan-18 13:42:04


I said this yesterday on another thread but no one had heard of this.

Snowysky20009 Sat 13-Jan-18 13:46:37

The first class party ds2 went too, the whole class were invited, birthday child was a girl, and only him and 3 other boys turned up!

Luckily there was about 10 family members. But the hall was huge, massive bouncy castle and so much food. I really felt for the parents and little girl.

Situp Mon 15-Jan-18 03:31:26


It was the rule my parents had for us as kids. Mind you, i was one of 6 so having 6 parties a year with 30 kids would probably have broken them!

HateSummer Mon 15-Jan-18 04:06:51

From past experience, no way! 30 kids is utter chaos. We did just boys for ds last year and it was marginally better with 16 kids.

Shanster Mon 15-Jan-18 21:18:35

I invited the whole class to my DS’s party last year, but only 4 kids turned up. The kids who came were actually his friends so he wasn’t upset but I was!! I spent a fortune that I could have avoided and it was a clear and painful sign that my DS struggles socially at school. The worst part was that the week before and after his party there were other whole class birthday parties at the same venue that were attended by the whole class.

Dahlietta Mon 15-Jan-18 21:24:36

Everyone at DS's school has so far done whole year parties (there's only 26 in the year group). He's in Year 1 now and nobody has yet broken away. I'm wondering if I'm brave enough to be the one to do it...!

ShortandAnnoying Mon 15-Jan-18 21:53:46

I agree with sticking to the MN rule someone said above. The important thing is not to leave one or two children from a group out. It sounds like the OP isn't the sort to enjoy organising a big crazy party so I'd stick to the idea of close friends and cousins.

Vinorosso74 Mon 15-Jan-18 22:04:10

You are organised! I found in reception a lot of the parties were inviting the whole class. We have a soft play place in a leisure centre where you pay a flat rate for party hire so was perfect and a good opportunity to meet parents. Summer time was parties in the park (luckily none got rained off).

PanannyPanoo Mon 15-Jan-18 22:09:26

We hire the whole of soft play for the whole class. Then make individual packed lunches and get a mini craft kit or chocolate teddy bear instead of party bag.
I find it far less hassle and less expensive than hiring a hall decorating it and paying for an entertainer etc.

I tend to do whole class parties in key stage 1 and few friends to do something special in ks2. My son was 9 this year. He had 4 friends me, his dad and 2 siblings We went to the cinema then a pizza and it cost the same as 35 of his little sisters friends at soft play for the afternoon!

Allthewaves Mon 15-Jan-18 22:18:26

Best friends daughter had large group of friends from nursery who didn't go to school so friend just did party for those friends and 5 schools friends

I always do a class party in first year if school as it's a bit of an icebreaker but i just hire a hall, bouncy castle, football etc so numbers don't really matter

SheepyFun Mon 15-Jan-18 22:27:32

Assuming you can afford a whole class party (both in terms of money and mental load), what would your daughter prefer? Given that she already knows enough friends/cousins for a party, I don't think you have to invite the whole class.

DD is currently in reception, had her birthday last term. We had 8 friends at home (Bazzle if I simply asked her for who she could name, I'd probably have had at least 40 - there are 60 in reception, two classes, but together a lot of the time; you'll have to hope your son's memory for names isn't better than you think). She's been to about 6 parties, most of which have been at home, and none of which have been whole class. So clearly the 'whole class party' hasn't reached everyone; don't feel you have to go that route.

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