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Would you invite the entire class for your kid's birthday party?

A headteacher has banned pupils from handing out birthday party invitations, unless their entire class is included on the guest list, his point being its unkind to the children who are not included. What do you think of it?

3 years ago

2 experts and 5 parents have answered

Holly Seddon admin
Holly Seddon Editor-in-chief of Quib.ly Kent, UK

I think this is incredibly over-zealous and really rather silly. Our children don't need to be protected from the reality that not everyone they meet in life will be their friend! If children expect to get their own way and glide through every situation, then they will get a very rude awakening as soon as they emerge from these controlled environments.

It is none of the school's business how parents (and let's face it, parties are parents' domain as they pay for the wretched things) conduct their children's birthday parties. Any more than it has anything to do with the school what birthday presents kids are given.

Silly, silly, silly. And very counterproductive.

If I were one of the £20,000 a year fee-paying parents, I would be seriously questioning whether a school this myopic was delivering a full service to my children, or raising them to be very fragile people with huge self-entitlement issues.

4 Reply ( 2 ) Share:
Opinion 3 years ago
expert answer
Magda de Lange expert
Magda de Lange Global Learning Professional ZA
Education expert

I certainly do not agree with the headteacher since a birthday party is a personal event and not a school excursion. BUT - in my experience the practice differ across cultures. In the Arab, Pakistani and Indian worlds for e.g. it would be a huge cultural taboo and a personal slap in the face not to invite the entire class. Imagine the average Arab or Indian wedding - it is a HUGE affair. In a place such as the Middle East, many people resort to hotels and play areas for celebrations as they offer proper events where children are protected from the horrendous heat. Many of the places have a minimum limit of 20-24 children before they will cater. A few will cater for 12-16 children. That means that all of us with children in Primary invited the entire class. As expat parents we were a close knit community anyway - so no harm done. We also knew that some cultures would also bring along siblings so it was nothing funny to cater to 40-60 children for a wee birthday party. It gets easier when the children reach Secondary school age and prefer a quiet movie/dinner etc.

4 Reply ( 1 ) Share:
Experience 3 years ago
Simon Munk writer
Simon Munk Consumer tech journalist, mountain biker, dad of two. Walthamstow

We did invite an entire class to our eldest daughter's reception year birthday. We kind of wanted to do it to ensure she had the maximum possible bonding opportunities - as she was very young for her year. It was a picnic anyway - so it wasn't a massive expense or logistical hassle to do so.

Luckily enough, hardly any of the kids from her class invited turned up - the ones who did were the ones we'd have invited anyway. Afterwards, and having attended another child's party (from another school), where the entire class did attend, we realised we'd had a lucky escape. All it did was ensure that all the kids that the birthday kid didn't like attended as well as the ones they did like! And, after all, as if any group of 30 children and 30+ parents is going to get on well with each other and have the same outlook.

So, perhaps if you go to a school where everyone in the class and their parents are identical, then do it. But for the rest of us, let your kids pick the kids they like hanging out with - that's a good birthday party list.

(And as to the idiotic head mentioned in the question - F for Fail, see me.)

3 Reply Share:
Experience 3 years ago
expert answer
Ellie Hirsch expert
Ellie Hirsch Parenting Coach Tampa, US
Parenting skills expert

My children have the same rule at school. I think for the little ones, it's important to not leave anyone out. While your child may not be friends with everyone in the class, it can be hurtful to find out you weren't included in something. It really protects the kids. It can be difficult though if you are throwing the party at a place with a maximum number of children allowed. There is always the option to mail out invites but without a doubt the other parents will find out and I don't think it's worth risking a relationship with your child's classmates' parents, especially if they will be going to school together for a long time.

2 Reply Share:
Experience 3 years ago
LeeAnn Marie Wilson
LeeAnn Marie Wilson Physics. :>

You could have him invite the kids outside of school, or call their parents if he'd prefer a bit of a smaller party. If he doesn't care or wants a larger one just invite everyone.

1 Reply Share:
Experience 3 years ago
Tania Sullivan writer
Tania Sullivan HomeEd mum of 12, writer, Kent, UK

Definitely! But then again, we home educate so all the classmates are their siblings. It's not something we can really get away from doing ;-)

1 Reply Share:
Experience 3 years ago
Frankie Columbu
Frankie Columbu fitness fan and mother of two London, GB

Oh good God. No, of course I wouldn't invite the whole class to a birthday party. I wouldn't invite everyone I work with to my birthday party, and my kid shouldn't have everyone foisted on them. What about parents on a very low budget? Or where a child has been picked on? Or who want to go somewhere where only a small group can go (30 kids bowling? Er, no). Children will have all sorts of situations in life where it's not 'all in' and if a teacher can't handle sorting out disputes or banning disputes from the classroom, then maybe they're the ones at fault.

0 Reply Share:
Opinion 3 years ago

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