I recently received a question from a parent who threw a birthday party for her seven-year-old daughter at a local pizza parlor. Invitations were sent out to her daughter's classmates, however the day of the party several parents also brought along the siblings. This frustrated mom paid the extra cost for the siblings, but asked how to avoid this situation in the future.
My advice is to write “No siblings please” on the invitations. Should siblings still show up, speak with the parent away from the group and the children, and let her know that you have purchased food, game tokens, tickets, etc., just for the party members. If the facility is opened to the public, suggest they make their own arrangements to pay admission, if applicable, and other dining choices as the party room is for RSVP guests only.
Below are a few additional suggestions regarding children’s parties:
Keep the guest list to a reasonable number. My general recommendation is one guest for each year of your child’s age plus one.
Don’t distribute invitations at school unless everyone gets one. Prevent hurt feelings by mailing invitations or call parents instead.
The time of your party should also be determined by whether or not you will be serving a meal (not including cake and ice cream). If you're not, morning parties should end by 11:30 am, afternoon parties should begin about 1 pm, and early evening parties should end around 5:30 pm. Nothing could distract a partygoer more than a growling tummy!
Have plenty of adult help on hand.
Make sure your child greets each guest. They should also be available to say “good-bye”.
Follow up with hand written thank you notes. As a part of good manners, be sure to have your child send out thank you notes 1-2 weeks after the party.