My daughter, Marin, is turning 6 this weekend. I’m loving each new stage she enters, and it’s so fun watching her grow up.
However, one stage I’m not sure of my feelings on is the birthday party stage.
Marin has been invited to several kid birthday parties in the past year at indoor bounce houses, painting studios, bowling alleys, homes and kids gyms. She’s had a blast at every one of them.
After having been to enough parties, though, I’ve got a big question: At what point does she not need to invite the whole class to her birthday party?
About a month ago, Marin and I started discussing plans for her own birthday party. We talked about who she wanted to invite and where she wanted to have it.
She settled on a dress-up place where you put on a fashion show and make a craft. But then came who to invite?
She decided — because of the nature of the party — to only invite girls, which was fine by me. Her school class has eight girls in it, plus she has a few neighborhood friends and friends in other classes she wanted to invite. Easy peasy.
Or so I thought.
Come to find out, she didn’t want to invite all eight girls from her class. Instead, she wanted to invite all but two of them. What is a parent to do? First, I decided to try and figure out why she didn’t want to include these other girls. I felt like I needed to ensure there wasn’t an issue between my daughter and these girls that needed to be addressed. After all, I wasn’t going to force Marin to invite someone that wasn’t kind to her or made her feel uncomfortable in any way.
The reason ended up being she was concerned she might feel "left out" at her own party if she invited these girls. Since these girls are very close with a few other girls in her class, she was essentially afraid of a “click” forming. How does this even happen for a 6-year-old? Sigh.
To resolve the issue, we talked some more about the party — specifically about the activities that would take place and how I would help ensure no one was left out.
Ultimately she happily agreed to invite all of the girls in her class.
I don’t really have a great answer to my question. I’ve simply decided each scenario is different.
If Marin had 30 kids in her class instead of 16, it simply wouldn’t be possible for her to invite everyone — or even all of the girls — and the problem would have solved itself.
But for the time being — with her school having such small class sizes — I’ve decided to take a cue from other parents and encourage my daughter to invite everyone.
I’m hoping by the time the kids are in third or fourth grade, their close friends will become obvious and we won’t feel the need to include everyone if she doesn’t want to.
Perhaps I'll try to steer her towards a small sleepover or a family weekend away next year instead of a large party.