One dilemma that many moms face when planning their child's birthday party is whether or not to invite their guests' siblings. With older children, this isn't as much of a problem, mainly because they have drop-off parties. With younger children, however, the parents are usually invited to attend with their child. Not only do younger children require more help and attention in a group setting, but they may also be nervous about staying at a party without a parent in attendance. This can cause a problem if the invited child has siblings - how does the parent attend the party with their child without bringing the siblings along? If the party is on a weekend, then the other parent may be available to watch the siblings. But sometimes childcare isn't the problem - sometimes the birthday boy or girl is friends with ALL the children in another family, and wants to invite ALL of them to his or her party. This can quickly cause the number of guests to rise beyond a level that is comfortable for the host! Not only that, but the varying ages of the children can make it challenging to plan games and activities that are appropriate for everyone. Some people don't mind having huge parties with tons of children that are all different ages (I've been to several parties like that!), but others would prefer to keep things small and simple without offending anyone.
So how to resolve this dilemma? When planning your child's party, think about how many guests you'd like to have, and what kinds of activities you'd like to do. Then invite your guests accordingly. For example, if you're throwing a small party for a 2-year-old and you're planning to blow bubbles and play with a parachute, then just invite your child's 2- and 3-year-old friends. Don't fret about leaving the older brother or the baby sister off the guest list. Most people will understand if you decide not to invite siblings. However, if you choose not to include siblings, it is a considerate gesture to plan the party for a day and time when the other parent is available to stay home with them. Another idea is to just choose one or two families that you are really close with, and invite all the family members, regardless of the children's ages. You may have to offer alternate activities and favors to accommodate kids of different ages, but this could be a great solution. No matter what you decide, your birthday child will feel special and everyone will have fun!