I love when my daughter brings home birthday invitations that include an email address I can RSVP to. I feel like I won the lottery when I’m able to avoid that potentially-awkward telephone conversation. Not to mention, email allows for a lot of questions to be answered and stored (for later) in writing.
If I don’t know the parents, I’m always certain to get as much information as I can, stuff that might have been left off the invitation, like, how old the birthday child is turning, and what he/she might like to receive as a present. I also email the parent my contact info, should they need it before the party (say, if the time has to change or the party gets cancelled), or during the party (say, if my child gets sick, or hurt and needs me).
When my kids hand out party invites (always after school, unless everyone in the class is being invited), I try to answer every question a parent might have in the invitation, such as whether they should feed their child lunch before the party, and whether the parents are welcome to stay.
Why? Because in my 20+ years of parenting, I’ve been surprised by parents who walk right in and make themselves at home, instead of just dropping their child off at the door!
If you haven’t made enough food, or weren’t mentally-prepared to entertain an adult stranger for a few of your most harried hours of life, this can prove disconcerting (again – speaking from experience, here!)… so after that, in the “Time” area of the invitation, I would spell out my intentions, like so: Drop-off 1:30pm (after lunch), Pick-up 4:30pm. That way, it’s very clear that parents are not invited. It’s also clear that we won’t be serving a meal, likely just snacks and cake. I might even say “wear comfy clothes, we’re going to the park” or something, so no one is caught off-guard.
I’ll leave you with this one last thought: penmanship matters. I’ll never forget the time I drove my daughter to a birthday party at 6:35pm, only to find out it had started at 1:35pm…
Shaking my head.
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