Children’s Party Etiquette

May is here and apart from the recurrent birthday parties for children, Holy Communion activities in every parish around the island take over the calendar. Celebrating our children’s milestones with a party is the norm for many and all the delight that comes with this causes many a parent to get carried away – building up more excitement than the children themselves.

Instead of focusing only on the fancy balloons and most original party bags, here are some tips to make you leave a lasting impression and avoid having guests awkwardly communicating between them with that eye brow lift or longer-than-usual eye contact when they spot the faux pas. But the tips we’re sharing here are not restricted to hosts, as a guest you are also expected to behave appropriately, so let’s start …

As a host

1. When sending out the invitations, give your guests three weeks notice so they can plan accordingly and block the day.

2. Make sure to include the R.S.V.P. on the invitation so you can have an idea of how many will turn up. If someone calls to say they cannot make it, do not push too much for them to come.

3. Speak with your child on how to welcome guests, open presents and to say thank you even when a present is not to their liking.

4. Make sure that you know what is going on, you are taking the lead and that your guests are having a lovely time.

5. See that food and drink is well distributed among your guests.

6. Remember children enjoy having a good time with their friends. With this in mind, keep things simple and the party will be a success.

As a guest

1. It is rather disrespectful to inform the host that you will be making it to the party on the day or day before. Advise your attendance as soon as possible. At this point it’s good to add that asking to bring an uninvited guest along is not acceptable – I repeat, not acceptable.

2. Explain to children that they need to take their turns during games, whether it’s hitting the piñata or just volunteering to help the magician with his act. The party girl or boy gets the most turns.

3. Choose an appropriate gift. Depending on the relation to the child, the amount you spend will vary however never go overboard. If you are stuck, you can always ask the parents for a few ideas. Did you hear about the recently launched app that takes away the anxiety out of shopping for gifts? If you ask, this may really be a time saver for you. Check it out here

4. Whether a party is being held at home or a different location, arrive on time or slightly later. Never early. Etiquette and manners come to play where food and drink are on the table. What better time to show your children the correct way to handle finger food?

5. Before leaving, a thank you to the child and parent is a must. Never leave the party without it.

Last but not least, enjoy the party whether you’re a host, a guest or a parent waiting with your child and indulge.

Ramona Galea

Ramona is an International Etiquette Coach and an avid believer of the importance these soft skills have nowadays. This passion kicked off from a young age when she questioned why elbows couldn’t stay on the table and her inquisitiveness continued and she founded First Class Etiquette, to address the developing need for people’s understanding of the importance of international business and social etiquette. It really is not just about elbows but confidence, attitude, assertiveness and knowing the how, the when and the why we do things. Amongst her hectic schedule, her two biggest indulgences are travelling with her family and reading with an Aperol Spritz in quiet surroundings - just being away from it all to de-stress.

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