Phew, I have to vent! When we had our youngest daughter’s party we only invited 5 kids. Most of the parents arrived within 15 minutes of the start time – except one. She arrived an hour late…

Not only did she arrive an hour late, she neglected to RSVP for her 2-year-old and a nanny!

When something like that happens once, you kind of understand, because with kids anything can happen.

Then, not even a month later we happen to all be invited to another party. The party had a scheduled start and end time on the invite. This woman once again arrived late. She arrived 15 minutes before the end of the party, brought the nanny and 2-year-old again. She didn’t waste time to get her kids on the slip-n-slide while the rest of us were busy packing up.

Ok, so that is twice…

Then we all got invited to a third party (all in a span of 5 weeks) and she arrives the last half an hour at a venue where you have to be out of that party area based on your booking – and that’s not even the worst part. She sent the nanny off to take the kids to the activity area and she grabbed a takeaway box and packed it to the brim. When the nanny got back, she instructed the nanny to pack a second takeaway box. Then she sat down and directly ate from the platter while there were plates right next to it. She even dipped a finger snack she had already bitten into, in the sauce!

I was mortified!

I will never invite her daughter to another party because of her mother’s tardiness and bad manners. You better believe that I am judging her because she doesn’t have the excuse of she has to do everything herself, or that she had a work emergency, or that she can’t afford to buy takeaways based on the cars they drive and a full-time nanny that goes everywhere and her not working… her behavior is just not OK.

Kids Party Etiquette for Parents

  • If your child has an older/younger sibling, ask the parents if it is OK to bring the child with when you RSVP as they have to cater for an extra child and pack a party pack. Never bring an additional guest unannounced
  • Take a gift on the day. Most parents don’t expect you to spend hundreds on a gift, they just want to spoil their kid with a party where all their closest friends are
  • When you walk into the venue, greet the hosting parents and thank them for inviting you
  • Find the birthday boy/girl and wish them a happy birthday and let your child hand over the birthday gift
  • Arrive within a few minutes of the starting time and be mindful of the end time as shown on the invite as the venue may only have been booked for a specific timeslot
  • If there is an open “bar” for drinks, be mindful of not going wild and ordering just because it is free
  • Never pack a takeaway unless the hosts explicitly offers you a takeaway
  • Don’t eat directly from a communal platter, pack some snacks into the provided plates or a napkin draped in your hand
  • Never dip a handheld snack into a communal dipping sauce – especially if there is a tea spoon to let you scoop some out onto your plate
  • If there are toothpicks or forks or thongs to use with the food, please do use it!
  • When you are ready to leave, thank the parents for a great party and compliment them on the choice of venue, the cake or something
  • Offer to help clean up

When your kid gets invited to a party, you (as a parent) are one of the background characters. Your job is to get them to the party on time with a gift in hand, take them to the bathroom, chat to the other parents so the hosts have time to take photos with their kid and make sure you are ready to leave at the designated time.


Susann is a travel, parenting, beauty and lifestyle blogger in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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