What is the correct birthday party etiquette when you have more than one child?

Eliza Birthday


That was one busy weekend.

Three birthday parties to attend, although thankfully one for each child and not all at the same time, otherwise that would have caused more problems.

You would think that having six children I would have got this whole birthday party etiquette down to a tee by now:

  • RSVP sent – √
  • Bought present – √
  • Wrapped present – √
  • Written card – √
  • Fancy dress sorted (if applicable) – √

My problem is what to do with my ‘extra’ children.

It is no problem if my husband or teen are at home as they can look after the children not invited, but both work weekends. This means I have to take all three with me.

Isaac is not a problem, at almost 9 he is perfectly fine to be dropped off at the beginning and collected at the end of the party. Eliza (6) is a bit hit and miss – sometimes she is happy to be left but other times she wants me to stay.

Isaac 6

Then there is Sebby (3). Now he is at Nursery he has started to get invited to parties and is too little to be left so I have to stay. The trouble is, I have to take Eliza and Isaac along too and it always feels a bit awkward.

Now, I have to say, everyone has always been more than accommodating and have a ‘more the merrier’ type attitude. Soft play parties are no problem as they rush off on their own anyway, but at village hall type parties, I have tried to take the iPads to keep the older ones distracted at the sides.

The trouble is, my party loving diva always ends up joining in (and trying to take over) and my King of the party games, Isaac, cannot resist the chance to win at musical statues.


Having lots of kids myself, when I arrange a party I expect and positively encourage siblings to stay. I normally over-cater on food anyway and only thing they won’t get is a party bag, unless we have any no-shows. However, this year Eliza had a craft party which had strict numbers and it threw me when someone who had not RSVP’d arrived. Thankfully we had a spare craft set just in case, but it has made me feel awkward when I turn up with three children and not just one.


So, what do you do?

Do you check it is ok in advance to bring the extras?

Do you try to keep the older ones away from the fun or do you just let everyone join in as kids having fun is just what a party should be?

Let me know what you think in the comments………

7 thoughts on “What is the correct birthday party etiquette when you have more than one child?

  1. Emma says:

    I think I’d ask the mother in advance if it was OK – and offer to pay for my other children if it was the kind of party that had a cost attached. Most people would hopefully be accommodating though!

  2. Alan Herbert says:

    I have to say this is not something I’ve ever had to do.

    We were on the receiving end once. At a soft play/bowling party. The mother offered to pay the extra but as there were no shows we said there was no need.

    If it was something we had to do. I would let the host know when I RSVP’D.

  3. It’s a tricky one but I would only take invited children if I didn’t know the family well and if I did then I would think it would be ok.

  4. Paighton Millington - The Lazy Mamma says:

    I’ve never been in such a situation, as I only have an eight month old. So I can’t really give good advice. But I think that if you have to take them, I would check in advance, let them join in if they’re invited to, and just remind them what kind of party it is. ☺️

  5. Cass Bailey says:

    It’s difficult isn’t it? I always tried to keep the child who wasn’t invited with me until they were invited to join in which as far as I can remember always happened x x

  6. Jen says:

    Parties are such a mine field. Organising them; that thing of the unexpected turning up; keeping everyone entertained; everyone fed….etc.
    I’m fortunate that if my little boy gets invited to a party now, my other children (they would hate me calling them that) are perfectly fine to be left to their own devices, all being older teens now. But when I’ve held a party, and siblings come, I say they are welcome to stay if need be. I just have to limit some things if they aren’t appropriate.

  7. It is really difficult isn’t it? Thankfully mine have mostly always been happy to be left alone so I havn’t had to stay with the spare kids and now they are older. Mich x

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