Attending a birthday party is a wonderful way to teach your child valuable social skills-how to be gracious, responsible, courteous, respectful, organized, and thoughtful. Here are some tips on how to be the best guest.
1. RSVP on-time and be sure to involve your child in the process of properly responding. It's one of life's great lessons!
2. If it's a theme party, have a conversation about it ahead of time. Your child may have fun thinking about an outfit/costume that's appropriate and you might need time to prepare accordingly.
3. Ask your child what the birthday boy/girl likes and dislikes and what he/she thinks would be a good gift, and purchase the gift a week in advance.
4. Have your child wrap the gift and make a card. Not only does a handmade card exude thoughtfulness and care, but it also saves money. Wrapping can be as simple as a brown bag with a pretty bow or even your child's artwork on paper used as gift wrap. Make sure this is all done no later than the day before the party!
5. As you and your child are getting ready, talk about what to expect at the party, discuss what type of behavior goes along with the theme of the party, and remind your child that this is a party for someone else and that it's his/her special day. We each have our own special day to feel important and it's an honor to be part of someone else's celebration.
6. Upon arrival at the party, first things first! Say hello and happy birthday to the party boy/girl and greet the hosts.
7. A big thank you is in order at the end of the party to the hosts as well as the birthday boy/girl. Do a practice thank you with your child and remind him/her about eye contact and projecting his/her voice. A handshake may be appropriate too.
8. It's very important to be on time, particularly if the party is at a venue and is a scheduled activity. Nothing is worse than your child holding up an entire group or feeling singled out for being late. And it's another one of life's important lessons that you can instill in your child only through leading by example. On the same note, it's just as important that you arrive on-time for pick-up.
9. Ensure that you too are following proper party etiquette. If it's a "drop off" then greet the hosts, thank them for having your son/daughter, and acknowledge that you'll return at the given time. Don't stay to socialize with the hosts or other parents.
10. If the party was enjoyable, go the extra mile and send a thank you note with your child, explaining how great that makes someone feel!
FAYE ROGASKI is an adjunct professor of communications at New York University, the founder of Faye Elizabeth Communications Inc., and the President of the American Heart Association (AHA) Young Professionals, as well as a lobbyist for the AHA. Based on her professional experience, academic training, and a passion to empower children, Ms. Rogaski founded socialsklz:-), a program that provides confidence and self-esteem to help children and teens thrive at school, in any social setting, and in life in general.