Skip to Content

A Little Party Etiquette, Please!

On the whole, my children have great manners. And when I say that, I mean they say please and thank you and are polite to people who are not their mother (and I suppose that is where it really matters). But beyond the social niceties everyone should really practice, there is also the matter of etiquette. I would like to pass on some hard and fast rules of expected social behaviors to my kids, but those rules seem so much more subjective than they used to be. It makes me wish for the days when Emily Post and Miss Manners had a say-so in daily life.

I don’t think I am the only one who gets a little confused when it comes to rules of etiquette, so I thought I might look up a few “rules” to help me teach my kids how to behave appropriately at parties. This is a simple list of things I will teach my young kids to remember.

If you’re the host…

Write a very clear invitation. People want to know what is expected of them—dress up, dress casual, don’t bring a gift, eat before you come, etc.

Be gracious. Every party has its bumps. Roll with those bumps, and be accommodating instead of throwing a fit that everything isn’t perfect. You and your guests will have a better time!

Be gracious. I know I said that already, but really, it is totally up to you as the host to make sure all your guests are comfortable at your party. Put them first, and the party will be a success.

Say thank you twice. Thank your guests when they leave, and if there are gifts involved with your party, be sure to send a written thank you note.


As a guest…

Let your host know if you’re coming or not. Yup. That means answering that request for an RSVP. Your host is making goodie bags and ordering food for everyone coming, so it is only polite to let them know if they need to count you in or out of their preparations.

Be polite. Please and thank yous, don’t overindulge and eat every last cake pop on the table, and act in a way that is respectful of others. Even if it means sharing the only pair of pink princess fairy wings at the butterfly party without a having a temper tantrum.

Say thank you twice. I admit to not being very good at this, but I am going to make more of an effort! Thank your host as you are leaving, and be sure to follow up the next day with a phone call, note, email or even a Facebook post to thank the host for all the effort he or she went to to throw the party.

Of course, there are many more etiquette nuances than what I have listed here. Emily Post has a pretty fabulous website where you can look up answers to your pressing etiquette questions, and sites like Southern Belle’s Charm have some great lists of etiquette basics to refer to for those starting etiquette training.


Sunday 29th of April 2012

Would it be in bad taste though to have these printed out on the back of the invitation? :)


Sunday 29th of April 2012

As moms, we all have experienced hosting a birthday party for our kids. And we have been guests too. I must admit that I do forget some etiquette when the party's over and I have just spent the last hour or so keeping an eye on the kids. Thanks for reminding me. And I really do think that everybody should read these. It's not just for kids but for adult parties as well!

Shai Virtuso

Thursday 26th of April 2012

Thanks for sharing this etiquette guide. I should pass this to other friends, too, especially those who don't seem to follow unspoken rules of behavior.


Monday 23rd of April 2012

Asking your kiddos to write the Thank-You notes or cards themselves (with your supervision) after their birthday party is a really good way to start imbibing good manners and host etiquette.

Jasmine C.

Friday 20th of April 2012

If I could help it, Frauline, I don't want to invite her ever again. But that could be tricky as we belong to the same neighborhood. Sigh.