Handling Prickly Party Situations

Faye de Muyshondt, founder of socialsklz:-), a Manhattan etiquette school for kids, shares guidelines for how to invite guests to a birthday party, writing thank you notes, and handling food allergies.

We asked Faye de Muyshondt, founder of socialsklz:-), our three burning questions on prickly party situations.


Must the entire class really be invited?

In a word, no. It’s okay for a child to be selective about who they’re inviting and who they’re not. Now, I wouldn’t suggest inviting the entire class less one child, but if they only want to invite, say, half the class, that’s just fine. What’s important is that invitations are not handed out at school, so that nobody feels left out. Also, remind your child not to talk about the party at school, and make sure she understands why.

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If we open gifts during the party, and my child says “Thanks!” as he goes along, do I still need to send a written thank you?

First of all, the party is about the person being celebrated, so let your child decide whether he wants to open them at the party or later. And, sorry, but even if he does choose the former, written notes are still required.  It’s a worthwhile exercise for all children.


So many kids have food allergies. I’m getting a little stressed worrying about pleasing everyone. What do I do?

Right on the invitation, note specifically everything you will be serving, then add, “If your child has an allergy to the above, please send along a brown-bag lunch or dessert.” If the invites have gone out already, email the parents.

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