3 min Read
What to Do When Your Child Isn’t Invited to a Birthday Party
August 24, 2023
3 min Read
August 24, 2023
Your kid didn’t get an invitation to a birthday party. You probably want to pick up the phone and demand to know why, but you also know this likely isn’t the right play. So how do you help your child to cope with and learn from being excluded?
If you’ve ever had a child excluded from a birthday party, you know exactly how upsetting it is. There’s nothing you can do about it, really—calling another parent and demanding an invite usually makes things even more awkward, and you have to be mindful about the messages you send your child about why they were left out. But if you approach the situation with sensitivity and support, the experience can actually be turned into an opportunity for growth and resilience-building. Read on for strategies to take this upsetting situation and turn it into a lifelong lesson.
Acknowledge and Validate Your Child’s Feelings
Your child’s initial reaction to not being invited to a birthday party is likely going to be sadness, with perhaps some confusion and anger mixed in. It’s important acknowledge these feelings. Let them know that their reaction is valid, and that they are completely within their rights to feel hurt. This helps kids to know that you hear them, and encourages an environment when children are comfortable discussing their feelings.
Sit Down for a Heart-to-Heart
Ask your child how they’re feeling and allow them to explain why they think they didn’t get an invitation. Listen actively, without distraction. You can ask open-ended questions but try to avoid directing the conversation. This open platform may help your child to process their emotions and come to conclusions about social dynamics on their own.
Recognize a Teachable Moment
Once your child has had a chance to say everything they’d like to say about the situation, gently explain that they won’t get an invitation to every event, and that that’s okay. Help them to understand that many factors go into birthday parties (and other social situations), including available space, family obligations, budgets and more.
Use the Experience to Demonstrate the Importance of Inclusivity
Your child now knows how it feels to be excluded. Use this an example of why they should learn to be kind and inclusive in their own interactions with kids in their classroom, teammates, etc. Teach them that they have the power to makes other feel welcome and valued. (Remind them of this when it comes time for their own birthday party!)
Plan a Special Outing on the Day of the Party
To ease the sting of missing the party, plan a special outing on the date of the event. Going to a movie, taking a trip to a fun museum, going out to a meal at their favourite restaurant…these will all help to remind your child that they really aren’t missing out on anything, and that their worth is not dictated by receiving an invitation. This will help to shift the focus from their disappointment to a memory you made together.