Question: My child was just invited to a birthday party. How much should I spend on the birthday gift?

Answer: I’d say that a benchmark amount is $15 to $25. However, the amount you are willing to spend may vary due to how well your child knows the party-thrower and your financial situation. And as children enter their teenage years, they will be able to shoulder the responsibility of buying the gift themselves.

Q: I have absolutely NO idea what kind of gift the birthday child wants. What should I do?

A: Simply asking the host what kind of present their child is interested in is fine, too. You need to call the host to RSVP anyway, so casually asking what the birthday child is particularly fond of is perfectly okay!

If you don’t want to consult the host, go with a gift card. They are ALWAYS a safe bet! Try a gift card from a kid-friendly place such as a clothing store or fun restaurant.

However, if you really want to buy a gift such as jewelry, a toy or a game, remember to always include the receipt.

Also, remember to include a card with the gift!

Q: I really want to accompany my child to the party. What should I do while I’m there?

A: Let the host of the party set the tone. You can offer to lend a hand, but if s/he says no, leave her/him alone. Just do your best to act as a helpful, unobtrusive chaperone. Always use common sense to protect the guests and party area. Also, remember to ask before handling food, using a high chair, etc…

Q: What if my child is allergic to or just doesn’t like the food being served at a party?

A: Simply have your child eat at home before the party. If you want, it is fine to send a bag of chips or a container of sandwiches to the party with your child. Let the host know beforehand, though.

Also, make sure to alert the host of any allergies! This is especially important if you the parent of a younger child, who may not be aware yet of what they can and cannot eat.

Q: My child was invited to a sleepover birthday party. However, I don’t think that s/he is ready for a night away from home yet. What should I do?

A: When you call to RSVP, let the host know that your child will be attending the party, but not spending the night.

Also, make sure to discuss the situation with your child. Chances are, s/he will be fine with getting dropped off at the beginning of the party and then being picked up when it starts to get dark.

Q: My child was invited to a birthday party, but s/he has a problem with one of the other guests. Should I say something to the host?

A: No. If your child has a serious problem, then simply don’t go to the party. It is no one else’s fault, and it is not your place to put pressure on the host to decide between two guests.

More Tips for Guests

  • Before the party, talk with your child about what it means to be a gracious guest. Remind her/him to say “please” and “thank you,” chew with her/his mouth closed, keep her/his feet off the furniture, etc…
  • Also, make sure that your child is dressed appropriately. (For example, don’t send your daughter to a skating party in a frilly dress!)
  • Always include a card and receipt with the birthday gift.
  • Don’t forget to call the host to RSVP!

Alex is a happy vegan and self-proclaimed earth freak who lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with two cats, one dog and three hermit crabs. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, being silly, dancing and playing with her fabulous pets. Check out her work on (her screen name is veggiemama).