I've mentioned the importance of the RSVP before here at the blog but it's always timely to mention it again.
Here are some really really important reasons for parents planning a birthday party for kids, to hear from you, as the parents of kids who have been invited:
1. Basic party planning. Parents need to know ahead of time how many paper plates, cups, goody bags, goody bag contents, etc. to buy. If it's a sleep-over or a camp out party, they need to know how much space to reserve or how many extra blankets or pillows to have on hand. Adequate accommodations for all the guests is the goal.
2. FOOD. A couple of huge categories here. One is allergies and the other is vegan/vegetarian. These days, a lot of kids have particular food allergies and other kids have a vegan or vegetarian only lifestyle and that's important for the parents planning the party to know about well ahead of time. You don't want any of the kids to feel left out in any way, so knowing this information ahead of time can be very helpful. It's a simple matter of talking to the parents and discussing alternatives for food planning.
In our case, with this party we're planning on having burgers, hot dogs, fruit salad, cupcakes and ice cream and one of the girls attending is vegan (no meat products and no animal by-products). I already knew that so I talked to her mother (who RSVP'd) to discuss alternatives for her dinner as well as her treats. Of course we want all of our daughter's guests to have a fun time at the party so making a few small, simple changes here and there, makes that happen. None of the kids have food allergies but if they did we'd make sure to make those exceptions as well.
So whenever your child receives a party invitation, be sure to RSVP and let the parents planning the party know your child will be there, and be sure to mention any concerns you might have. And for the party planning parents - make sure you get back to the guest's parents ASAP and ask those important questions: are there any food allergies I need to be aware of - or are there any other dietary concerns?
Most parents these days understand different food situations and will be glad to work with you to make sure all the kids have a great time.