Children are sometimes reluctant to sit down and get on with things, especially writing. But invitation writing can be a great way to encourage your child to practice their handwriting a little. After all there’s a lot in it for them. A child usually can’t wait to hand over an invitation, this is often one of the most exciting parts of holding a party, the bit where they get to tell their friends.
But how to do it so it’s not left to the last minute. Actually, this needs to be done at least a month in advance. So what’s the best way to encourage a child to fill out the invitations without you having to resort to faking their best handwriting whilst blowing your snuffly nose on a rather damp tissue mumbling about being the worst mother in the world!?
Carrots and sticks work well. On donkeys.
With children however, it’s best to prepare the groundwork, it always helps. So clear the table, get pens and invitations at the ready and write a list of names of the invited children before you ask your child to the table to write. There is nothing more boring for a child than to sit down in anticipation only to then have to wait while the grownup ‘does their bit’.
So firstly, at the top of a page, write clearly the time and place and any other details, then list the names with the address, if necessary, beside them. Ask them to write the envelopes as they go along as it gives them a change (as good as a rest apparently) and it helps to get the right invitation into the correct envelope. Rather this than telling them when they think they have finished – “Oh, by the way, you now have to write the envelopes.” it just ain’t gonna happen.
So once you have the list, explain what has to go where. After watching them write the first one, ask them if they know what they are doing and see if they can get on with the rest without you – remove yourself, don’t ask, just do it. However, stay in the room and check now and again to see how they’re getting on.
Tell them as they finish each invitation they must tick it off the list – children love to do this, it makes them feel like a teacher and shows them that they’re progressing.
A simple egg timer may help. Sometimes, boys especially, like a challenge, and some won’t like the pressure, but if your child is the competitive sort then an egg timer may be a way to make this fun. Ask them if they can complete an invitation before the timer runs out. A warning however, this sometimes means that you’ll end up with something illegible!
So things that are a must on an invitation: –
Telling everyone whose party it is, and their age. So easy to miss this one, but kinda necessary!
Sounds simple enough. But make sure your child know what it means, and by that I mean, show them a calender. I know I’m being patronising but it’s easily overlooked. This is a good time to explain things like how many days there are in a month, months in a year etc. If the party isn’t going to be on their birthday, show them when it will be, and how many days before, or after, it will be.
Thirty days hath September,
April, June and November,
All the rest have thirty-one…
Except February that could miss two but usually one… or something…
Ok, so I changed that a little.
Anyway, always say the day ie Saturday, because as busy mums and dads this is the bit we take most notice of, then the day ie 3rd – also a good time to explain st, nd, rd and th’s! Then month ie November.
If your child gets weary writing it out in full, shorten it, best that they enjoy doing it rather than be too fussy. You may still get them to write one complete one, you judge it. But don’t be tempted to let them write 3/11/- – if you do, don’t be surprised when some children don’t show up!
This is another one, 1pm or 10am is nice and simple enough, don’t try a 24hr clock! So something like 2 – 4pm is good, straightforward for a child to write. However, if your child is confused by clocks, again, get one out, this is a good time to show them – win win.
Don’t forget to add your post code. If the person doesn’t know where you live, they often use their phones or sat navs to find addresses.
Make it clear how you would like people to RSVP. A lot of people like to text these days so include a mobile number or an email address. Also useful is to add the date that you expect them to reply by, perhaps with the wording “Replies by _ _ _ _ please” Check these thoroughly, don’t expect your child to write each one perfectly.
You may find it necessary to write ‘Sorry, no siblings’ on some invitations. Gentle reminder – please don’t write it on an only child’s invitation, be tactful.
You may also wish to ask if there are any dietary requirements that you should know about. Add this to the invitation too. You can see how this can end up being quite a lot of writing for your child.
If you have invited the entire class it may be more hair-saving to print out most of the details so that all they need to write are the names and maybe the envelopes. But don’t be tempted print the entire invitation, your child, however much they may grumble, will want to be involved in their own party.
After the party, of course… the thank you cards!!