For those who are not aware of the proper hostess etiquette in this all too common situation, here are the guidelines:
- Make yourself available to greet parents and child/ren when they are arriving. This means be present at the entrance, introduce yourself to the parent and the child. DO NOT stand off in a group of moms and chat it up about the latest gaming systems while most of us are trying to figure out who the birthday girl's mom or dad is so we can let you know our child has arrived and we can get questions answered. Important questions, like "Do you need me to stay?", "What time is the party over?" Oh, and about the party end time, it's probably a good idea if you know the answer to that.
- When the party is over, be at the exit to make sure kids are leaving with their parents, to say goodbye to the kids and give the kids the opportunity to thank you for inviting them to the party. DO NOT chat it up with ONE other parent about God knows what that is a seriously LONG conversation that has nothing to do with the party or the fact the party is over. Please make yourself available so my kid can politely show his gratitude and say his farewell without having to stand waiting for a good five minutes before he just says, "Thanks!" and walks away without you hearing him. When that happens, I will then make my child return to say it again. This time however, he will do what he did, which is tap on you repeatedly and say, "Excuse me" until you acknowledge him. I will let him get away with it because you are being a rude hostess by not being available to properly acknowledge the departure of your party guests. In depth conversations can wait until all guests have left.
- In the event that your party is being attended only by your friends who know what you expect and can say their hellos and goodbyes on the phone or in a group setting or you're such good friends that hellos and goodbyes are not even necessary, ignore suggestions 1 and 2.