Plugged-in-Parent for October
By Sharon Miller Cindrich
Q: Are e-mail invitations appropriate for a young child’s party?
A: Using email invitations have many advantages. Aside from their environmentally friendly format, “evites” can help you save money on postage and costly paper invitations. Many schools have policies against handing out invitations on school grounds to avoid hurting the feelings of children not invited to the party, and evites make it easy to send party invitations discreetly.
Some email invitations also provide extra features – searchable directions, guest list tallies and recipients can often RSVP directly online. Evite (evite.com) offers dozens of invitation designs and a budget planning tool. Pingg (ping.com) provides a dedicated webpage for the party that can be updated with up-to-the-minute party details and celebration photos. With MyPunchBowl (mypunchbowl.com) you can send out save-the-date notices to friends, and the site offers lots of party-planning resources. PurpleTrail.com allows you to create your own personalized design by incorporating photos, videos and artistic elements using their design studio.
So why isn’t everyone sending out evites? While they can seem convenient, there are a few things to consider when using email invitations to a child’s party.
Correct address. Most young children don’t have an e-mail address of their own, so you’ll have to send an electronic invitation to a parent.Make sure you have the correct e-mail addresses for the guests you plan to invite. If a child splits her time between two households, ask one of her parents which should receive the email invitation.
Bounce-backs. Email invitations can easily get blocked by security software or may end up in a junk folder and go unnoticed. If you haven’t had an RSVP from a guest a couple of days before the party, follow up with a phone call.
Gifts. Some email invitation sites offer gift registries. While these may be appropriate for a high school graduation, they are generally not a good idea for a young child’s birthday party. Unless you are asking for a charitable donation in lieu of presents, avoid using gift registries or gift suggestion tools. Your guests will call if they need some insight on what to choose for the birthday girl or boy.
Worth it? If you’re having a large celebration – a first birthday party with lots of out-of-town guests, for instance - evites can come in handy. But, many preschoolers and school-age children will only be inviting a few friends to their birthday party, and making and delivering their own invitations is part of the fun and learning for everyone. Consider which invitation makes the most sense – for parents and kids – before you click send.
Q: Should I stop buying my child music CDs and just switch completely to digital downloads instead?
A: It seems like CDs are quickly becoming disposable, doesn’t it? You might be surprised to know that while digital music downloads are definitely a popular way to collect music, CDs still make up 65% of all music sold in the first half of this year. Understanding the pros and cons of both formats will help you decide which is best for your child.
When you buy a compact discs you also get album cover art, lyrics and additional information on the paper jacket included in your purchase. CDs can be downloaded in different digital formats, making them compatible with all types of MP3 players. Most cars today also have CD players built right in, making it easy to listen to favorite music on the go in any vehicle without an adapter. CDs can get easily scratched and damaged if not properly stored and handled.
When you buy a digital downloads you don’t need to depend on transportation to a music store, store hours or shipping costs associated with purchasing a CD– something that appeals to kids who are not yet driving. Digital music stores also offer almost any single song for a little as 99 cents, instead of buying the entire album. Many digital downloads also have limitations on how many times they can be downloaded onto a computer or MP3 player.
Aren’t sure which is best? There are pros and cons to each, so ask your child which he prefers before you make your purchase.