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Drop-off birthday parties

Parents of older kids: Assuming the invitation doesn't specify, at what age would you start asking the parents whether it was a drop-off party?  At what age(s) would you think it was weird if some invitee's parent called and asked whether it was drop-off, both too young and too old?

Why I ask: I'm an attempting-to-reform helicopter parent and also apparently just not-so-much with the social clues.  I hadn't really thought about dropping him off at parties yet until the most recent party we attended; most of the parents stayed and 3 or 4 dropped their kids off.  

My secret selfish reason: What can I do to make it clear that Kiddo's birthday party is not drop off?  There's no way I'm interested in supervising 10 four year olds.  

Also, my original subject line was "drop-off parties," but re-reading it looked like "drop-off panties."  I should have left it, y/y?


( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 5th, 2010 11:42 pm (UTC)
I took my cues from other parents, if they were dropping off, I'd drop off. If they were hanging around, I'd hang around. I'm lucky that most of the parties they went to were for kids they'd been in preschool with for several years, and we were all friends.

When we had my daughter's 5th birthday party I put on the invitations a part where they were welcome to drop them off and go. Mostly because we invited 16 girls and I didn't have room for 16 parents too. So I guess you could add on something about having someone stay to supervise the child.

ANd yes, leave drop off panties.
Jan. 5th, 2010 11:49 pm (UTC)
Maybe word the invitations something like "come enjoy the afternoon with your children"?
Jan. 5th, 2010 11:51 pm (UTC)
I think before kindergarten, I'd assume it wasn't a drop-off. Kindergarten is iffy, first grade is pushing it, by second grade you just look like you're sticking around for free cake :P

"Parents, please stay and help us celebrate X's birthday" or something simple like "Refreshments provided for adults." or "Parents are welcomed to stay!"

Jan. 5th, 2010 11:52 pm (UTC)
Oh.. but if you're encouraging parents to stay, plan for an unexpected sibling or two.
Jan. 5th, 2010 11:58 pm (UTC)
At first I thought that said you didn't want to supervise four ten-year-olds, and while I sympathize I thought you were a bit of a wuss!
Jan. 6th, 2010 12:00 am (UTC)
hahahaha this!
Jan. 6th, 2010 12:02 am (UTC)
I am totally a wuss. I know that I've got it easy with only one child who is a total rule-follower (if more than a bit on the holy-cow active side).

I get really nervous when it's my day to work in the nursery at his school and I have to be solely responsible for three younger toddlers (age 12 months to just-turned 3 years).
Jan. 6th, 2010 12:46 am (UTC)
I couldn't handle two ten year olds and a 3 year old once. I thought sure no problem. Yeah, yeah they have ADHD whatever they're boys and can't be THAT bad.

OMG my place was trashed and I was so exhausted. It was like three cyclones who went form one thing to another and I was just a step behind. Until I had an idea pop in my head to get them organized and doing one thing together.
Jan. 6th, 2010 12:54 am (UTC)
I read this and was boggling at my computer so hard my husband had to ask wth was wrong.
Jan. 6th, 2010 03:04 am (UTC)
That I'm so naive I think four ten year olds is comparatively easy (at least, compared to ten four year olds), or that I misread it?

I have no idea what four ten year olds is like, but I figured at that age most kids have unaccompanied parties so it *must* be survivable... right? (Aw, what do I know?)
Jan. 6th, 2010 03:05 am (UTC)
Whoops. I meant "that"--what the OP said. I was agreeing with you. :)
Jan. 6th, 2010 07:33 am (UTC)
Ah. I never can tell! :)
Jan. 6th, 2010 12:00 am (UTC)
honestly, i'd say 5. or once they're in school. If you're having a birthday party for your child and they are in kindergarten, obviously they can be left at school, they can be left at a birthday party for a couple of hours.

that's how it worked with me growing up.

but my limit for invitees was 7, and if someone couldnt come, i could invite someone else. my parents had a limit of 8 kids in the house at a time, unless another friends parent or a family member was willing to assist in the supervision. My mom had a few friends who were the parents of my friends, so I was usually able to get max 14 people at a birthday party, but that was REACHING.

side note: apparently it's now "wrong" for kids to bring invitations to school with the intention to give only a select few to their classmates? my aunt had 28 kids at her daughters 6th birthday party. i was there and i wanted to shoot myself, lol.
Jan. 6th, 2010 12:08 am (UTC)
So far we've only been to one party where the entire class was invited. But apparently my kid has become popular when I wasn't looking, and we've been to 5 birthday parties in just the last 4 months. I'm going to have to screw up my courage to keep from feeling obligated to invite everyone who invited him.
Jan. 6th, 2010 12:29 am (UTC)
That would really hurt kids feelings to see a bunch of people get invited to a party but not them..
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 6th, 2010 01:06 am (UTC)
Have I missed past drama about this? I dont know, my kid is only 3, but I could see where thats a good rule to have.
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 6th, 2010 01:09 am (UTC)
Booju was fun for like a month, and then it just to be too much, I think. =\
Jan. 6th, 2010 03:05 am (UTC)
What you do in that case is send the invitations through the mail or the teacher.

Kids aren't stupid. They know when they were just invited because they had to be.
Jan. 6th, 2010 12:33 am (UTC)
my son is 5 and the parents have all stayed at the parties we have been to.
Jan. 6th, 2010 01:08 am (UTC)
I know an invite I got recently for a gymboree party had an explanation on the back that said parents must be present and PARTICIPATE- not that I would have left my 3 year old daughter without me
I would put it on your child's invite-
otherwise I would just ask whatever parent invited you if it's drop off
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 6th, 2010 05:03 am (UTC)
Yeah, this is a good way to put "stay with your damn rugrats."
Jan. 6th, 2010 03:01 am (UTC)
school aged. i would not leave my 4 year old with anyone but a family party or were there was a ratio of one adult per two children.
Jan. 6th, 2010 03:56 am (UTC)
If you want the parents to stay, just add a line on the invite about food/snacks/whatever will be provided for parents. That's almost always how I tell if it's a drop-off or not, although I'm friends with most of the parents of the kids my kid socialises with, so I'd be there helping with food/set-up/cleanup most times anyway. I've only attended one non-drop-off party where I didn't know the parents, and that was miles out of town at a farm. I also take my cues from the other parents - if they're leaving, I leave unless I'm helping out or invited to stay.
Jan. 6th, 2010 04:44 am (UTC)
My 3 year old recently had his bday party and one of the parents dropped off. I thought it was bizarre - more so because I had to ask for his phone number in case of an emergency. Yet the birthday party we attended two weeks later for another classmate, the mother stayed. What?

That being said, I'm ready to give up on birthday parties, and next year's will be his last party in which I invite the entire class and parents stay. When he's 5(yes, I think that far ahead), I'm taking him and 4 of his best friends to Medieval Times. Parents are welcome, but they'll have to pay for themselves...which they won't want to.
Jan. 6th, 2010 11:43 am (UTC)
say something like you and your child are invited to come celebrate...

id not drop a 4 year old off. yeah school age. it also depends on what they are doing and how comfy the kid is with it. i went to a sleepover when i was like 6 and they had to call my mom, totally wasnt ok with it...not that my mom coulda stayed for that.
Jan. 6th, 2010 09:47 pm (UTC)
I havn't read comments...but I'd add a line in the invite like "We'll have snacks and sodas for the parents" or something like that.

At 4 I'd assume I was to stay with my child. I wouldn't drop off until school-aged at the earliest, and then only if I knew the family and was comfortable with it.
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )


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