To not understand parents at children's parties?

(69 Posts)
cantreachmytoes Tue 18-Jun-13 08:39:42

I've seen on Mumsnet that at school age children's parties there are often parents turning up with uninvited siblings because of childcare issues. My DS is 20 months, so I'm not there yet, but if a child can spend all day at school, why would parents need to stay because of childcare issues? Surely it's up to the organising parents to ensure they feel comfortable with the adult:child ratio (asking their friends to help out if necessary)?

I don't recall my brother ever coming to a party I was invited to, with my mother, a single parent, unless the hosts were good family friends and wanted my mother there to help out and/or my brother there as he was friends with the birthday girl's little brother (and this was usually reciprocated when one of us had a birthday).

Is it unreasonable these days to drop off and pick up, or will I be expected to hang around, with DH looking after the other child (or vice versa)?

I'm not talking about SN children.

Shesparkles Tue 18-Jun-13 08:41:59

It's never happened at any of my children's parties or any they've been to, and with them being 15 and 11 I think I can call myself an old hand!

ParadiseChick Tue 18-Jun-13 08:43:07

It's not the norm here. From pre school on ward you dump and run, leaving a phone number and enjoy a couple of hours peace. I sometimes ask if they need a hand whilst backing out the door! If I'm organising a part I make sure I have enough helpers.

Pagwatch Tue 18-Jun-13 08:44:54

Mine are 20,16 and 10 and I have never had siblings turn up.

Don't expect it or worry about something that may never be a problem.

ifink Tue 18-Jun-13 08:47:03

It is strange, when I was a child in the UK my mum never stayed at parties. BUT where we live in Australia, its normal that everyone comes along! I just went to a 6 year old's party and all the mums, some dads too and siblings stayed - in fact it's just assumed that mum, dad, siblings etc come along. If it's at a weekend you would be expected to feed everyone! - if it's after school then just a bit of afternoon tea and cake for the kids....I relish the idea of being able to drop DD off at a party but I can't see it happenning any time soon!

justneedhandholding Tue 18-Jun-13 08:48:21

Sometimes it is the age of the children so ie I wouldn't leave a yr child at a party as the parents are not actually looking after every child, IME I have never know parents to leave children that young. I rarely come across parents who have thought about having enough supervision for children under 6.

However I would never take the siblings along - I find it really rude. Someone I know always used to take her other child even if her husband was at home then just hang around till someone invited her other DD to join in. She even brought some other children she had round for the day to a party and her DD plus 2 friends ended up joining in even though the party was only forn10 children as it was.

BackforGood Tue 18-Jun-13 08:48:41

Not the norm here either - I've only ever heard of it on MN.
IMVHO, it's is the responsibility of whoever is hosting a children's party to ensure they have enough people to look after the number of children they invite. Not to say that couldn't include some parents of guests, if they've asked them in advance if they were available and would mind helping, but certainly not assuming a parent will stay.

5madthings Tue 18-Jun-13 08:49:34

Round here in reception parents often stay depending on where it is, is big soft play Area, plus depending on location of part its not worth going home iyswim?

If its at someones how or smaller scale parents go drop and run. From yr one thus tend to drop and run and I have done sometimes in reception. Really depends on the child, the venue, distances involved.

Re siblings, I have had tot take siblings but always ask if its ok and PAY myself, if its not OK then I sort a lift for child invited to party etc.

I have allowed sibling to come to some parties ie in a village hall, or to my home but others like build a bear I couldn't afford siblings and my ds2 is having a tubing party next month, no siblings will be able to go as numbers are strictly limited.

There are lots of variables but I haven come across people being cheeky and turning up with siblings and expecting food, everyone I know asks/checks its OK and pays, or we lift share and take a child whose parent has a sibling to look after etc.

trixymalixy Tue 18-Jun-13 08:51:11

Most parents drop off and then leave at most of the primary age parties I have been to.

Wish I could. DS's allergies mean I mostly end up staying or coming back for when food is served, although I do bring all his food.

hatsybatsy Tue 18-Jun-13 08:53:46

why are you worrying about this if your ds is only 20 months old?

I have had some siblings stay once - we just made sure we had some extra haribo and gave them all a packet in lieu of a prty bag. was no big deal.

parents staying? to be honest thats fine if they wanted to. an extra pair of hands is always useful.but tbh, even YR kids are used to loooking after themselves -they manage whole days at school with far lower adult: child ratios than they would ever get at a party!

raisah Tue 18-Jun-13 08:55:48

I have put siblings invited on invites before but I do reduce the number of invited kuds because I know siblings will turn up. If its a school friend then I dont expect to take my dd aswell but for a family friend the invite is extended to all of us.

lachrymavitis Tue 18-Jun-13 09:18:32

I think it depends on the type of party. If it was at a softplay I would stay unless the parent specified otherwise. We had a party for 20 at softplay and I was quite pleased that parents stayed to help look after their children.

This was a party for 4/5 year olds.

People who brought siblings paid their entry fee. If it was a party at someone's house I would expect that I would drop and run at this age unless the parent asked me to stay.

Don't worry about it. Just be clear on your invitation. I think whether siblings come along is dependent on the situation.

goldenlula Tue 18-Jun-13 09:24:23

I am doing a party for ds2 at the end of the month. He will be 5 and as it is in a hall I have said siblings can come but that I will catering mainly for ds2's friends and the others can join in (we have a magician for the second hour so they will all be amused by him while I put my feet up wink
I do not feel comfortable leaving ds2 at parties unless I know the parents well as he can find it hard to make himself understood so I tend to arrange childcare for the other 2 but if the parties for any of them are at a soft play place I take advantage of the fact I only need to pay for 2 and stay for the party, but provide everything for the non invited children.

mumofthemonsters808 Tue 18-Jun-13 09:29:57

I've even seen YR 6 parents staying,so we are talking about an 11 year olds run of the mill party. IMO they have too much time on their hands.

There's a group of us who tend to stay at each others parties with all our kids, the mothers chat and help out and we bring all our kids. We have 24 kids between us and when you add on the dump and runs from birthday child's class it makes for big parties. It's always at the hosts invitation though, for the older kids we tend to do normal small parties. For any other party I drop and go though, have done since they were 3/4. I'd never stay unless I was invited and would be quite blunt about shooing parents out my door if they tried it on.

1Veryhungrycaterpillar Tue 18-Jun-13 09:39:24

I used to stay at parties a lot because I couldn't drive and would get Taxis there, now I just drop. I was at a party with my DD once when one of the guests mother brought two uninvited siblings, seated them at the lunch table so the host had to get out another table for my DD who was invited to sit alone, fun.

shewhowines Tue 18-Jun-13 09:39:44

I can't see why it would ever be a problem. I can't even remember if it happened to us ever.

If it did happen, I would have expected parents to pay for a sibling. If it was a party in a hall or at home, I would not have felt any pressure to include uninvited siblings. If it was easy or no problem, then they could, but I would have had no problem saying no to anybody that would disrupt or alter the status quo.

I prepared the correct number of party bags. If a child didn't turn up then I would give that to a sibling- even if they were just collecting at the end and hadn't stayed, but there is no way I would have even thought of catering for siblings generally.
Why would you? It's not your problem. If parents are rude enough to bring siblings, then they manage the disappointments. If it happens enough times then they may reconsider doing it next time. It does no one any favours by bending over backwards to accommodate these rude people.

Of course if someone is genuinely stuck and talks to me beforehand, then I would try to help, but I'm not going to be out of pocket unless I want to be. If its a pay venue then they pay for siblings.

It is only a problem if you let it be. If they're rude enough to expect things for uninvited guests, then I'm rude enough to say no.

primallass Tue 18-Jun-13 09:41:45

Dump and run from age 3 onwards with my super-confident DD. My DS would never have allowed that though, as he was very clingy. So for a softplay party I used to pay for DD to get in and sit with her while DS partied. Sometimes she was able to join in for the games, but we live in a village where everyone knows everyone so it is not unusual to have siblings etc invited.

PrettyKitty1986 Tue 18-Jun-13 09:47:27

In most scenarios I'd see it as incredibly rude to drop and run with younger kids...I'm thinking of a class full of kids at soft play.

Tbf, no way would I leave my ds1 (5) at a party for 20 ish kids anyway. You ALWAYs have 'incidents' at this type of thing...xx pulled my hair, xx pushed me on the slide etc. kids have bumps, may end up having a little cry...I don't think it should be solely the parents responsibility.

I have taken ds2 to parties twice when no childcare but always ask before hand and offer to pay for him separately.

As long as other parents afford me the same courtesy I don't really mind if a few bring siblings.

margaery Tue 18-Jun-13 09:52:11

same as lachrymavitis. Around here most of the parents stayed at parties for 5 year olds. All parties have been in a public place, soft play or hall.

I personally don't have people locally that i can ask to supervise my party, and I wouldn't feel comfortable leaving my DD at a party as she has toileting problems and she would just walk out of the building if she felt like it.

We had DD's party in soft play area, and a about 4 out of 30 kids were left with me. I made it clear that I would try to keep an eye on them. One parent left child without even telling me. But tbh, I couldn't really keep an eye on those 4 all of the time and if they walked out of the building, no one would have noticed. But these parents seem to be certain that their child would not leave the party and weren't worried about it.

Meglet Tue 18-Jun-13 09:58:09

It depends on where the party is.

DS is 6 and I still wouldn't leave him at a soft play party. There is no way the parents can watch 10 kids and ensure they haven't snuck out the building.

Anyway, he has allergies so I'll be staying at parties for the foreseeable future. I wouldn't expect another parent to check what he was eating and be armed with the epi-pen. I've had to take his little sister a couple of times and always checked with the parents first.

TBH I don't get to chat to people very often so I enjoy staying at parties. Much more relaxed than a quick chat on the school run.

Loa Tue 18-Jun-13 10:18:22

It's normal here to wait around even with older DC - 7- 8 at public locations - sometimes due to transport sometimes just because.

It's normal past 6 to offer them the option of going - most parents still stop. Some people leave younger than that often to surprise of host parents.

Sibling thing - some ask and offer to pay, some ask and seem to expect you to offer to pay and some turn up and go off with other siblings and some expect you to include unasked siblings in everything.

Combine that with people not rsvping - and people who say they will come not turning up then you never know how many will be there - can make it stressful first few parties you throw.

Most venues that you have to pay to enter - do state that on the party invite forms and ask parents when the other parents try and add them.

I think some parents may have assumed we've taken the other DC along - never have but have had party parents invite last minute the other siblings - either as they are near in age to their other DC or because numbers are low.

1Veryhungrycaterpillar Tue 18-Jun-13 10:19:30

I've seen some parents stay with what seems to be the sole purpose of judging the party which is bizarre to say the least! I refused to leave my 3 year old until she was securely potty trained and then it would still depend on what kind of party it is, if you stay and lend a hand fantastic

Feminine Tue 18-Jun-13 10:20:16

Well as has been said, there are no exact rules IMO.

Mine are 14, 9 and 4,they all have different personalities and I parent at parties with that taken in to account.

My eldest hated parties, my younger son loves them!

I agree with meglet soft play is a place where I'd want to hang about. Not for the same reasons ....I just don't quite trust them.

1Veryhungrycaterpillar Tue 18-Jun-13 10:21:08

Because I've helped out at parties where a lot of parents stayed despite their kids being over 5 and wanting cups of tea etc which is a pain

Feminine Tue 18-Jun-13 10:22:21

Also, I'm a nervous wreck around un-cut grapes and cherry toms/ hot dogs! Its amazing how many very little kids parties are peppered with them.

I like to remind my little one to bite wink

CMOTDibbler Tue 18-Jun-13 10:25:37

It all depends on the type of party, where the party is in relation to where everyone lives, and if the parents are spread out.
So a party at someones house where the children all live close together, people will drop off.
A soft play party further away, and where everyone doesn't live close, many will stay as its not worth going home.

bico Tue 18-Jun-13 10:25:40

I stayed when ds was in reception. Why would I leave him with adults he didn't know? Very different to being at school.

I did find it odd at the first party in reception year, two weeks after the start of term, that a lot of parents just dumped and ran. Needless to say the parents who remained had to deal with the tears of the children whose parents had left. One parent thought it was quite funny that their ds was upset at every party but never ever stayed.

Loa Tue 18-Jun-13 10:27:06

If your only DC is 20 months I expect 4-5 year olds seem very old.

When your DC actually gets there it's different.

They may still need help with toilet, or not be confident asking strange adults for help or location or may not have the sense not to wonder off - thinks of DS here - and the younger they are the less firm there friends and the larger the parties tend to be - 30 plus DC at 4-5 despite having family around top help we've been glad other parents stop to help out as it bloody hard to keep an eye on all 30 especially if they are over excited - its not like the calm ordered school environment.

MsVestibule Tue 18-Jun-13 10:29:18

Depends where the party is being held. If it's in a house, the parents normally stay up to and including the 5th birthday parties; from 6th birthday parties onwards, they just drop and run.

If it's in a soft play type place, I think the parents stay however old the child is.

Loa Tue 18-Jun-13 10:31:25

I did leave my reception age 4 year old at a house party hosted be a person I knew and who had many years as a childminder - she had lost of help and it was towards end of school year , DD1 is one of youngest, and I figure they needed the space in the house.

DD1 was very unhappy about being left - didn't cry but was very quiet and made it very plain when I picked her up she was unhappy to have been left.

1Veryhungrycaterpillar Tue 18-Jun-13 10:33:55

I think the most important point that an earlier poster mentioned is that you know your child and if you think they won't be happy being left ten I'm sorry but you should stay, at my daughters fourth all the parents left and I had to look after an inconsolable boy and take 20 odd kids to the loo! When the mum picked up she just said 'Ih he's always like that but I wanted a break'

I've had this happen quite a bit and am now so used to it, I half expect it. We've had siblings, parents and even a random friend from London, but that child was so sweet, we enjoyed her company. Generally, the parents who stay had a non-British upbringing, so I've tended to assume it's a cultural thing (like one poster up thread said about Australia). I've no idea if it actually is, but it makes it easier for me to accept.

One year I had an especially manic party and several parents and siblings stayed. To their credit, they'd asked in advance and said, 'I'm happy to help.' To their discredit, all they actually did was sit around looking bored, while we ran around doing all the work. Somehow, the fact that I was expecting their help made the loss of it, coupled with their bored faces, harder to bear. Really, if they had something better to do, they should have been off and doing it.

Mind you, last year I made dh stay at a party, as I knew they'd be doing dangerous pursuits and the party parents aren't the most risk-aware. He had to stay because I couldn't bear to look. Of course, Ds had a wonderful time and it was an amazing party. I'm part of the problem, aren't I? grin

Anyway, yanbu, especially to not understand it, because there doesn't seem to be one standard approach. Expect some to stay and help, some to stay and get in the way and some to drop and run.

I should add that IME the parents who stay beyond the 5-6 years norm are often parents of pfb. The more older siblings a child has, the more likely the parent is to drop and run before the 5-6 years norm! I think I've probably done that, too.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Tue 18-Jun-13 11:24:13

Around here parents stay at parties for 4 year old but go at parties for 6 year olds assuming venue is a hall or someone's house. At 5 some parents stay with nervous children but not the majority.

TreesAndFlowers Tue 18-Jun-13 11:38:18

I think it depends a bit on the norm where you are - as in people tend to copy others. My SIL recently made a remark about the parents at her school discussing whether they could leave their DC at parties unattended now they were getting towards the end of Y3 ... Whereas round here we have a few parents staying in Reception and maybe 1 or 2 in Y1, but after that you can't see them for dust!

Jan49 Tue 18-Jun-13 11:39:14

It isn't comparable to school because at school the children are being looked after by people who are trained and knowledgeable about safety and mostly super careful about not losing track of children, whereas at a party your child is one of many children and if it's in a public place the parents may not be making sure they all stay there or supervising them when needed. Sometimes there's nothing to stop a child just walking out and no one making sure they don't. So personally I wouldn't leave a child until I trusted the child not to wander off which a 3 y.o. might do.

I once went to a party in a leisure centre where there was a indoor pond between the party area and the toilets and no supervision and the kids were aged around 5-6. There was nothing to stop a child wandering off to the toilet and climbing into the pool unsupervised. Presumably the parents weren't worried and hadn't thought about it.hmm

I stayed with my ds until he was about 6 and used to offer to help as an excuse sometimes.

cupcake78 Tue 18-Jun-13 11:49:49

I tried the leave and run thing with ds (5) only to be called back 15 mins later to a snotty teary ds and many disproving glares.

The mum at the party was a volunteer at the school, ds knew her and was fully occupied with all his friends. I asked ds if he would be ok and he said he was fine with it.

I'm now very nervous about leaving ds at parties and haven't done it since!

MrsCampbellBlack Tue 18-Jun-13 11:54:26

Well school is very different to the average 3 year old's party in my experience.

I try very hard not to take siblings but must say round these parts its never an issue. I've had siblings stay and just fed them and given them a party bag if I've got one spare. But normally parents are very sensitive and have brought snacks for their other children and only let them sit at the party table if invited. But I tend to hire the whole venue and provide food so not such an issue as a party with tightly regulated numbers.

Not all 3 or 4 year olds are happy being left at a party by themselves, its not like school as its not a teacher who they know looking after them but rather some random adults.

MrsCampbellBlack Tue 18-Jun-13 11:55:49

Oh and I quite often stay as the school has a wide geographical catchment, so I may have to drive for 45 mins to a party which is only 1.5 hours long - no point me leaving, especially if its in the middle of nowhere.

BarbarianMum Tue 18-Jun-13 12:02:19

Oh use your imagination!

Today I will be driving 30 minutes to drop ds1 plus 2 friends at a bowling party. Then I will stay w. ds2 because the alternative would be driving home (30 min) waiting 20, min then driving back through rush hour traffic (40 min). Then driving home again (40 min).

I don't expect ds2 to be included or catered for but neither do I see why he (and I) should spend the afternoon in the car.

LittleprincessinGOLDrocks Tue 18-Jun-13 12:07:56

At the last party DD went to I think we were the only ones to drop and run. DD is 6 1/2 and in year 1.
It was at a soft play. I had DS with me so thought it better to drop and run. But did get an odd look as I said bye. I don't feel too guilty though as BIL was there with his DS who was at the party, so had there been any issues BIL would happily step in.

I found it odd though, as the year before at the same child's party I was the only parent who stayed for the whole party. It was at the child's home, so I guess with DDs class it must be stay for soft play, drop and run for home parties.

Summerblaze Tue 18-Jun-13 12:57:16

Around here it varies. At a home party, children are just dropped off and picked up. If it is at a hall or soft play place then parents stay. Some bring siblings along but are not expected to be "at" the party. They sit next to mum with snacks and kindles etc and never expect a goody bag.

At a big soft play area, we all go and we pay for the other 2 to play and buy them food ourselves. Would never expect the party holders to pay for my extra dc.

Most parties here are soft play so it makes no difference if parents stay or not. There is usually a little dance where parents try to buy their own coffee/Kitkat and the host tries to pay.

DS1 has been "dropped and run" at precisely one party. It was not a success because he only knew the birthday girl and soon got homesick blush hmm

His 5th birthday party this weekend is "drop or stay" as we already have enough adults. No idea how many we will get. But the group of parents in his class is quite friendly and closeknit so it is a chance for us to see each other too.

Used to leave super confident ds at 3...Still can't leave quiet ds2 at 5.
Believe me, I don't want to stay!

I usually stay. Ou because where they have been held there's no where else to go and by time I got buses home it would be time to go back. Dd2 is 2 now so a bit old to be going if uninvited but previously I asked if I could bring her as she was little and I'd bring food etc for her. I get a baby sitter when I can, if I can't then ill leave dd1 there.

The times I've stayed I've always had children wanting to dance or have me take them to toilet or get them a drink or tie shoes/adjust clothes. Someone needs to stay as if hosts are prepping food then there's no one to watch the kids. Didn't realise that staying was an issue

MrsCampbellBlack Tue 18-Jun-13 13:21:57

Also, at my dc's 5th birthday party recently, there was only my DH and me other than parents who stayed.

Not everyone has rafts of additional adults they can draft in to help supervise, so I was glad other parents stayed and had got drinks/snacks for them.

BackforGood Tue 18-Jun-13 13:36:30

Then surely you need to ask other parents MrsCampbellBlack if they will help you.
Or choose a different way to celebrate your dc's birthday. There are lovely things you can do that don't need loads of adults.

1Veryhungrycaterpillar Tue 18-Jun-13 13:43:53

When I used to stay due to not driving I'd always want to help as I'd otherwise be bored out of my mind!

lottieandmia Tue 18-Jun-13 13:48:17

At my dd's last party (she is 4) all the mums stayed because they wanted to stay and one did bring a 2 year old sibling along and asked if she could join in. I was ok with this but it did occur to me that if everyone had done this I would not have had enough food or party bags, so I think the parent should text earlier that they will need to bring an extra sibling if they will need to.

We had enough adults to supervise the children, but the mums wanted to stay anyway. I couldn't exactly say 'off you go then'.

lottieandmia Tue 18-Jun-13 13:51:12

Oh and I would never take a younger uninvited sibling to a party myself. Invitations are usually given out in enough time to be able to make provision for that not to have to happen imo.

MrsDeVere Tue 18-Jun-13 13:53:57

I thought it was polite to stay.
If I go to a party and there are 20 kids there and all the parents have gone I would feel awful leaving my DC there and buggering off.

I would much prefer to leave because I hate kid's parties. I have been doing them for two decades. I have had enough.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Tue 18-Jun-13 13:57:45

Lottie - What would you have the mum do in your case? The mum has a 4 year old she reasonably wants to stay at the party. The obvious thing would be for 2 year old to stay with their dad or a grandparent. But what about if mum is a single parent or dad is working and they have no grandparents nearby. This is not an unusual situation. I would much rather the mum brought her 2 year old the stop the 4 year old from going. I have been in this situation, admitted I did check whether it would be OK to bring my 2 year old but it's really not a big deal to me.

doublechocchip Tue 18-Jun-13 14:04:42

Round here pretty much all parents stay for reception parties then slowly filter out throughout year one although house parties tend to be a drop and run affair.

Soft play is a little easier as you can pay any siblings in/bribe them with sweets when it comes to party bag time, also a lot more parents stay at a soft play party in the evenings/after school than the weekend (prob due to childcare).

cantreachmytoes Tue 18-Jun-13 14:33:19

LOL well first up, "school age" for me meant age 5+, because we didn't start school until then. Forgot about Reception. Only mentioned school age because it means the children have been apart from their parents before. Can see now its not as simple as that!

In my early years we lived in a small and very rural village. I guess it puts a rather specific context to it given that that means all the parents know each other (not necessarily like though!). We also didn't have the option of soft play, because it didn't exist there.

We (amongst my family and friends) didn't have big parties. We were allowed a biggie for our 5th birthdays, but otherwise it was 4-5 friends max and doing something. There were some classmates who did big parties but a handful of the host's friends would help out (friends who had an invited kid).

I was a very confident 5 year old but can see that not everyone was the same. As we were a small community though, there wouldn't have been invitees who weren't in our class at school. In a bigger setting (which I'm in and will be in), I can now see why people stay - "soft" play sounds more dangerous than other play!

I'm glad that there are people who do drop and run, where feasible, because although I want my children to have fun with friends, invite and be invited, I honestly cannot picture myself regularly attending children's parties, whether helping out, or looking bored!

No doubt I'll be back in a few years moaning that I have no weekends because I'm always attending birthday parties with one or both DCs!smile

lottieandmia Tue 18-Jun-13 14:36:10

Ghoul - I don't mind if someone needs to bring a younger sibling but I would prefer if they could text me in advance so that I can make sure I've got enough party bags etc.

If it's something expensive like Build A Bear though where the cost is per head then I would expect them to pay for the uninvited sibling.

SarahAndFuck Tue 18-Jun-13 14:37:05

DS (age 4) is nearly always involved in some sort of bumped head incident at parties, so I usually hang about to mop up the blood.

Everyone stayed at his last big party when he turned three. I invited siblings of his friends and, in two cases, cousins who were visiting the invited children once I realised they were visiting, and did enough sandwiches and bits for parents to tuck into after the children had had first pick.

Then at the end everyone told me how lovely and unusual that was as they normally fling the children from a moving car and drive off before they get asked to help, or lurk on the sidelines trying to steal sausage rolls from the smaller ones when they aren't looking because they are starving. shock I could have halved the food budget and cake demand if only I had known, but nobody told me.

notso Tue 18-Jun-13 14:42:05

Depends on the party, I wouldn't stay to a house party unless asked to or I was really good friends with the parents.

Soft play or village hall party with more than about 6 or 8 children I would.

Had a weird experience with DS1's party though, it was bowling then food in Frankie and Bennys.
There were 8 children, DH and I and all the other parents stayed. When it the time came for us to go next door to Frankie and Bennys we bought the parents a drink at the bowling place and expected them to carry on chatting.
Instead they came and stood behind their children while we were all eating our starter, it unnerving and they were taking up loads of space. One Mum had her sister and teenage niece and a double buggy and she got really suspicious when her son and DS needed the toilet and DH said he would take them.
Eventually the waitress said they had to all get a table and eat or go outside. The suspicious Mum kept sending the niece in to check on us hmm

DeWe Tue 18-Jun-13 14:52:43

I've never had someone assume the sibling is invited. I have, at times, invited a sibling to join in when we've had someone ill, or we haven't filled all the spaces we could have.

I wouldn't stay at a party with a sibling as a general rule, simply because I think it's nice for each child to have their own parties with their own friends, not have their sibling there. When I didn't drive, occasionally that meant going for a long walk with the younger ones and having a picnic. They always liked that even when I was freezing!

My observation is that people are also more accommodating to the younger siblings than older. I know both I as a child and dd2, not infrequently, went to pick up the older one and was offered a piece of cake and/or a party bag. My dsis never had that offered, and I don't think dd1 ever had that offered either.

Staying depends on the child. Dd1 wasn't happy to be left until she was in reception. Dd2 wanted to be left from age 3yo, and ds (who's 6yo) wouldn't want me to leave even now.

Tailtwister Tue 18-Jun-13 15:03:49

It depends where the party is and how many children are there. If it's a a soft play or a large church hall with 20+ children then I would stay. If it's a small affair with a few children round someone's house then I would probably leave as long as the host was happy with that.

Most parties DS1 has been to the parents have stayed. They've mostly been whole class affairs though and in most cases some refreshments (or means of getting some) is laid on for the parents. Sibling wise, I would only take another child if they could be entertained separately (e.g soft play where I would pay separately) and I would never expect that child to be catered for or given a party bag.

MrsCampbellBlack Tue 18-Jun-13 17:09:41

Backforgood - no, I don't need to ask other parents, as the norm round here is parents stay when the children are 3,4 or 5. The hosts generally provide drinks/wine/snacks for the parents as well.

Having been to the odd party in a soft play place where it was also open to everyone, there is no way I'd have left a 4 year old there without me. There just wasn't enough supervision for my liking and I have 3 dc's so not pfb.

Plus, I like to catch up with the other parents.

Of course, it all changes as they get older.

chloesaidfred Tue 18-Jun-13 17:11:16

Oh god - drop and RUN!

nappyaddict Fri 05-Jul-13 09:48:39

Drop and run after 3 unless they are still in nappies.

nappyaddict Fri 05-Jul-13 09:49:18

Or unless they are very clingy still. Definitely drop and run once they are 5 unless they have SN.

nappyaddict Fri 05-Jul-13 09:55:52

Or maybe 6 ... my DS is 6 and has SN and I have left him, so would definitely leave a NT 6 year old. DS' friends live up to 8 miles away so if it is at a house and there is nothing nearby then I may stay. If it is at a community hall, church hall, soft play generally they are near other shops or somewhere I can go and have a coffee and perhaps a bite to eat. If there wasn't anything like that around then I would stay as well if it wasn't worth me going back home.

tumbletumble Fri 05-Jul-13 09:57:56

I leave my DCs at parties from age 5.

halcyondays Fri 05-Jul-13 11:13:13

why are you even thinking about this now if your ds is only 20 months?
ime parents usually only stay at soft play parties, if it"s in a hall or someone"s house nearly everyone will drop and run, unless their child has allergies, toilet issues, is very shy etc, etc. there are lots of perfectly valid reasons why parents might feel the need to stay.

TanglednotTamed Fri 05-Jul-13 11:17:37

I don't leave my 5year old at parties. He is coeliac, and has to take a special party meal of his own. I (or DH) stay to make sure that he gets that meal and that no-one puts anything else on his plate. If something with gluten goes on his plate, then the whole plate and any other food on it has to be dumped.

There still has not been a single party where some well-meaning parent has not tried to dump a sandwich/crisp/cake etc. on his plate!

Luckily at our school quite a few parents tend to stay at parties (they are often put on in the school hall or similar, anyway). Several toddler/baby siblings are usually in attendance, they just toddle around in the background. They don't join in the meal or anything, just play nearby. It's not a problem.

BlackeyedSusan Fri 05-Jul-13 11:23:37

mybe the child has an allergy and needs to have the food they eat supervised.
maybe the child has sen and needs a familiar adult with them.

we all tend to stay and have a chat though. also people are very understanding about siblings.

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