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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.

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'

GeorgianMumto5 Tue 18-Jun-13 11:12:46

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.

GeorgianMumto5 Tue 18-Jun-13 11:16:14

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.

HorryIsUpduffed Tue 18-Jun-13 12:59:36

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.

Thisisaeuphemism Tue 18-Jun-13 13:05:25

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

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Tue 18-Jun-13 13:09:21

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'.

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