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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.

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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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