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To think you shouldn't leave 4 year olds at parties alone?

(115 Posts)
RaisingMen Sat 13-Dec-14 20:50:15

Just that really. I understand it's fine to drop off older children and pick them up when the party has finished, but 4 year olds?

I have taken my son to two parties today. The first one this morning was at a local soft play centre and a mum I have never spoken to before made small talk with me before announcing she was off to finish her Christmas shopping and would pick her son up when the party finished two hours later. Fine I thought, she must have arranged this with the host parents. Nope, they knew nothing about it either and it was left to me to watch him, take him to the loo, get his party food for him etc.

I thought this was a one off until this afternoons party, this time in a room attached to a pub. Not secure, could walk in and out freely, next to a main road, you get the picture.

There were about 40 children at this one and it was very fucking a bit crazy. My son kept coming over to me for a drink with his friend in tow, who was also saying how thirsty he was too. I assumed his parents were there and I kept telling him to go and ask his mummy or daddy to get him a drink. (The free juice wasn't out yet so you had to buy drinks from the bar). This went on for a good hour, the poor lad was sweating and clearly hadn't had a drink so I asked him where his mummy and daddy were - surprise surprise they were at home, so off I went to buy him a drink. Once again ended up looking after an extra child, had to take him to the loo, get his party food etc.

Is this the norm? Am I being unreasonable to think that if your child is not old enough to go themselves a drink/go for a wee then you shouldn't leave them alone at a party for two hours? All you're really doing is passing the childcare on to someone else and not having the decency to let them know you're doing so. So AIBU? Do you stay with your children at birthday parties?

Casmama Sat 13-Dec-14 20:54:05

I would always stay with a four year old. My DS is now five and I'm not sure what age is appropriate to leave them but agree it's not 4.

Cantbelievethisishappening Sat 13-Dec-14 20:54:36

I have never stayed with any of mine at a party. I also haven't seen other parents stay either. Dropped them off then picked them up a few hours later.

thenightsky Sat 13-Dec-14 20:55:28

Well I'm old and probably out of touch but I had 15 boys for DS's 4th birthday party and not one parent stayed. It was wacky warehouse style thing attached to pub. It was a hot summer day and all the doors and windows were open. I didn't lose a single lad grin

RaisingMen Sat 13-Dec-14 20:55:32

Can I ask how old they are Cantbelieve?

TooHasty Sat 13-Dec-14 20:56:23

Absolutely the norm here for children to be left from the age of about three and a half to four.I would have expected a 4 year old to go to the toilet by himself? How does he manage at school? The host parents should be looking after the Dc not you!

fatterface Sat 13-Dec-14 20:56:28

By the time they are at school some parents will drop and go. Odd to have children's parties where children need so much supervision/drinks bought for them though - sounds like it wasn't made clear on the invite that parents had to accompany their child?

DuelingFanjo Sat 13-Dec-14 20:56:56

No, you just can't leave a four year old at a party at soft play. Totally out of order. Children still have to be supervised and surely the hosts of the party have enough to do without supervising another child?

Why did that responsibility default to you?

18yearstooold Sat 13-Dec-14 20:57:33

Once they started school I know I could have left them at a party

Probably wouldn't at the pub but the soft play definitely

Iggly Sat 13-Dec-14 20:57:53


helensburgh Sat 13-Dec-14 20:57:54

Completely agree, drives me mental the assumption that other parents will babysit while they swan off to do better things.

Adults don't like children's parties generally so today's society of selfish numpties don't want to do something they don't like whether it puts their kids at risk or not.

Bloody nightmare

Summerisle1 Sat 13-Dec-14 20:58:55

My recollection is that you generally stayed with 4 year olds. The magic age for drop and run seemed to be 5 onwards. By which time, children are school age and much more independent as well as being used to being away from parents.

DGD1 will be four in 3 weeks time. I think ddil would be very surprised if all dgd's party guests (same age) were simply bunged through the door like parcels and picked up afterwards.

littlejohnnydory Sat 13-Dec-14 20:59:26

I stay with my 7 and 5 year olds so other end of the scale! I agree that until they can be independent with toilet, food etc and be confident to be left, a parent needs to stay. The only time I have left my 5 year old at a party is at a friend's house, who she knew very well, when it was made clear that parents weren't staying as there wasn't really room and my did was happy to be looked after by the host. She absolutely wouldn't need taking to the toilet or help to pour a drink either.

DuelingFanjo Sat 13-Dec-14 20:59:30

Amazed to hear this is the norm for people, I am having my DS's fourth birthday next week, at soft play, and all the parents will be staying (I hope) - we've not been to one party this year where kids were just left.

Bulbasaur Sat 13-Dec-14 20:59:40

That's why when you have a party, you never invite more kids than you can supervise safely.

RaisingMen Sat 13-Dec-14 20:59:56

Really thenighsky?! Maybe it's me then! I think every parent stayed at DS1's party, although I suppose a few of them could have left on the sly!

I don't think it's a problem as long as your child can look after themselves, but the two children who were left today couldn't and so someone else (me!) had to step in.

zoemaguire Sat 13-Dec-14 21:00:10

Norm round here is to drop off at reception parties. I don't have space at home for 12-odd children plus a parent each!

negrilbaby Sat 13-Dec-14 21:00:22

I have left my 4 year old DD but only with another (known) parent who I would have spoken to prior to the party and asked them to watch her. I would then reciprocate. We are in a small village so everyone knows everyone else and no one worries if not every parent stays.
What was unreasonable was not providing drinks for children throughout a party!

mewkins Sat 13-Dec-14 21:00:47

At dd's 4th birthday none of the children were left and at all of the 5th parties we have been to since starting school in September all of the parents have stayed.

moomoo1967 Sat 13-Dec-14 21:01:04

From when my DD was approx that age whenever I took her to a party the hosts never encouraged me or other parents to stay, because their houses were too small to accommodate all the children or the parents or because they were quite happy to just have the children at the party. Maybe less to cater for or like I said lack of space. I think I only every stayed at one party and that is because I had offered to help. I never minded when DD had a party that the parents left either

RaisingMen Sat 13-Dec-14 21:01:14

Re the toilet thing, they could 'go' by themselves but in both cases the doors were out in corridors through heavy fire doors that they couldn't open them by themselves.

cogitosum Sat 13-Dec-14 21:01:20

I think it depends on whether it's 3-4 or 4-5. At the latter they're at school so would leave. But guess it's the former and it's a 4th birthday so lots will be 3 in which case no.

TooHasty Sat 13-Dec-14 21:01:25

If you invite a child to the party, the assumption is you will look after them, same as a playdate.Surely by 4 theycan take themselves to the toilet, not run off etc.

moomoo1967 Sat 13-Dec-14 21:01:40

But then again my DD is now 14 things may have changed

redskybynight Sat 13-Dec-14 21:02:08

From memory I think about half the parents stayed at parties when their DC were 4. I think the parents that stayed generally had the less confident children (i.e. the DC didn't want to be left). I think if you are the party host you need to make sure you have sufficient people to supervise or make it very clear you want parents to stay.

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