Leaving children at party etiquette(320 Posts)
We had our child’s 6th birthday party and two of the parents just dropped their children off and came back a few hours later to pick them up. It may not have been so bad if I had met the people and their child before but I didn’t even have a clue who their kids were and all of a sudden I have been given the responsibility of not only hosting a party for 15 kids, looking after my own 3 children, aged 6, 2 and 6 months but now another two people’s children. To top it off one of the kids was really badly behaved and upset the other kids and then also when the parents collected their children they left without saying goodbye and didn’t even thank me for the party or looking after their children. I just don’t get why someone would leave their kids with someone they’ve never met, they could be leaving them with peodophiles or they could be abducted by someone else If I wasn’t paying attention to them or get lost and hurt and I’d be the one held responsible for it... am I being unreasonable to think that 6 is too young to leave your child at a party with someone you’ve never met before?
YANBU at all. I've seen kids younger than that being dropped off and I've been horrified.
I think 6 is fine. Personally I'd just double check before RSVP'ing but I'd expect at 6 for others to leave their kids with me if they wanted.
Well it is cheeky, but if you had 15 kids and only two dumped their kids, were there not other parents there?
gate crashers or invited in which case how did it happen ?
At my daughter’s 6th birthday one of the parents left theirs because she had to go to work but she asked me if I’d mind first. Not checking you’re ok to supervise is not on really
YANBU. One of my DDs bdays is in Sep oldest in class. Just started reception and some children were just dumped. Cheeky, irresponsible and uncaring. Ive noticed a common denominator over the years. They all brats. The parents cant wait to get rid of them.
I have never heard of parents staying at a 6 year old’s birthday party, did you honestly expect all the parents to stay? Where did you hold the party? Can you host 15 children and parents?
I found it a pain if parents did stay at parties, much easier to organise without loads of parents milling around aimlessly. Fine to ask a couple of your friends to help, but that would be enough.
It was normal from school age 10 years ago, preschool 1/2 parents did stay
YABU fairly typical here to leave 6 year olds. More unusual for parents to stay. Normally parents would ask some friends or other family members to stay to keep an eye on the group.
I had one parent do this at my ds party this weekend. They are 6 too. However, she did ask and I do know her and her dd but not very well. She's in the same class as ds at school. She also didn't say thanks.
I was a bit surprised but found myself saying yes as it was an organised party and I knew her dd would be no trouble. It wasn't really a problem I guess but not something I d do and probably would have said no if wasn't a shared party, dh was there and it was one of those organised parties with a firm.
coconut I never realised the etiquette about staying with your child, I dropped my 3 year old at a party, the mother did look a little surprised but didn’t say anything and it didn’t really dawn on me until afterwards that I should have stayed . He was a very confident child who had no issue being left.
Where I live, parents typically stay at parties for age 5 and below, but then start to drop and leave.
Around here there is a watershed at the start of school. Parents leave their mobile numbers generally.
I suppose it’s quite a small community, and people feel that their child is safe as part of a group.
Just to clarify its the specific children in my dds class who are brats that have been left at parties from 4 years not saying all children who are left at parties are brats.
From about half way through the reception year it’s normal to drop and run! Always say thank you though.
Happy birthday to your child and hope they (and you!) enjoyed the party!
At my son’s fourth birthday party recently, the parents / accompanying relative all stayed for the party, and i think at 4 they need it.
By six I think most kids have got the hang of toilets / washing hands / asking for things so you probably wouldn’t have to “look after” them too much?
They should have thanked you and said goodbye of course.
Perfectly normal around here, leafy M/C area to drop from reception, by yr 1 it is very unusual to stay. We usually get phone numbers of parents and would know them from the school gate. I personally would check ok to drop and give my number but many parents don't. With 15 guests only 2 being dropped off there must have been around 13 other adults that is a ratio of less than 1:2. In class there is often a ratio of 1:15 Or even 1:30, how do you think teachers cope?
Normal to drop off at age 6 imo but not normal to do it ninja style without saying hello or thank you at the end.
I’m more gobsmacked at the child not saying thank you. What terrible manners! 😱
I would expect kids to be left at a party aged 6. I would be surprised if parents stayed tbh.
Normal to leave a 6 year old surely. My eldest is 25 and I remember his 6rh birthday party, no parent stayed and I wouldn't expect them to either.
I’m afraid YABU - I would absolutely hate parents to stay at a 6 year olds party, especially in my house
The stuff about paedophilia, abduction or injury is just nuts - it’s a birthday party for a 6 year old! The first 2 are wildly improbable, the 3rd is part & parcel of holding a party.
However YADNBU to be annoyed they didn’t thank you or chat a bit to you at end when they collected.
Doesnt matter where you live. Its not free child care either. If im running round sorting everything for example in a hired room where you bring everything why should i have to supervise other children of infant school age?
At 6 years old I would assume a 'dump and run' would be ok!
I used to leave my ds aged 6 at parties as I had ds1 at the time and wouldn’t want to add a baby to the party mix but I always checked with parents and most of time knew other parents who were staying at the party.
Bit of both here. Often one mum takes several kids from the class and some of us stay. But that's mainly because we're friendly and like to stay for a gossip.
Obviously always thanked etc. Think it is more normal for younger siblings partly because you really don't want older siblings hanging out at a party for 6yr olds and also they see older siblings going alone to party so see that as normal. Mine were most put out when I did stay when they were 4/5.
There have been loads of threads on here before about this but here goes, in my world it is perfectly normal to drop 6 year olds at a party, and assume that they will be supervised and fed by the hosts. I have hosted many parties over the years, and if I happened to have a young baby at the time I got family in to help or had the party at a venue that supplied help. I wouldn't have the
headspace for 15 sets of parents in my home. Not thanking you or saying goodbye is rude though.
Parents staying at a six year olds party? Things must have changed since mine were little. I don't remember parents staying once they started school.
Surely supervising other people's children is part and parcel of having a party? Round here parents stayed in reception but not from year one onwards.
YABU. Most parents stopped staying at year 1. By year 2, which I assume your child is, no one will be staying.
Really? You invited 15 children (presumably from your DD's Y1 class as she's 6) and you've never met the parents or children? In almost 18 months at school? Why?
I'm gobsmacked that 13 out of 15 patents stayed. In Yr 1?! I don't think anyone stayed at any of my (3) children's 6th birthday parties and I didn't stay at any of the (maybe 10+ each) 6th birthday parties they were invited too.
However, myself and my children would always have thanked the host.
I only stay if one of the kids is having a funny five minutes that day and want me (rare) or it’s a mum who is a mate and I fancy a chat. Or sometimes if they look a bit over whelmed/have been a bit ambitious with the numbers! But totally normal to drop and run here (London, state school, Naice area). Sometimes I come back for the last half hour and help out with the feeding/tidying up.
It's cheeky. Unless invitation specifically says drop off, then the parents need to stay and supervise. Unfair to expect host parents to do that, they gave enough to be getting in with.
It was at a busy trampolining place and yes it was fine to have 15 parents there as there was a cafe and we had a tab for the parents to get drinks and food if they wanted.
Maybe it’s just me as I would just be too worried leaving my 6 year old with someone I didn’t know.
I'd rather not have a house full of parents if I was hosting.. I leave my dd1, but check first. She loves the independence
I think it’s fine/normal to drop and run for a 6th party.
But extremely rude not to thank the party host at the end.
My child has only been at the school for a few months as we’ve recently moved here, hence why I hadn’t met all the parents. I had met most of the others, but funnily enough not the two that left
Drop and run from reception round here. There are a couple of children who don't like to be left and the mums usually apologise for staying when everyone else has gone!
It's normal etiquette at 6 to drop and run - in fact sometimes people specify that parents need to leave because of space, usually some stick around - especially of there's nothing nearby to do. Not everyone has childcare for siblings or may have other errands to run. Round here people usually enlist help when hosting a party to make sure the kids will be supervised.
It was rude not to have their children thank you for the party.
Ah, didn’t see your post about it being a trampoline party. I wouldn’t necessarily leave my 5/6 year old at a party at a busy trampoline venue where the party hosts couldn’t possibly keep a watchful eye over every child (unless you had the place to yourselves?)
Quite normal here for school aged children to be left at parties.
YABU. At our school people start dropping and running in Y1. Now DD is in Y2 she’d be mortified if I stayed as it would be considered very babyish for her mum to stay
We have had requests of kids only parties - my child is 4......
Did you actually pay for the parents to bounce? When we have been to those trampoline parties only 1 or 2 adults are included in the party price and you're not allowed near the trampolines unless you've paid and are wearing the special socks. If parents stay they go up to the cafe and just reappear when it's time to collect their child. The only time I've seen any parents stay was if they had younger siblings who wanted to bounce too.
We were asked bu DD to “dump” her at parties around Spring term in Reception unless it was a soft play party.
I may have met some parents before but in Most cases it was a “hey, I am DD’s mum” case.
So for 6 year olds it is perfectly normal. I always insist on a phone number though when greeting a child.
Not saying thank you is not nice but hardly a disaster.
I'm at the point where is love to drop DD off and go. She's 5 and very confident but the few parties her class have had the parents have made it very clear that they expect you to stay with your children.
I just don't see the need at this age. They can go to toilet with no or very little help and are quite capable of asking for something if needed.
I understand when it's a busy place like soft play but when it's just a village hall or someone's house, it seems so silly.
I think it like most things when j comes down to parenting choices like this - its down to communication. If you were wary
of watching 15 children in a place like that, & you wanted parents to stay, you should have put it on the invitations.
Drop and run didn’t really happen until 7+
Most parents had a similar outlook. And yes the badly behaved ones were usually the ones who’s parents had left but maybe that’s why they were naughty! No parents to keep them in check.
Depends on the venue, their ages and also if you know or have met parents and this is agreed and understood or some informal level. Too many variables for it to be yes or no. For what amounts to total strangers leaving their young children with you in a public space with no introduction or then a thank You is not on at all. I would have been unhappy about this, especially given the fact it wasn’t even in your home.
I quite like going to my son’s friends’ parties he is only four and most of them have lovely mums. We all have a cup of tea and watch them flinging themselves about. It’s normally the only time I get to sit down and eat cake and drink something vaguely hot. Result.
I wouldn’t expect the parents to stay. However, I would expect the parents to speak to the host, and give a mobile mumber before leaving.
They were rude not to say hi, bye etc but leaving kids at 6 is totally the norm here. My kids would never have it but most do.
Realistically at any party place or hired place those children who are dropped off and left are not supervised. The host is too busy. Ive seen children go outside buildings and stopped them (not my dds party) have toilet accidents and eat food thats i know is against their religion.
My DD is 6 nearly 7 and in Yr 2. If she is invited to a soft play type party where the venue is open to Joe public aswell then I stay, however if it is a ‘closed event’ in a community hall or someone’s home I drop and go and have been doing this for the past year. The only parents who seem to stay at these parties now are those whose DC have SN. I do always leave a contact number with the hosts and expect DD to thank them upon leaving.
YABU. Completely normal to drop and go for a sixth birthday. I would find it unusual if a parent stayed at six. Quite normal to drop and go for fifth birthdays as well, although usually quite a few stay.
When I've hosted parties for both of mine at 6 I think some people stayed and some dropped them off - I always have plenty of drinks and nibbles for the parents if they want to stay, but equally I don't mind the kids being left. I always have plenty of adult helpers in the way of family around.
I find ppl here in Ireland do that A LOT my little one has had her last 3 birthdays here and her 4th and 5th birthdays most of the parents just drop and leave. I have never done it, I just can’t bring myself to do it. Whenever I bring her to s party I’m always told I don’t have to stay and this is in public soft play places. My nephew once got locked in a bathroom at a party for somewhere between 10-20 mins (he was 7) NO ONE knew where he was for that duration so he was unaccounted for!! That freaks the crap out of me as ANYTHING could have happened!!
No, it wouldn't occur to me to stay. It's a bit odd that people are complaining about having to supervise children at a children's birthday party of their own initiative and organising! If you don't do supervision of groups of children very well, make the move to a bestie cinema trip or similar for next year's party.
Around my way, it would be very unusual to stay at a 6 year olds party.
Some drop and run at 4 yo, most at 5, and I only know one mum who stayed for her 6yo.
I provide booze and bbq for the adults. They all stay .
Dd is a summer born 5 and I’m friends with most of the parents.
There is general supervision like making sure all the children have eaten, arent injuring one another, organising games etc. But in a public place you cant follow every child around or accompany them to the toilet.
I wouldn't expect parents of 6 year olds to stay at a party. Once ds started school parents started leaving children at parties.
I would expect a child who is at school to be left at the party (unless it specifically said that you expected the parent to stay). Likewise, I would expect a parent to stay with a preschool child.
In the future set the expectation on the invitation...?
When my DD was 6, she had her birthday party at home. Only 1 out of 10 guests had a parent stay with them. YABU I'm afraid!
It's normal to drop them off at age 6. I'd always make sure they have a contact number for us and say thank you.
The etiquette clearly varies from region to region.
Some places, hosts would be 'wtf?' if a parent tried to stay for a 5 year old.
Other places, like this one, hosts are 'wtf?' If they don't stay for a 6 year old.
No set rule. So, at 4yo (when it starts), write your expectations on invite.
But in a public place you cant follow every child around or accompany them to the toilet.
Surely that isn't required for a group of 6 year olds? They tend to take themselves to the loo when needed by that age (most don't need to go during a 2 hour party). Whenever I've done parties I've always had backup (friends and family usually) to help with the masses.
Normal to leave school age children at a party.
In future, don't invite more guests than you are prepared to host.
Drop and run quite normal in year 1 round here.
I just made it clear when DD was an infant where I stood. I am friendly with nearly every parent in her class. Most of them are of the same mindset. We would all stay at the parties drink coffee and eat cake. Its different now they are older.
I wouldn't assume it was drop and run in year one unless it explicitly said so.
Once they are in school we always drop and leave, in nursery we stay.
I dont personally want a five/six year old going to a toilet in a public place alone.
I always plan children's parties giving consideration to the age and number of children invited, and choose the activity and venue to suit.
I don't understand when people say the hosts are too busy to supervise the children, what are they doing, assuming it's a party venue? The venue cook the food and serve it, bring out the cake, entertain the kids, what else is there to do? The toilets are usually in the same room and the door is locked and manned by staff so no chance of kids escaping. Or are only Irish party venues like this? Genuinely curious.
I'm a bit surprised that you don't know the parents of your 6 y.o DC friends tbh. I used to know all my DCs friends parents at that age.
Nevertheless, they should really have cleared it with you to go, as a 6 y.o. is very young - still an infant.
To just ditch the child and bugger off without making sure it's OK is a bit rude. Especially if you don't know the people!
YANBU, really rude not to arrange it with you first.
Much less work to look after (ignore while they play) a bunch of kids than it is to run around making drinks and waiting on accompanying adults imo. And if you don’t have a big house parents staying halves the number of friends your child can invite.
At 6 most people drop off where we are. I always check with host it's ok to go/offer to stay and help but I don't expect everyone does. I have my husband, sister and parents around to help supervise. I would be struggling for space if all parents stayed.
Round here for pre-school age you stay unless you know the other parent outside the nursery. In reception it's about 50/50 depending on the confidence levels of the kids and type of party. By year 1 it's pretty much always drop and run unless requested on invitation or you know the parents outside school.
I always ensured I had enough people on hand that I felt happy. Called in aunts/uncles and grandparents or I booked a party somewhere the venue did everything.
Slight side note, I'm not sure if be thrilled at a trampolining party at one these new-ish parks unless it was sole use. Too much potential for injury or accidents at 6, I'd do something like that at 9, 10, 11.
Blimey I left mine at reception parties onwards. Everyone did. I guess we knew each other tho as they were at school together and we saw parents/GPS at pick up.
Did you have 13 parents at the party op? That sounds like a bit of a mare tbh.
This always seems fairly 50/50 split. In camp one- if they are toilet trained they're old enough to go on their own, car slowed down but not completely stopped outside of venue and away parents speed (my parents, what I'd like to do) v's the can't be unsupervised u too at least 25- and all siblings will be tagging along too brigade. I didn't realise staying was a 'thing' until we had a party for 5 year olds. No one left and I hadn't catered for the adults. Have learnt my lesson now.
Drop and run from reception age for my three and their peers.
Here the general rule of thumb is that once they are school age it’s drop and go with parents quickly introducing themselves before leaving.
I always assume that now and I wouldn’t be able to recognise most of the other parents as I’m never at the school so only see them at the parties.
OK read the thread now
Yy I also don't understand what the host has to do apart from supervise the guests. What else are you all doing, writing your Christmas cards or sonething? It's the job of the hosts to supervise - 6yos can take themselves to the loo (may ask where to go) and should be able to manage party games and tea. I tried not to invite more than Dh and I could wrangle together.
For ds I don't think ive ever stayed for a party once he was at school! DD I do as she has SEN and can't/won't communicate with other adults. Parties I've hosted at home it is really annoying when parents stay. You can't run the party and make small talk but feel rude not to. At a venue, you've got entertainment for the kids so if parents want to stay and chat fair enough!
They didn’t just leave their child on their own with someone they didn’t know though. They left them with 14 of their class mates and several parents from their child’s class. Plus it was a supervised activity. It’s not like they left them at a sleepover at your house without meeting you first.
Children who are left at party venues are very rarely supervised. Ive seen this so many times.
I know my dsis drops my 6 year old nephews at parties and has done for a year. Its kinda how birthday parties work after 5. Id be more surprised if parents stayed. Maybe one or two parents to help as prearranged but no more than that
My eldest is in Year 2 and most parents still stay.
Somewhere public like a busy trampolining place, soft play etc, then it’s definitely still normal for whoever’s brought the children to stick around.
Somewhere more private, like a hired community hall, then dropping and leaving is getting more usual, but parents who live further out from the venue are still generally sticking around.
Probably more because the extra driving is a PITA for a 2 hour drop and run party that’s 30 mins + away than because the kids need the extra supervision.
There’s been very few parties in classmates homes.
At 6 I think it is fine. I was ok when mine hit reception for them to be left. When you have more than 1 it becomes harder to remain without the issue of what to do with the older/younger ones.
Quite a few parents seem to treat a party as an afternoon with free childcare.
I did a swimming party for DD when she was 8. It was the easiest party ever, had the pool to ourselves, food and party bags provided, I just did a cake.
However one parent dropped her daughter off and failed to mention she couldn't swim. Luckily I noticed that she didn't seem to be moving well in the water while they were playing ball in the shallow end. When the pool attendants suggested heading to the deep end for some jumping in I asked her if she was OK in the deep end and she replied "well, it's just that I can't swim"....
If you do a swimming party I strongly advise checking children can swim!
I had my DS 5th birthday at home last week, new to the area so no one knows us except hello at school since August. All age 5 classmates. No parents stayed, a couple text to ask and I said just drop off. It would have been much harder to have entertained parents too so I'm really glad no one insisted on staying. Kids had a ball!
We had DD6 party recently and all parents left bar one who helped is out as she is a friend as well as parent of DD friend.
TBH we only invited children who we are familiar with through playdates/ after school activities. Children that my child is actually friends with. I think your mistake was inviting children that you don't know.
Also having to look after siblings when you're meant to be hosting a party for one of your other children adds to the stress. I am not saying they shouldn't have been there but perhaps someone else in your family could have kept an eye on them leaving you to concentrate on the party.
There is no excuse for bad behaviour or bad manners though and I am sorry that you had to experience that- I hope your child managed to have a fun party.
I should have clarified from the beginning that it was in a public busy trampolining place, the parents didn’t have to sit there and watch the kids if they didn’t want and there was a tab at the cafe for them to get whatever they wanted.
We didn’t have the place all to ourselves.
All my family live overseas so didn’t have the extra hands unfortunately. :-( just me and DH
I wanted my child to have the best party as has recently started at the school hence why I didn’t know all the parents and I also thought it was a good opportunity to get to know the parents whilst the kids were playing.
My child did have the best time, said it was the best day ever! Lol and apart from the one child that was left misbehaving it was okay with them being left really.
I was just asking as I, myself wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving my child in a public place, especially if they could get hurt etc but I suppose it’s highly dependant on the event, circumstances and your own choice.
Thanks everyone, I think for the next birthday I’ll ask if the parents want to stay or leave their kids. That way there’s no surprises.
I've left my DS2 (5) a couple of times, but have notified others there in advance or before leaving. I have DS1 to consider too. One party straddled his sports lesson, at another it was in a sports hall, so we went swimming up the opposite end of the building rather than DS1 sitting on the sidelines for two hours.
Generally parents stay to socialise and there's very little actual supervision or support required. DS2 is a very competant, confident sort of child who is happy to get himself sorted for any rare queries required.
I state drop off here as do most parents
On the odd occasion that someone doesn't state drop off on the invite I always plan to stay and leave if the parent seems to expect me to
DS is 6
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