Mortified - should we leave?(102 Posts)
My 2.5 year old was invited to his first party buba boy at nursery who has turned 3. I was so excited for him to go, but we are there right now. An hour in and an still hour to go. He is behaving terribly!
Won't play with anyone, won't sit at the table to eat, won't talk, won't engage at all. Won't even take his cardigan off and it's boiling. He can be quite a shy child, and takes time to warm up. But this is more than shyness, he is being rude with it.
WIBU to just pretend he is feeling unwell, make our excuses and leave?
There are only 10 kids, including him. So can't even hide in the crowd. I so wanted him to have a good time and I feel he is spoiling it for everyone.
No don’t leave, any decent parent will understand and it possibly feels worse to you than it possibly is. It’s a first party for both of you and it’s just a bit overwhelming for him but it’ll get better x
He's only a baby!! At 2 and a half you can't expect him to socialise much
I’d just tell the host that he may be feeling a bit overwhelmed at his first party so you’re going to take him home. Don’t worry or tell a fib, a lot of kids struggle at parties initially!
It's fine to leave. Don't feel embarrassed. Just say hes not really coping with it so you'll take him home now but thanks for the invite and you hope the rest goes well. Say it with a smile. As a mum I wouldn't bat an eyelid at a toddler needing to leave early.
If he's the only one misbehaving, I'd leave. If (more likely) it isn't a party of perfectly behaved kids, I'd stay, but leave promptly at the end.
Ten is a big group for a 3yo party!
My DD can be like this because she is very shy. I'd stick with it. Is there an activity he particularly enjoys that you can try and get him excited about?
My DD really likes the little boy next door, talks about him all the time. Every time she sees him she completely blanks him, he tries to play with her and she just looks at the floor. It's so frustrating but she'll grow out of it.
If he really is spoiling it for the others, then I would take him home tbh. I’d thank the host, say what a lovely time he’s had etc, but he’s obviously getting very tired and you don’t want him to spoil it for the others.
I feel he is spoiling it for everyone
If you think this is true, then leave.
He's 2, just leave him be. The host has a 3 yr old. Shell just be glad it's not hers out of sorts.
I agree with PP just tell her he's a bit overwhelmed. Leave if you want but I would just let him crack on at his own pace with little input from you unless needed.
He’s 2 years old, no one in their right mind would think he was being purposely rude - babies don’t have that level of processing capacity. I’d stay close to him, reassure him and let him stay unless he’s distressed.
Just to add there isn't a mother alive who doesn't recognise this shit in a toddler. None, it's nothing to be mortified about.
How is he spoiling it though? Just because he won't sit at the table or play with the others it's not affecting them surely? If he doesn't want to sit down just bring him a plate, and don't make a big deal of it
Possibly controversial but I’m going to suggest that if his behaviour is disrupting the party and ruining it for the birthday boy then YABU to stay.
I say this as I used to work at Kid’s Birthday parties and quite often there was one child who’s behaviour totally destroyed any party atmosphere and who upset other children and it would have always been much better if the child’s parent would have taken them home. These parties had cost a lot of money and taken lots of effort and so the party child’s parent were often pretty upset at the fact one child’s behaviour had ruined their child’s special day. I used to be there as things were winding down and the children had left and the parent of the badly behaved child would be dragged through the mud and the family of the birthday child would inevitably say “why couldn’t they just have taken him home rather than ruin it for everyone?!”. They didn’t feel like they could ask the badly behaved child to leave a party, understandably.
These were usually infant school aged children so much older than your little one. You also sound lovely and considerate and not at all oblivious like the parents above!
It’s not his fault at all and I can imagine it’s a bit overwhelming for him. It doesn’t sound like he’s enjoying himself either. Perhaps leaving early would be best for him and you? I’m sure the party family would understand. As he gets older and gets a few more parties under his belt I’m sure things will gradually improve.
He should not have the choice to keep his cardigan on at 2.5 years old. You are the parent, you make these decisions.
He isn't behaving terribly. He is just a 2yo. Perhaps it's a bit much for him. It's fine to say that to the host and leave.
He is feeling shy and overwhelmed and you are seeing it as rudeness
He sounds like a perfectly normal toddler. I'd leave a little early but only because it sounds as though he's had enough and is overwhelmed. Two hours is a long time for children so young.
In fact I'd probably leave every sooner rather than later.
Just take his cardigan off! Good grief.
I think you’re overthinking this, OP. He’s not being “rude” and unless he’s snatching people’s things and throwing them on the floor, or screaming so loudly people’s ears are bleeding, I’m sure he’s not spoiling the party for everyone else.
Let him join in if he wants, leave him if he doesn’t. It’s his first party; he’s probably overwhelmed. Take him home if he wants to go or if he’s being horrifically naughty but don’t take him home for anyone else’s sake just because he doesn’t feel like joining in. Let him watch.
But for pity’s sake just take his cardigan off him!
Please stop seeing this as rudeness. It is nothing of the sort.
If it’s stressing you out take him home, but do NOT be upset with him.
Take him outside for a breath of fresh air
Decide if he's overwhelmed or being naughty, then decide what you're doing.
Are you going and playing with him to help.
It is coming across as you being embarassed that he won't join in, rather than him actually spoiling the party. Were you more excited than he was about the party (you mention 'I was so excited for him to go) because he is still young and if he is shy, then it may be overwhelming for him.
I think I probably would take him home if he's not enjoying it. If I was one of the other parents I might wonder why you were making him stay if he was struggling with it but I don't think I would see him as rude - he's too small to be expected to pretend he's having fun if he's not.
If it's not working for him for whatever reason then just take him home! Don't lie, just explain that's it's not working for him, thank the host for inviting him and leave.
Obviously we're not there so we can't be sure, but I'm willing to bet he's not causing as much of a fuss as you think he is. They're 2 and 3 year olds, normal people don't really expect much of them at parties. So long as he isn't breaking things or physically hurting the other children I doubt anyone is really bothered.
If he genuinely is ruining the party for others I'd take him out. If he's just not really joining in, then I don't think there's any need for you to leave.
The other parents will totally understand either way - don't feel mortified!
Is not joining in misbehaving or is he kicking off and making a fuss?
He's 2. He's hardly going out his way to "be rude". Cut him some slack, it's probably very overwhelming for someone so small. Being shy & quiet is hardly acting terribly. I doubt very much he's ruining the party - he's only ruining your idyllic mental image of how you wanted him to act.
My dd went through a phase where she always kicked off at parties. After the first two or three I started warning her that if she did it we'd be going straight home - only had to act on it once (at the next party!) and she didn't do it again.
If he's disrupting the party, I'd go home.
He’s not really being rude if he’s 2.5. He’s just having a new experience and dealing with it how he can. Parents will understand. Stick it out, it’s the only way he will learn.
He's not being disruptive though, he's just not being as sociable as you think he should be.
Plenty of adults are pretty much like this at parties as well, there's nothing rude about it. Not everyone is a party animal. Maybe socialising comes easy to you so you don't understand that?
He’s not even three, he’s behaving like little kids do!
Thank you all. We stayed in the end. Leaving now. He warmed up a little bit, but not much. I think (hopefully) he was
Feeling pretty bad right now, because he actually seems a bit under the weather. He was ok first thing, but I sense something is brewing.
I did take the cardigan off, but didn't force it at first because I just didn't want to cause a scene.
My two year old is an absolute nightmare, he can create havoc in an empty room so I totally sympathise. They are really young though and all the other parents will just be glad it's not their kid.
FWIW I also have a three year old who behaves beautifully in those situations. It's not your parenting, a lot of the time it's just their personality.
Sorry - posted that too early. But basically wanted to say he wasn't being loudly disruptive or anything, just wouldn't join in. I felt like he was bring the mood of the party down a bit - even the entertainer gave up on him. But I don't think the other kids really cared. Probably more just me. Hopefully the other parents understand and if we don't get any more invitations for a while, that is fine by me!
It will feel like this to you but I doubt the other parents will notice. They will be too busy wrangling their own children and noticing all the minor things they are doing. Unless he is hitting other kids, pushing, biting and throwing a tantrum no one else will be monitoring how much he joins in.
It is a party. At this age they will all be overwhelmed and hyper. DD’s party was essentially one mass of screaming kids on a bouncy castle.
Aw man I get you op.
It’s so stressful when it should just be fun.
Don’t take him away, he’s still very young and will have plenty of parties to go to.
Won't play with anyone, won't sit at the table to eat, won't talk, won't engage at all.
This doesn't sound like bad behaviour, just overwhelmed/shy behaviour.
Just hang out with him and he may well warm up. My older ones were both the same.
Any one who judges hasn’t had a young child recently
If you would feel more comfortable going, then just say.... oh he’s in a bit of a mood and tired, we will head off, really sorry.
Or if you would like to stick, then just ride it out. Will be over soon
I so wanted him to have a good time of course you did and you're disappointed he is acting up by refusing to join in but in future please don't worry about others if he is otherwise sitting quietly.
Don't feel bad - just leave. Thank the host, leave the pressie & get out as gracefully as he will allow!
I've been there - all kids have 'those' days & usually at THE most inconvenient time! I remember 1 party in particular where my son was a nightmare & I eventually left with him sobbing his head off but 10mins later he was fine & back to his normal self- I figured he'd just been unable to tell me properly what was bothering him.
I would speak to the host parent (or send a note), saying thanks for the party and mentioning the shyness. Having other parents you get on with and who understand makes a world of difference in these situations.
Aww! He sounds a bit shy! And parties will take a bit of getting used to I think.
I don't think that's bad behaviour unless he's going round snatching kids toys and hitting them on the head with them!
OP don't feel bad he is very little! most if not all parents will have been in similar situations and be understanding..
My DD was shy, what helped her was role play at home about what you do at a party....just made it fun....but got her used to going up to pretend Birthday child and saying Happy Birthday and giving Gift. Sitting at the table..mention yummy food and cake! Blowing candles, wait for Birthday child to do this!!! (my ds would always try to jump in, he was NOT shy)
Also practiced saying Thank you for having me to parent before going.
Then we would talk about what was going to happen in the car on the way to parties each time...and praise on the way home for any good manners....
We often forget they don't automatically know what to do in these situations!
I felt like he was bring the mood of the party down a bit
Are you sure that it wasn't just that it brought your mood down a bit because you'd gone in with such high hopes for how much he'd join in and how much fun he'd have?
He’s 2.5yo. It’s his first peer party. Being overwhelmed will manifest in numerous ways. I wouldn’t sweat it.
I felt like he was bring the mood of the party down a bit - even the entertainer gave up on him.
That sounds really sad. It was his first party! I think you were expecting a bit much, to be honest. Some children don’t want to dive in straight away; some do. My dd19 was always an observer; she’d watch from the sidelines until she was ready to join in. Trying to push her just resulted in anxiety. She even hates being centre of attention now on her birthday and she asks people to talk among themselves when she’s opening presents. She still enjoys them; she’s just very introverted.
Everybody’s different and there’s no right or wrong. It sounds almost as if he was bringing your mood down and you projected this onto “the party”/other people. Next time just let him find his own pace and ease off on the worry. He won’t “catch” introversion from you but if he senses you getting anxious and trying to push him into joining in because you are stressed then he’ll pick up on that.
How does a baby bring the mood of a party down? Give him a cuddle and some reassurance.
Mine did this. She had just turned 3 and I was playing with her in the main play hall etc. But when it was time to go down and eat and have the cake, she wouldn't budge. I was left in there on my own trying to wrangle her down and she was having a right tantrum! We got there in the end. Don't leave. Most parents would have been in similar situations at some point.
2.5 year olds don’t socialize in the way that older kids do. You seem to have very high expectations of how he should behave but what you’ve described sounds quite normal. As long as he’s not having a horrible time you should stay.
This is why I basically think that birthday parties before 4 or 5 years are a really bad idea.
I would let him do his own thing and being him a plate of food. He is still little, bless him. Only take him home if he is hurting other children
OP - good to hear that he warmed up a little before the end. It must have been a bit overwhelming for the him. Just one thing that jumped out at me was when you said "Won't even take his cardigan off and it's boiling.", it was one of the things that my lad who has sensory issues related to autism suffers with. He needs the extra layer of clothing as a sensory thing, even when everyone else is melting with the heat. Actually taking the extra layers off causes more stress and anxiety than any worry of overheating. I think you did the right thing leaving the cardigan on for a bit before taking it off. It would not have helped matters to force him to take it off earlier.
He is usually shy anywhere, at first. But then he becomes super friendly, bubbly, leader of the pack. And these are kids he spends 4 days a week with at nursery. All of them trying to say hello at various points, at first and he just ignored them all.
I just thought he would do his usual shy "bit" then go into his normal mode (he was like that even at his own 2nd birthday at our house, and we had maybe 40/50 guests) and it didn't really happen - guess he needed a longer lead time today than a 2 hour party would allow. I didn't "need" him to be the life and soul of the party, but he quite clearly was the only child behaving significantly differently - though I gave him plenty of cuddles and encouragement whilst sat on my lap. And I could see others having their moments here and there - we all know no kids are perfectly behaved, especially so young.
But I'll just chalk this one down to experience. I know it's not the end of the world.
I had this with one of mine, many years ago now but I remember it well. She'd be fine at nursery but if she saw anyone outside of the setting it would freak her out a bit. He'll get used to it after another couple of events, he's probably just figuring out that maybe all his friends don't permanently stay at nursery for him to visit there and there only
Perhaps it wasn't so much a case of the entertainer giving up on him as the entertainer recognising that he didn't feel up to joining in and giving him some space.
I don't think I've ever met anyone who thinks a shy two year old at a party is being rude. He just needs more experience of parties, he'll get the hang of it soon enough.
His behaviour sounds just like my 3 year old at a party we went to a while ago. He wouldnt join in with anything and spent the whole party playing with toys in the corner of the sitting room. I was a bit embarrassed but, looking at it from his perspective, he didn’t understand about special birthday party behaviour and probably just thought it was was a play date. 6 months later, at a birthday party in a hall (rather than someone’s house) he joined in 50% of the games, scoffed lots of birthday tea and said thank you at the end! 2.5 is so so little . Also, if you’re naturally a bit shy you may have been projecting a bit, when he was just being a normal 2 year old
He is 2 1/2, YABU to expect anything much at all with regards to joining in games etc. My DS who turns 2 in 2 weeks has spent the last few days shouting 'ow ow ow' every time we try to pick him up or do anything that he doesn't want to do...... we were staying a hotel for two of those days so pretty sure most of the strangers there thought we were constantly hurting our child, I would be happy if he was simply being antisocial or refusing to take his jumper off lol.
Omg you’re being massively unreasonable on your baby. It’s totally totally normal for some young children not to wish to participate in parties. It doesn’t mean you take them home. My dd used to spend most of the time at parties sat on my knee. And I’m not talking about 2.5. I’m talking up to about 6 so the first couple of years at school. Don’t force your child to join in. You will make matters far worse. He will still have enjoyed himself the same as my dd loved going to parties.
The party is about your ds and how he learns to socialise. Not about your expectations.
I think you just have to let him do things at his own pace. A kid's party or play place should always have a quiet spot where kids that don't want to join in or just want a timeout can sit and maybe look at a picture book or something.
I'm not very sociable and find parties difficult, and one of my kids ended up like me. He's still content to sit with a drink and just chat to people he knows. My other son is like his dad, loves to mingle and talk to everyone.
Entertainers are sometimes very frightening for small children ! I STILL hate clowns!!! It's the fact that they are supposed to be entertaining and aren't to some children.
He's not rude he's 2 and a half! Role playing at home is a great idea!
I remember my now (very sociable and confident) 25 yr old behaving like this at his own 3rd Birthday party at home! Think he hid under the table for quite a bit of it. The party guests just got on with it!
Don't expect so much from your dd at her age, and especially don't burden her with what you think the other parents' expectations of her will be. As for spoiling the party atmosphere, I think that's a very adult perspective. The children wouldn't be in the slightest bit bothered!
That's a great idea @feelingverylazytoday
DS has just woken from a long nap with a low grade fever. This definitely wasn't the day for a party!
It’s not a big deal. Lots of children are overwhelmed by parties (as are lots of adults) and haven’t acquired the social skills to handle those feelings. As he wasn’t being disruptive I doubt it even registered with anyone else. I can well remember my own DD’s 5th birthday party when I had to carry her out of the room as she wailed “make them all go home’ at the top of her lungs. Far from ruining it for her guests they didn’t even notice she was gone! The fun continued without her and after some quiet time and a cuddle she enjoyed the rest of the afternoon.
Don't worry, there's always at least one child who doesn't want to join in at a party & this goes on until they are all about 6!
ds thankfully didn't go to any birthday parties at nursery until his preschool year, they just aren't done around here any younger. First birthday ds had with nursery friends was his 4th. Sounds like a waste of time and money to me for 1-3 year olds.
Your family set up sounds just like mine, OP! I'm very quiet, cope better in one on one situations than party style gatherings while DP is very outgoing and thrives on group outings. DS is a mix of both of us and is only a few months older than your DS. When he is in his comfort zone he is a bit of a leader and very bubbly and friendly. When there are more than a few people, he prefers to sit back and watch first and it takes a while for him to warm up too. He also would have refused to take his cardigan off and I wouldn't have forced the issue, either. There's so much that is out of their control at this age that if he is feeling a bit vulnerable/shy/under the weather and keeping his cardigan on helps him feel a bit more secure then I don't have a problem with that for a short while, just like you.
My eldest didn't really relax into birthday parties until he was about 4. Even now in y3 there are always a few who get over excited and turn feral. Don't worry about it - as long as he's not ruining it for birthday boy it'll be fine!
I remember when my DS1 was was turning 3 and he REALLY wanted to have a party at home. So we invited 3 little nursery friends. Said friends all joined in the activities I planned and DS1 wandered around with one of his presents and spent the rest of the time in another room chatting to his grandad. He had a lovely time. I did try to cajole him but to no avail. He's 8 now and still had an attack of nerves before his last party but chatted to everyone. He has a social
anxiety that has manifested in DS2 as well.
DS2 was invited to a lovely party for a 5 year old, didn't speak a word the whole time, sat next to me rigid with fear and didn't join in any of the games. Afterwards he raved about the games, the character that arrived in style and in his head had a brilliant time. I knew that's how he'd be, made no apologies for him and allowed him to experience it as he was able to. Every single adult there understood, as they were parents.
Parties can be overwhelming to shy kids never mind toddlers and they just don't know how to deal with it. Yet.
Oh and both mine would blank friends frantically trying to speak to them and wondering why they got nothing back. I used to over compensate with my own greetings but now I remind them that he takes time to warm up and they all agree. Kids are smart.
You can't be rude at 2.5! Kids this age aren't good at playing together or sharing yet, that comes around 3-4. Just let him do his thing and enjoy and adult conversation ☺
Both of my DC’s were like this at parties. It took several years for them to get over it. You just have to be patient and encourage him as much as you can.
Btw you sound like a lovely mum - try not to worry/panic too much, it's all normal and they're all different (plus of course he's slightly under the weather - we've all been caught-out with things like this).
Does your son deserve to enjoy himself too? is his attendance only meant to please the birthday boy? If yes, stay.
Otherwise why put your child in a situation for 2 hours where he is clearly not enjoying it and it is completely unnecessary.
My eldest Dd8 found birthday parties really hard until about 2 years ago. I have spent many a two hour party with her sat on my lap refusing to join in and only leaving me to sit down and eat. For her it was shyness and a sensory issue as she hates loud noises (loud music/children screaming). I’ve always just tried to go with it; encourage her to play but there with cuddles if that is what she wants.
He’s 2.5, I’m not sure you can really call that rude. Sounds like shyness/being overwhelmed. Compassion and kindness are surely the way forward? Leave the judging of your little one to others?
At such a young age, I wouldn't be worried or try and read anything into it (it was only as it went on, I could see that she just wasn't sociable like the others) - and certainly wouldn't be offended; two and half year olds aren't exactly renowned for their natural tact and diplomacy.
My youngest would socialise/talk to all the other kids at nursery, but if we met them anywhere else, she refused to have anything to do with them - and not just at two and a half, this continued throughout junior school and there were only two kids she would acknowledge once she went to senior school.
I got the impression that she either felt they weren't in the 'right' place or she got along with them at school/nursery because she had to, but didn't see why she had to be nice to them outside
I also suspect she didn't really like them all that much in the end.
If she had kicked off, I would have suggested that it was a bit much for her and thank you for the invitation but I think we should probably go home - but, just as yours did, she normally warmed up a little by the end.
Don't beat yourself up about it. Six months is a hell of a chunk of a preschooler's life - the difference between two and a half and three is massive.
I understand as it happened with my dd a lot. Yes of course it’s normal in that everyone can relate to a greater or lesser extent. But when you’re child is very obviously refusing to participate, it can be feel awkward.
Sometimes dd would warm up, particularly after food. If she found it really uncomfortable, I would make our excuses. People were always fine with that.
Flaverings, I think it's meant to be 'by a boy'!
Hes still really young I think between the fever brewing (we never see it till later so don't feel bad) new surroundings and feeling a little overwhelmed he was doing what 2 year olds do.
I used to get really anxious taking dd anywhere but now you can't shut her up. It gets easier.
My friends DD did this at her own parties for years, she was fine at other people’s but couldn’t cope with her own. The expectation, the attention - by the time she was 6(her last party) she was asking people, no actually she was demanding people to leave. Her lovely mum was mortified!
She’s just turned 21 and is sociable and gorgeous. DW - there’s no right or wrong in these things, if it happens again then just do what feels ok for you and most comfortable for your son.
I remember getting stressed out at my eldest daughter at parties for the same reasons. She is beautifully behaved, but still not terribly sociable (nearly 18 now).
I can understand your embarrassment but a toddler doesn’t understand social rules so can’t be ‘rude’. To me, your job here is to focus on what you can do to help him feel more comfortable. Other parents will understand.
Even at this young age a child needs choices.Having the cardigan on and feeling hot is important in teaching him when he is too hot or too cold.parents just doing it teaches him nothing.Choices help to build self confidence whereas constantly making him do what you want does the opposite
Busyhonest Yes exactly. I always gave my dcs choices, if they wanted to wear coats etc. There's a stage when children need to show their own personalities and be treated with it in mind. I used to just bring their coat with me when they didn't want one on (the weather was not important!).
It sounds like he has disappointed you rather than ruined the party. Party behavior is a hard thing to figure out- many adults hate parties!- so it’s too much to expect a two year old to know what he is supposed to do. If he is being disruptive or destructive then do take him home with a brief polite explanation to the host. If he seems upset, also take him home. But if he is just doing his own thing I would leave him alone. He may yet join in the fun, and parallel play is completely normal at that age.
Poor boy. He must be overwhelmed. I read somewhere that for parties for young kids the number of invitees should be the child’s age plus 1. Four/five kids would be much easier for a 21/2 year old to cope with.
He doesn't know what he's 'supposed ' to do at a party , he's only 2 !
Presumably you've left now but for future reference (mum of 3 DCs here) if a child particularly one as young as yours doesn't/can't settle at a party, then I would usually take them outside "for a breath of air or a walk. Sometimes they need a break from the action and activities and after 5 or 10 minutes peace they feel able to rejoin the group with a fresh approach, knowing what to expect inside. Other times they will have a meltdown on the thought of returning to the party, at which point I'd make a very polite, low-key and clean exit. Don't get drawn into chats about this and that, get your stuff together quietly, thank the host, wave to any other parents who catch your eye. Delays on exit could lead to a meltdown!
Don't be tempted to go into detail about your DC's behaviour, your host will be busy anyway and also it's not your DS's fault if he can't engage with the party, it's just the way it goes sometimes. Perhaps he's teething. Even if he isn't (you won't always know if the big back molars are coming out) and you feel you must give a reason then just say he's teething, it's a good enough reason and could be very likely.
For those saying parties for the under 4s is a waste of money, I disagree. If you grow up acclimatised to parties and the format. The giving of a gift, singing as the cake arrives and the fun of games or dancing then it is far easier as the child grows to relax and enjoy the experience. As the parent stays for the duration, the child has the option to explore parties in safety and confidence. Learning how to behave ( or not!) in a gentle low expectation environment.
If financially you can’t afford a big party a small one with a cake is a good dry run for the many to come later in life.
Op your child may be one of those children that simply do not like parties. You will see it evolve as he grows. It will become more obvious then. I am very outgoing socially, but my dd loathes parties. It certainly isn’t a reflection on you or your parenting.
Honestly op, your attitude towards your very young child is quite odd. You seem to be complaining about his social skills and worrying that he is being rude because he isn't the life and soul of the party!
He's tiny. He doesn't understand and is confused and under the weather - I really doubt that he was ruining it for everyone!
I think you are projecting your anxieties onto him tbh.
Missing the point somewhat, but you had 40 - 50 guests for your child's second birthday!! No wonder he wasn't the life and soul of the party.
I thought the party rule for number of guests was age if birthday child plus 2?...
I'd take him home if he's sick but not if he's just shy.
Some kids find these birthday parties so overwhelming. My eldest, now nine found the noise of the children and the entertainment too much to cope with and we would spend most of the party climbing on something outside, until food time - quiet time. Some hosts were offended as they paid a lot for entertainers but it is important to remember that kids who are sensitive to all that stimulation simply find it overwhelming and can’t enjoy the situation. Only recently has my eldest enjoyed parties and that is because they are now more sport focused and less over-stimulating entertainment and screaming preschoolers.
My son used to be like this and I made things worse by worrying. The minute I just accepted him and stopped worrying about him all the time things got a lot easier. Next party it will be someone else's son. Don't worry.
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