Birthday Parties

cindy_lou_who

My daughter will be turning 6 soon, and I'm hoping to get some opinions on what to do.

Last year, we had her party at Chuck E. Cheese. This year I would like a normal party at home.

The problem is, I have noticed in the last few years (at other parties) that the parents seem to want to hang around.

I am limited on space in my home, so just having 10 kids would be alot. Also, after planning food and everything else, you have to come up with ideas for the adults as well. This was espaecially bad when I had to buy alot of extra pizza and drinks at Chuck E. Cheese because I was not expecting parents to stay. I paid for the party in advance, and only took a credit card at the last minute, just in case. (good thing I did!!)

I always remembered parties where the parents would drop the kids of, and come back for them after it was over.

Do you guys normally stay at a party with your kids? Also, what do you do when a child is dropped off, but the parents don't return at the end? I have had this happen as well. They sometimes return up to 40 minutes late.

Thank you!!

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Comments (15)
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Mommabear

I do not drop my kids off anywhere public like Chuck E. Cheese. Ever. Period. My kids are almost 3, 5, 8.

If I knew the parents well I would drop off my older kids at someone's house. But not if I did not know the parents. I will not ever drop my kids off somewhere where I do not know the adults in charge very well.

Mommabear

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trekaren

The parents at DD's school and I always go to the parties and hang out. Most of us parents provide lots of munchies for the adults, and some activity for the kids.

We love the opportunity to get to know the other parents in her school.

Haven't been to a 'drop-off-and-leave' party yet. Although a couple of parents who RSVP'd to my DD's party asked whether they were to just drop their child off or if they could stay. So some parents must be using this option for their parties. Personally, I don't want to be *that* outnumbered by munchkins!

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Susan_new_york

When my kids were in preschool I always stayed but once they hit grade school I noticed everyone was dropping their kids off, so I did too. I really have to do that now as I have two other children that weren't invited. I wouldn't feel as if you HAD to feed the adults. You can always just have chips and pretzels out for the adults to munch on.

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MaryF

I've asked to this point and have been told, you're welcome to stay or use this time for some "adult" only time, go shopping etc. My dd is in kindergarten. I have done left when I know the parents and it's usually only about an hour or so. Even if I did stay, I wouldn't expect to be fed, entertained etc. After all it is a kid's party.
I took my dd to one on Sat and they had it in the church basement and planned games for the kids along with pizza and cake. They had other adults lined up to help entertain and watch the kids so parents weren't expected to stay. Instead of gifts, they asked that you donate to the school library. The family does it as kind of their own fund raiser for the school. I think it was one of the better parties I've taken her to.

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talley_sue_nyc

Six was about the time parties started being drop-off affairs. Also, if they come and stay for a little bit and it's obviously crowded, some of them will leave.

A guy here at work said his daughter had gotten an invite for a drop-off party, so apparently there are some people who say "drop-off party" when they issue the invitations. I wouldn't feel comfortable saying that, but I HAVE said to parents, "you may stay or you may drop off and come back later." When I say that, I find that most of the parents drop off.

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gingersnap

When I bring my child to a Chuck E Cheese party I pay for myself and my other children. This is what everyone does around here.

As far as a drop off party at a home I would probably be OK with that as long as there was no swimming. I stay and lifeguard for all swimming parties.

Finally I did have a Mom drop off and forget to pick up her son at our laser-tag party. She just got the pick up time wrong. I called her on her cell and told her I would bring him home myself since they live close by.

HTH

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Karla_NE

I just happened to stumble across this post and am shocked!! When I was a kid, (I am 30), parents NEVER stayed at parties. I had no idea that was so common now. I wonder why? My DD is not close to the party age yet, but I am glad I found this out now. I may have been the only "drop off" parent! (LOL)

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Mommabear

I have dropped my kids off at house parties as long as I know the parents hosting the party. If I am planning to stay I try to have my husband stay with the kids who were not invited to the party. I always stay at swimming parties and I usually let the hosts know (nicely) that I don't allow my kids to swim without my husband or I present. Usually the other parents are happy for the assistance at the pool.

Those of you who drop off at Chuck E. Cheese and other amusement places, how old were your kids when you started that? I would be afraid to drop my kids off at a public place like that. Maybe because they are young (K, 2nd grade)?

Mommabear

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Stephanie_in_TN

My oldest is 8. Most of the time, I'v stayed. Once I left when it was 3 blocks from my house. If the party didn't include my other children, I left them home with DH. Like Mommabear, when the party is at a public place, I definitely stay. I think I would til DS is, oh, maybe 10.

When I've stayed, other parents stayed, and we didn't expect to be fed. If the party was at someplace like Chuck E. Cheese, I would never expect the host parents to pay for my food or my other children if they were with me. Wouldn't dream of it. It would not occur to me to offer to pay for the parents who stayed if it were my kid's party, either.

The party we had at home, I offered parents who stayed a soft drink and chips and a piece of cake (but most decline). It has been the same when I stayed at someone else's party, adults weren't fed and didn't expect to be. They don't stay because they want to be part of the party, they stay because they don't want to leave their children in an umfamiliar home or in an unsecure place, like Chuck E. Cheese. And because they are wise to want to know the children their child plays with and the parents of those children.

I am 31 now. I don't have detailed memories of my parents dropping me off or not at parties at that age. Just don't remember. But even if they did, I can't make my choices based on what my parents did with me. There are a thousands things my parents let me do that I would never let my children do now. I do remember riding my bike all over town alone at age 8. My son is 8 now and I wouldn't let him go further than around the block on his bike. I'm sure most of us have similar experiences. Sadly, we can't let our children have the same freedoms we had at that age.

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jdhall

hello-

I've been "lurking" for quite sometime and decided to put my "2 cents" in. I would never leave my children in a public place. I have a 4, 6, and 9 year old. There is no way the parents (hosts) can keep track of all of those kids. Especially at the skating parties!!! I never expected anyone to pay for me, I usually buy myself a drink etc. and sit with the other mommies. Now I would drop off my older 9 year old to a house party, and return a little sooner. My soon to be 6 year old would never stay without me, and I'd be worried about leaving my fiesty 4 year old.

Doreen

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cindy_lou_who

Thank you guys for your responses!

I guess I forgot to mention that our Chuck E. Cheese is very small. We did the party during the week so we pretty much had the place to ourselves.

Also, I don't know if they do it everywhere, but at ours, all kids have their hands marked, and there is a rope across the door with an attendant. No one leaves without having their hands checked to be sure the right kid is leaving with the right group.

I have to agree with Karla. When we were little, my parents always dropped us off at parties. At our parties, we never once had any of the other parents stay.
My birthday was always at the same skating rink, and it was just my mom and my aunt that took care of everything.

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sedwa

When I was a kid, the parents always stayed at the parties we had at public places. My father raised me by himself, so maybe that had something to do with it. Most moms probably took pity on a guy attempting to throw a birthday party alone, with 5 or 6 strange kids. Personally, I'd be relieved if parents stuck around. I can only do so much at once, and it would be really stressful to have to supervise strange kids *and* try to give my child an enjoyable party.

If it's too expensive to buy food for everyone, just don't. if they hang around and they're hungry, they'll buy their own. I don't think any parents expect to be fed at a party like that. If it's at home, I can't see why having a bowl of chips and some dip and some sodas would be such a big deal. It may be cramped, but it's only for a few hours. I'd be pleased that the parents wanted to get to know me-- it's a great way to make friends, as well as get to know the people raising your child's friends. Once your kids get older, it will be really nice to have a network of moms to fall back on and keep an eye on the gaggle of friends. my dad did that and it drove me NUTS. (but it definitely kept me out of trouble!)

Inevitably, I think some parents will arrive late. nothing can be done, and since it's only once a year, I wouldn't make an issue of it. It's the kind of thing that could really ruffle feathers and make people feel kinda bad.

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nadastimer

Maybe my family is crazy but we just did the cake and ice cream, soda or punch and some munchies. Then we just visit and allow the kids to play. Much easier than planning a whole party with games and making sure you cooked or bought enough food for everyone. We don't do big parties for DS and dont' plan to because it's crazy. We watch SIL spend a good $100 on food and toys and games and then she's so frazzled she's handing out chores for the guests to do. I was just raised that we had a simple family party. If you invite the kids, don't go all out and try to out do yourself from year to year. It's crazy.

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jdhall

Hi- I also wanted to add, that for mine I don't do real big parties either. My son had a big one two years ago when he was in first grade, we had it here, and we had 18 kids!!! What he usually does, is he picks his two closest buddies, and we take them for the day, last year we did Pizza Hut and went to the movies, and this past year we took him and two friends to chuckie cheese. Alot easier on the budget, and he enjoyed it and easier to keep track of the kids.

Doreen

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msnikki

I love doing birthday parties for my son, 7. I prefer home themed parties to Chuck E Cheese/Jeepers parties. It's less confusing and I just don't think those places are very clean.(JMHO) We usually have just as many adults as kids. I do not feel responsible for supplying the adults food. Depending on my budget, I may or may not. I always stay with my son at parties. I get to socialize with the parents and see how my kid interacts with other kids.

My niece, whose birthday is in May, has always had large cookout type parties where there are lots of adults and kids. We do usually provide food for everyone and the parties usually goes on all night. The kids usually end up going in, watching tapes and falling asleep. Now that she is turning 12, she no longer likes these parties and prefers skate/bowling parties that usually end in sleepovers. At this age parents usually do drop offs.

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