"Drop off" Birthday Party

Discussion in 'Childhood and Beyond (4+)' started by sruth, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. sruth

    sruth Well-Known Member

    We just received an invitation from a pre-k classmate—it was followed up by an email explaining how it is a “kids only” party. The email explained a bit that they were having an open house the next day and wanted to have the party guests to a minimum. The email also said "Our house is totally fenced, so there shouldn’t be any problems. We have ordered a jumping thing and have various games in mind. Food will be served outside."

    "Shouldn't be any problems"?? We don’t know them well—as well as you know the parents from your children’s school I guess. The children are between 4-5 years old—I just think that’s a little young for a ‘drop your kids off’ type of party…right? This is all new to me and I'm feeling extra sensitive knowing one of my girls is getting tubes in her ears next week due to chronic ear infections.

    My girls are already excited about this party and kids at this age talk! <_<
  2. moski

    moski Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    My kids did go to one or two drop off parties at that age, but I knew the parents pretty well. Not sure where you live, but if they are having a bouncy house it seems to me that the weather is mild enough to have the kids outside? So why couldn't the parents come and stay outside, too? Seems weird to me that they would not let you stay if you wanted. If they are firm in that, then I would probably bring a book and sit in the car and read if I wasn't comfortable leaving the kids. Or, I would find something else fun to do.
  3. sruth

    sruth Well-Known Member

    Exactly! I thought that was weird too...if they are keeping the kids outside the entire party, why not adults too? I live in California and this week we will see 70+ degrees...so I'm okay with them being outside :) I think they feel with parents it becomes a more formal party with mature food and wine (he owns a small winery) stating "...So, the party, will be outside and we are keeping things pretty stark (meaning the kitchen is more or less closed down). We are just keeping chaos to a minimum...."
  4. sharongl

    sharongl Well-Known Member

    Is this their oldest child? If they have have older kids, they are probably very comfortable keeping an eye on a group of kids, and want it to be for the kids, not a bunch of adults standing around. At that age, we had a party, outside, and maybe 1/3 of the parents stayed. I personally feel more comfortable watching a group of kids than having all the parents stand around, and then I feel split between entertaining the kids and the adults. Maybe it is because I am a teacher and a camp counselor...
    2 people like this.
  5. Danibell

    Danibell Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I'm not comfortable leaving my kids at that age yet, unless I know the family well. Really none of the invite makes much sense, I can understand wanting to keep guests to a minimum but if it's going to be outside, it shouldn't matter how many guests you have. And a bouncy house thing....I'd want parents there just in case someone gets hurt, kwim?

    Anyways if you aren't comfy with the kids staying without yourself there I'd just decline and take the kids out to do something else.
  6. MNTwinSquared

    MNTwinSquared Well-Known Member

    I still refuse to do drop off at 7. If it was a family who we are close with and we've hung out before, I'd consider it, but if this invite is out of the blue... I'd be attending as well.
  7. Leighann

    Leighann Well-Known Member

    If it didn't know the parents or my girls had never been to the house I wouldn't drop off at 4 or 5. Even now that my girls are almost 6, many parties this year have given the option to drop off or stay, and most parents stay.

    Eta: parents stay without any expectation of being fed or entertained. We are there to help with the kids, chat with each other, and make sure our own kids stay in line.
  8. KCMichigan

    KCMichigan Well-Known Member

    I agree w/ PP. Even at 7, if I dont know the parents- I dont drop and run.

    One of my DD has some special needs and I always stay, but even if she did not-- I would hesitate to leave them at a HOUSE I dont know. Maybe a play place where other adults/employees would be there (and at 7- not 4/5).
  9. Sofiesmom

    Sofiesmom Well-Known Member

    I've dropped as young as 5, and I had kids being dropped off at my kids' parties as early as 5 as well. Would be really normal in Europe, and here it's usually a mix (depends a little bit on the culture). Having said all this, things are generally very safe here, plus lots of people have live in help so always extra hands available. Agree with Sharon on the older kids, once you're used to it, it's less of an issue, I guess. Or at least, it feels that way.
    1 person likes this.
  10. mama_dragon

    mama_dragon Well-Known Member

    I haven't been to a party (4-5) where parents don't stay.

    Mine both have asthma and at times need treatment when they run around like crazy. In addition I have one with a deadly nut allergy (he has gone into anaphylatic shock) so absolutely no way would I drop off and leave.

    I would definitely not feel comfortable leaving kids at this age (regardless of their health needs) at a home where they had not been before and I do not know the parents. Is there a pool in the back yard, what kind of fence (mine climb chain link fences), how many adults per child etc...

    I also have zero expection of getting fed and entertained. I'm here to help with my child and ensure their safety. I also would find it slightly insulting that I as an adult would make more of a mess then a group of 4-5 year olds. Heck I've even helped with clean up while the kids play. Perhaps she needs to switch to a park where she doesn't have to worry about the mess.
  11. sruth

    sruth Well-Known Member

    That the thought has crossed my mind—I realize we have stricter thinking here in the US; the mother is from South America and I thought perhaps their culture isn't as stringent as we are here. The father is in his early 60's and I assume he has older adult children and/or has the old school thinking "what's the big deal".
    One idea given to us was to reply that our girls will attend but probably not be comfortable in a new home without one of us there, and if they wouldn’t mind one of us staying back to help…? Who knew our first real party invite would be so dramatic! :rolleyes:
  12. tarcoulis

    tarcoulis Well-Known Member

    I've only been to one party where most of the parents did not stay, and my kids are 8. At that party, I was the only parent who did stay and was feeling like maybe I should have dropped off too, when my daughter got bitten by the dog! Really glad I stayed then.

    You could you call the parents and explain that the girls are really excited about attending but you're worried that something could happen with the tubes/ears and you don't want to leave them/her to deal with it alone. Or that they might freak out without you and ruin the party in the 30 mins it would take for you to get there. Or just say you're not comfortable leaving them.
  13. kingeomer

    kingeomer Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I agree with this.
    I would only drop off at that age if I knew the parents very well. But if not, I would not feel comfortable dropping mine off. I would even go as far to say that I would be happy to help the mother wrangle the other kids.
  14. ljcrochet

    ljcrochet Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Most of the drop off parties here started around age 6.
    My girls got invited to a party next week that the the parents are taking the girls out to California pizza kitchen in a limo. According to my daughters they are going to have cupcakes in the limo.
  15. Oneplus2more

    Oneplus2more Well-Known Member

    hmmm, this is a tough one. I have to agree that I find the situation a little odd, and chances are the more adults the less mess at the end of the party! lol. What about kids going inside to use the bathroom? Are the parents going to be the only adults there and both outside? Who knows what those kids will be doing in the house alone. Bottom line though, I wouldn't drop off if I wasn't comfortable with it. I think all you can do is talk to the parents and let them know you/your kids aren't comfortable with it and see what the say. I'll bet you aren't the only parent feeling this way.
  16. rubyturquoise

    rubyturquoise Well-Known Member

    I must secretly be European. I have never stayed at a party with any of my kids. (Note: mine were all probably 5 when they got invited to non-family parties). I know I am an oddball because the girls (who are now 10) were invited to a party last month the other mom seemed surprised I was not going to stay. My girls would have been horrified if I had, and as an introvert the idea of standing around with a bunch of people I don't know sounds like torture to me.

    Or maybe I just have weird kids. None of them ever wanted me to stay, they all wanted to be dropped off. :unknw: If I didn't feel comfortable to drop off, they didn't attend, but I can't recall an instance like that--only refusing to let them go to parties at the Jump Zone because I won't sign the agreement that if their negligence causes my child's death, I am not allowed to sue. Nope, not signing that.
  17. Fran27

    Fran27 Well-Known Member

    Depends how well I know the parents and how many kids there are really. I'm European too and my mom never stayed for parties when I was a kid but it wasn't huge parties, just a couple kids.

    I think I'd mostly be worried about the 'jumping thing' personally. I'd want to be there to make sure it's used the right way and my kids won't get hurt.
  18. Sullyirishtwins

    Sullyirishtwins Well-Known Member

    We have gone on so many parties last year when all kids turn 6 where drop off are the new normal. It also depends on the party event taking place so if it was a huge bounce place. I usually stay and hang out but if it was a home party with some Moms volunteer to stay. If you know some of other Moms to this party then should be okay since your kids knows their friends better than you do. Also, I always give them my cell phone # if they need to reach me so I stay pretty close to where the party is at.....If you feel uncomfortable then just declined to the party this year. There is always next year to go :)
  19. Sofiesmom

    Sofiesmom Well-Known Member

    I had French moms here drop them off at age 3 ... so yes, anything is possible. My best friend here is American, and can definitely say she's much stricter. I guess, I am more the middle of the road. A lot of the Asians, especially Chinese, thinks it's OK to bring siblings and more family members without asking, while I would never do that. With 40 nationalities in a school, you'll learn quickly! Our invites are quite specific as you never know who may show up!
  20. Minette

    Minette Well-Known Member

    In our area, nearly all the 6 year old parties are drop off, and some of the 5's as well, but not the 4's. That said, it doesn't sound totally bizarre to me. Our kids did go to some around that age where some of the parents would go run a quick errand during the party or something.

    If they have older kids, and especially with the cultural differences, I can see why they might think it's OK. I would probably just drop my kids off and be grateful, but I'm lax that way. :ibiggrin: If you're nervous, you could just explain that your kids have never been to a drop off party, and you'll be sticking around for a little while to make sure they're comfortable.
  21. FGMH

    FGMH Well-Known Member

    Here in Germany parties tend to be drop-off much earlier too, sometimes for the 4 year-olds and almost certainly for the 5 year-olds. So yes, it could be a cultural thing. But I also think that you need to be comfortable and trust the parents in order to drop-off; offering to stay and help is a good idea.
  22. sruth

    sruth Well-Known Member

    Whew! My husband just spoke to the father to RSVP and mentioned to him that the girls would probably not be comfortable being dropped off at a home they are not familiar with and if he wouldn't mind if one of us stayed behind to make sure they were okay. The father was super casual about it and said my husband could even participate/help with the party! It seemed to be no big deal at all to have one of us stay behind with the girls.
    So happy! Maybe next year I'll be more comfortable with the whole drop off thing...
  23. Lougood

    Lougood Well-Known Member

    I have a question...how do you know if a party is drop off? Does it say so on the invite? I have no experience in this area. I guess it's b/c most if not all of the parties we've been to all the moms are friends so we all hang out to chat. I wouldn't mind dropping off, but it's never come up. Even now that the girls are turning seven all the parents still hang out. So is it just something that is understood or is it mentioned on the invite?

    Glad your husband was able to talk to the dad and everything turned out well!
  24. sruth

    sruth Well-Known Member

    Yes, the father sent an email to the parents stating that is was a "kid party only" and "not that we don't like adults, but..." apparently they are putting their home up for sale and wanted to have a simple party outside in order to keep the house clean. Not sure why we ALL couldn't be outside (its 70 degrees here in CA) so that is why we were perplexed as well as concerned as these people are school parents, not family or friends. Just glad it all worked out!
  25. Chrissy Nelson

    Chrissy Nelson Well-Known Member

    I guess it is how big the party is. If there are going to be several adults there to watch I would be ok with it.
  26. Leighann

    Leighann Well-Known Member

    Lou, parents have put on the invites "you are welcome to drop off." Which has always been interpreted to mean you can stay or drop off, not adults are not welcome.
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