Should Parents Stay On At A Kids Party Or Just Drop Them Off?
by Ann Mifsud
With so many different customs that color our world, no wonder some parents get confused on whether to stay at a kid’s party or just drop off their child. It primarily boils down to your kid’s age, but practices in your region or locality play a very crucial factor too.
Parents of young kids especially, should be allowed to stay on at parties particularly if the host is not an acquaintance. By contrast, if having parents staying on is not the custom in your area, it would be good to inform the other parents that you don’t wish them to stay on.
When as a parent you need to take a decision on whether to drop off your kid at a party or stay on, these are 5 things to consider.
- The age of your child
- The custom in your region
- How well do you know the host
- How safe is the party venue
- What is specified on the invitation
These are factors that need some thought before a decision is taken.
1. How old should my child be before I can drop him off at a party?
Despite some differing opinions on the subject, it is good to note that secure attachment is crucial in a young child’s life. You may wonder what this has to do with whether a parent stays on at a party or not.
Young children need to be given opportunities of a safe and reassured bonding, primarily with parents, to thrive.
Simply dropping off a four-year-old kid at a party might stress a kid out, just as possibly an adult might get anxious if he were suddenly transported to an unknown island and left there.
The kid may have been told that he will be picked up in a couple hours time, but to an infant that does not say much.
Bottom line, the parents of young kids, should be allowed to stay on at parties. It would be nice on the part of the host to actually write something on the lines of “parents welcome” on the invite, or else communicate it to the parents when they RSVP.
If kids are older than six, then there are other things a parent might want to consider before deciding whether to stay on throughout the party your child has been invited to, to stick around for some time and then leave, or to simply drop off the kid.
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2. What is the custom in your region when it comes to staying on at kids’ parties?
Age is by far the first and most important factor, but one would need to consider the practices in the locality. Some regions take it as given that when they invite kids to their son’s or daughter’s party, the parents are more than welcome. Some actually expect the whole family to turn up, with siblings if there are.
If however, this is not the custom in the particular area you live in, it would be good to add something like “drop-off at 4pm” on the invite so that parents can be saved the trouble of wondering.
This may mean that some parents may opt not to send their kid to that particular party if they do not feel comfortable about it, which of course, they have every right to 🙂
3. Should I stay on at a kid’s party if I don’t know the parents well?
It is absolutely normal that if you are not familiar with who’s hosting the party, you will feel uncomfortable to leave your kid and drive off. This, irrespective of whether your child is a seven-year old or a twelve-year old.
As a parent, you worry. And trust. And worry. And trust. This is the normal cycle of bringing up the kids you love and care for so much in a physically, mentally, socially and spiritually healthy state.
Any mother would much rather know the hands she is leaving her kid for the next couple hours or more in.
Of course, a twelve-year old has presumably already attained some skills of sensing danger, assessing the risks and knowing how to protect himself or his options.
So in this case, even if you do not know the parents well, it would make sense to drop off the kid. Provided you give him or her a way out to reach you if needs be. And then, trust.
In the circumstance that your child is a seven-year old or a bit older, then one option could be to politely ask the host if you could stay on or at least hang around for a while.
This would allow you some time to chat with the parent organizing the party and get to know him or her a bit better. You could also check their social media pages beforehand and get a slight glimpse into their likes and general personality, hopefully resulting in some peace of mind.
You should definitely have a chat with your son or daughter and see how he or she feels. Not that you should solely go by this, but it could give you an indication.
Often times you will find that just being the eldest or the youngest in the family makes a huge difference in their overall readiness in many aspects of life. It is important to see how they feel about being dropped off, even if for the sake of helping them express themselves and getting to know them better.
If you or your child still feel uncomfortable by the whole idea of being dropped off, then clearly, skip that party. There are sure to be many more up the alley.
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4. Should the party venue make a difference if I stay on at a kid’s party?
Having considered other reasons to decide on whether to stay on at a kid’s party or just drop off, bring the venue into the equation. At face value one might brush this off, but not if safety may be an issue.
When it comes to most party venues, security and safety are a given. Most would not be granted a licence to operate unless this is in place. Having said that, there have been cases where there was not proper alternative exit options, or up-to-standard signage, which could compromise on safety in the case of fire.
Another thing to consider is how easy it would be for a kid to run off and leave the premises unnoticed. Some places would have a person stay close to the entrance to keep a watchful eye on that, but not all do.
When it comes to dropping off a kid at a party which is being held in a private home, other issues may arise. You would need to consider if your kid has any fears of sort. If for example your kid becomes frightened when large dogs are around, you would want to make sure the family you will be leaving your kid with will not have a dog running around, no matter how friendly that dog might be.
This is merely a small example, but an equally relevant one if your kid happens to have such an issue.
Other examples may include:
- Serious allergies, like nut allergies
- Potentially dangerous grounds, like having a pool around with kids who are not good swimmers
- Access to objectionable material, like pornography
- Availability of weapons in the house
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5. Should it make a difference if I stay on at a kid’s party depending on whether it is specified on the invitation?
Considering the many reasons that can be game-changing, a parent should not feel obliged to drop off their kid at a party, irrespective of whether it has or has not been specified on the invitation.
Without a doubt if it has been clearly written on the invitation and it happens to be in line with your thoughts and liking, all the better.
If however, the host has written something like “drop off at 4pm” and you feel uncomfortable for any justifiable reason, then you could always politely discuss your view.
When you do, keep in mind that the host may have had number restrictions due to the fact that the venue could not cater for kids and adults at the same time.
If, on the other hand, nothing has been specified on the invitation itself, you could check with the host or look into what other parents would be doing, if you happen to be acquainted with them.
Ultimately, you are the parent and your child is your responsibility. Whereas there definitely has to be an element of trust, especially the older kids get, you still need to make sure any risks taken are well-calculated.
Final thoughts on whether parents should stay on at a kid’s party or just drop off
The reasons for deciding on whether to stay on at a kid’s party or just drop your kid off may vary, with some having more weight than others. It makes sense to consider your kid’s age, customs in the region, acquaintance with the host and venue, safety issues, as well as what the invitation says.
As a parent though, you want peace of mind. So, when push comes to shove, do not be afraid to go by your gut feeling.
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Hi I'm Ann
Mom to three kids, I am the proud co-founder of Easy Kids' Parties. After a career in journalism and education, I diverted my skills to creating this website, with the aim of helping all those parents out there who wish to organize amazing and memorable parties for their kids but feel overwhelmed at the idea. Discover more...