42 answers

Birthday Party Etiquette - Hoffman Estates, IL

My 4-year-old daughter was invited to a 2-hour birthday pizza party at a local park district facility on a Friday night. The birthday girl is from my daughter's preschool. I know the girl but have never met the parents. My question is, do I attend the party with my daughter? I know all the kids from her preschool class because I volunteer there on occasion, so I could help out as a chaperone. I don't want to contribute to overloading the hosts with a bunch of kids, either. I told my husband that I thought it would be excessive if he came with me, but I don't feel comfortable just yet dropping her off at a public place by herself. I haven't RSVPed yet because I'm a little unsure how to proceed. This is our only child, so this birthday party etiquette is new to us, and I'm sure more will come as she starts to attend school soon. What's the deal -- do parents attend parties with their kids?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Wow! I am so glad I posted this! I got so many wonderful responses, with tips that I was able to use in my RSVP. I plan to attend and offered to help out. In my heart and gut I knew I needed to stay, but it was just a matter of how to phrase it without looking too overprotective. Which I know I already am! :)I'll refrain from the pizza and drinks unless invited to join in.

Next year for Mia's fifth birthday we plan to invite kids from her school (before she leaves it for kindergarten), and thanks to all the wonderful moms out there who gave me such good pointers, I know what to anticipate and what to include in my invitation. This really gets me thinking about all the logistics questions we moms have when faced with situations like this -- especially when the invitation doesn't address these issues for us! I'll let you all know how my RSVP is received and if other moms attend.

Thanks again!!!

Featured Answers


I've had similiar parties with my now seven year old. If I don't know the parent or at least a parent that is staying, then I stay. When I RSVP, I ask if it would be okay if I stayed and that I can help (esp. if it's preschool). If the parent is hesitant, then my daughter can't go. Most parties of young children have the parents stay. Don't feel odd about it at all. If I'm having a party and the parent doesn't know me and wants to stay, then I completely understand (even if they know me, the more the merrier). Welcome to the "I don't know what to do" club:)

My daughter is 4 years old, too. I've just decided that if I don't know the parents well, my husband or I will stay at the party. I don't ask if I can come, but ususally the parents are grateful for an extra pair of hands to help out. If the party is thrown by parents we know well and trust completely, we drop her off. Better be safe than sorry. Good luck!

Hi S.,
I just had this come up with my 4 year old daughter. The party was at the childs house. I called and talked to the mom and she said what ever I was comfortable with. My Daughter sees her 3 times a week and felt very comfortable so I just dropped her off. Good Luck


More Answers

As a parent when I hosted children parties, I always left it to the parents. Most parents that knew us would just drop their children off. Others who didn't know us chose to stay. In this day and age, I think most people would expect that parents they do not know would hang around. If not they should.

We still stay at parties even though our kids are teenagers until we feel that the environment is safe and supervised well. Yes, even when our teen is making faces and motioning us to leave. Their safety comes first.

Yes u definately attend the party with her. she is to young to be left alone. As she gets older(7or8) it will be ok to drop her off.I think you will have a good time and find others that are in the same boat. I bet you will have a good time and two hours with a bunch of preschoolers will fly by so fast. Good luck and have fun.

Hi. I am a mom just like you who is always worried about my child's safety. It is a crazy world out there. I usually go with my child to the party and hang around a bit. At gymboree or my gym parties I will usually leave for a while because the party is contained in one room and there is really no where to go. At big places like Chuck E Cheese or the park district, I never leave. I will ask the mom if she needs some help. I open juice boxes or pass out cake but I definitely stay in the background. If you know the parents, both of you could attend but otherwise I would say only one parent should be there. I attend about half of the parties. It really depends on the venue and the parents of the child. Some parties there is lots of supervision and sometimes not. Do what you feel comfortable. If you will be a nervous wreck for the two hours, then stay.

S., If you would feel more comfortable staying at the party I think by all means that you should. I am sure that you are not going to be the only parent staying. I have hosted several parties for my kids and there is always a parent or two that sticks around. I can assure you that the parents will have no problem with you staying. Have fun !!!

My advice - attend. But when you call to RSVP make sure the parent(s) of the birthday girl know you plan on staying. I attended parties for the first 3-4 years, just hanging out in the background in case my children needed me.
If the parent(s) say they don't want you to stay - I wouldn't let my child go. But that's just me.

Go with her with a book in your purse, if it seems like the other parents are not staying then you can just hang out there while not in the way and read for the 2 hours. That way you can still keep an eye on her without intruding if no one else stays.

I'm not quite sure what would be considered "proper", but I always have stayed with my 5 year old at all parties and events.I have done the same with my other children until they were older. Over protective? Maybe, but you never know. Better safe than sorry.

Yep! You should stay. Don't worry, you won't be the only mom. Most parents don't just drop-off at parties until the kids are 5, 6, or even 7. The etiquette is whatever you feel comfortable with.

Enjoy your pizza!

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