23 answers

Birthday Party - No Parents Please

Last year we had an at home birthday party for my daughter who turned 7. Most of the parents dropped their kids but one couple stayed (husband and wife) and a father. We were new to most of these people so I thought maybe they just didn't know us, etc. We're having another party this year but my daughter only wants to invite 2 friends over. I really do not want these parents to stay as I'd like to be able to concentrate on the party rather than entertaining the parents. Any suggestions how I could discourage parents from staying? When the parents were at our house last year I felt VERY awkward just leaving them and felt required to socialize with them and I felt torn - do I make these parents feel at home or focus on the kids. I didn't like feeling as if I couldn't entertain the kids. Because our house is small the kids were working on a project in a area apart from the house and the parents stayed in our house.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you for all the responses.

Featured Answers

I would treat it as if it's a favor to them. Who wouldn't want to be able to drop their kid off and get some errands or peace and quiet while their child is at a party. I only stay if it's at a public place. Maybe say something, feel free to drop her off at ____ and pick her up at ____. I hope you'll be able to get some shopping done!

2 moms found this helpful

You could put on the invitation,"drop off time is....." Pick up at.....

Also, if they do want to stay, because some people feel awkward about leaving their child either, they dont know you yet or they feel like they're dumping the kid without supervising.... I wouldnt worry about the parents....a bowl of chips and a bottled water is all you should worry about with parents....they either can sit and munch alone or put them to work, by asking if they'd like to help with something....

LG

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

our neighbor has "no parent" parties for both of her kids. At first, it was a little strange, but she's very distinct in her invitations:
"Kids may be dropped off at noon and picked up at 2pm"

She has both sets of grandparents there, and we've never been offended. She didn't have to explain - it's just how she prefers to do it so she doesn't have to feed and entertain parents and kids. She takes pictures and e-mails them afterwards.

I think being upfront and direct is the best policy - as well as being consistent.

Not sure I'd do it myself at my kids ages (3 and younger), but more power to those brave enough to do it.

3 moms found this helpful

I love the idea of noting "This is a drop-off party due to lack of space" as mentioned below. The parents who are too nervous about dropping off their grade schoolers can just opt not to do it, but I think you'll find most parents are thrilled! I know I'm excited if I don't have to stay. With two kids -- oldest in first grade -- I've been to so many kid parties over the years and it's wonderful now that I can just drop off our oldest and not have to stay. Most grade school parties are this way, so I bet it's not an issue for the vast majority of parents.

2 moms found this helpful

Since it's only 2 kids, how about a sleepover?

2 moms found this helpful

I would treat it as if it's a favor to them. Who wouldn't want to be able to drop their kid off and get some errands or peace and quiet while their child is at a party. I only stay if it's at a public place. Maybe say something, feel free to drop her off at ____ and pick her up at ____. I hope you'll be able to get some shopping done!

2 moms found this helpful

I agree with most everyone else. If you know them well enough, it should be easy to say drop the kids off. If you don't know them well enough to say this to them, then as a parent I probably would not feel comfortable dropping my child off with you and would be a little concerned at your insistence that I don't stay.

Good luck,
K.

2 moms found this helpful

if my child was invited to a party that said no parents needless to say unless i knew the parents super good i wouldn't feel comfortable leaving my child at someones home. so my child wouldn't be going to the party!!! with this day in age with preverts and such-sorry!!!!!!!

2 moms found this helpful

i had the exact opposite problem last year. i had a birthday party for my daughter, and only 1 parent bothered to stay. i personally was very uncomfortable when these much older children were acting up and there was no parents there to correct them, especially since seeings that one of these kids parents i had never even MET. i personally would not drop my child off a birthday party where parents werent allowed. that would just make me extremely uncomfortable. if you are wanting to do something like that, then i would put on the invitation something along the lines of "________'s birthday party/parents night out! drop the kids off to party with my daughter and you catch a special night out!" parents might be more receptive or appreciative that way.

1 mom found this helpful

You've gotta go along with what the other parents feel comfortable doing. You can't dictate whether they can stay or not. When I have stayed, it's usually to give the mom a hand. I certainly don't feel the need to be "entertained"! Point out the snacks & drinks & tell them to help themselves then forget that they're there.

1 mom found this helpful

Since you say you'll be having the children do a project, if parents do choose to stay, why not be ready to assign them 'duties' of helping with the project? That will keep you free to work with the kids, and you may find it helps you deal with the parents and get acquainted with them at the same time.

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter just turned nine. She actually was the one who said she did not want any parents, besides myself and Grandma, at the party. She felt that at nine years old she was old enough to have a drop off party! I simply told the parents that had children invited to the party that it was a kid ONLYs party. I joked around that not even my best friend was invited! I was a situation similar to you, I knew one mom would stay if I did not tell her that it was for kids only. She actually asked my daughter if she could come, and my daughter said no!

1 mom found this helpful

i would not allow my kids to go to a party where the parents are discouraged from being there. why would you not want to have their parents there? you're not required to entertain them though you ould have some food and drinks for them. if she wants only 2 friends over then you'd have to deal only with two sets of parents.

1 mom found this helpful

I currently do stay for all birthday parties (my daughter is only 4), and I tend to help out, really watch my kid, and not require much entertaining beyond "point me to the food and tell me where to put my purse." I'm pretty good at helping the host parents with whatever they need, and generally staying out of the way otherwise. I imagine that other parents who attend would be similar and not need much attention. That said, I personally cannot wait until she's old enough to be dropped off at a friend's house for a slumber party or miniature golfing party, but I know I'll be sticking around for swim parties and other semi-dangerous parties (like the rock climbing ones) that I'm sure will be in our future.

1 mom found this helpful

I know exactly how you feel! When I had my eldest daughter's fifth birthday and started inviting a few school friends for the first time, I had no idea the parents would all stay. It's not a show! I was most uncomfortable having all those adult eyes watching everything I was doing. The worst thing, I found though, at that age, were that the invitees would sometimes cling to mommy or want the parent involved in the games and it completely changed the dynamics of the way the day went. I have worked with kids forever and I knew that I could handle the group and get them having fun if it were just a group of birthday party kids without the audience but instead it was so awkward. I expected a kid's birthday party like when I was a kid. Parents never came that I remember.

We once got an invitation for my son that said "this is a drop off party". Fortunately I knew the parents well enough to be comfortable with that being that it was just a 2-3 hour party. When I arrived at the house, I realized that it was very small and they had all kinds of fun activities planned all over the house and parents really just didn't belong. All the parents obeyed and the party was a smashing success. The kids were only five.

My kids have since asked, if there is any doubt, that we write on the invitation "this is a drop off party". I usually add, "due to lack of space" if that is the reason. I don't want parents wondering why they are not welcome. One time we had a magic show at the end of the party and I invited all the parents to join us for that part. That seemed appropriate. Other times, I just explain all the things we are doing at the party. That is always helpful anyway so parents know how much food is being served or if it's just snack stuff. I like the invitations to be really clear so everyone knows what's going on.

Ironically, when you are friends with all the parents, you may want to have a birthday party where the entire families are invited, but if you don't even know them, who wants them hanging around? Of course those are the people, though, who more likely will want to stick around!

Okay admittedly I am a very protective parent and now that my kids have all been invited to so many different parties, including some where I didn't know the parents, I get the whole "I'm not just dropping my kid off at a stranger's house". In some situations I have asked other parents whom I trusted if they knew the parents of the birthday child and usually I could get a feeling that way.I would not let my kids sleep over unless I knew the family well. I have been very surprised at the few families who have no issue whatsoever with sending their kid anywhere, even sleep overs without even talking to the parents hosting! One birthday party was with a very flaky mom who took them all to Six Flaggs by herself. I later found out she had lost one of the kids for some time. Thankfully I had trusted my instincts on that one and my kid was "busy" that day! Uggh!

Since yours is only two families, I would get to know them ahead of time and invite them over to meet you and see your safe house explaining the reason for doing so. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi Mama-
Can you put on the invite, "please drop your children off at ____ p.m. and pick them up at ___ p.m."
If the parents want to meet you, maybe set aside a 15 minute meet the parents and then let them know that they can pick their children up at _______ p.m.
It's not rude, and if they wanted to stay and help then they can call ahead and offer their services and you can assign them to games or something. Don't feel bad. If parents are wary, it is good for them to meet you and get to know you, but not to stay at your house.
Hope this helps

1 mom found this helpful

On the invitation write: please drop your children off at ___ and pick up at ____.

Done. That's what I did for my daughters party, granted I semi knew the parents since I see them at daycare almost every day, but it worked.

Good luck

1 mom found this helpful

As a parent, I have always attended parties with my son. Granted, he is only 4, but until he is older and forbids me to go with him I most likely will because I feel the birthday mom could always use an extra hand with the kids. Since the next party is going to be smaller just politely encourage the parents to let you watch their daughter at the party and go enjoy doing something by themselves. If they would rather stay that's OK, it's their kid. If they do stay try to get them involved in what the kids are doing. I'm sure they will understand that your main focus should be on the kids at the party but staying in the house while thier daugheter was elswhere sounds a little odd.

1 mom found this helpful

You could put on the invitation,"drop off time is....." Pick up at.....

Also, if they do want to stay, because some people feel awkward about leaving their child either, they dont know you yet or they feel like they're dumping the kid without supervising.... I wouldnt worry about the parents....a bowl of chips and a bottled water is all you should worry about with parents....they either can sit and munch alone or put them to work, by asking if they'd like to help with something....

LG

1 mom found this helpful

If you are only inviting 2 children I am guessing they are your child's closest friends. You should call the parents and tell them your plans. Hopefully at the age of 7 you are close to the parents of your daughter's best friends and have had playdates. If you do not know the parents of the 2 children, maybe you should become friendly with them. I have a three year old and a newborn so I have not been part of the parties without parents. I have asked a couple of moms who have older kids and I recall the child asked for just friends at age 7 so he could go bowling.

1 mom found this helpful

I usually stay when my daughters go to birthday parties. I'd feel pretty uncomfortable dropping them off at someone's house and then leaving, unless I knew the host/hostess pretty well. Maybe my daughter's school is different than most, I don't know, but generally when someone hosts a party, it's taken for granted that a parent will accompany the child (my kids are in Kindergarten and 2nd grade). The hostess will have a separate table of food for the adults (nothing fancy, maybe veggies and dip, that sort of thing), and the parents usually chat amongst themselves. I don't think anybody would expect any entertainment for the parents - we're just there to keep an eye out on our kiddos and correct them if they get out of hand.

As one of the other posters said, maybe you could have a sleep-over party? Or alternately, you could have an activity of some kind, such as going to the zoo, or going to see a movie. If there are only 2 kids, you could pick them up and "chauffeur" them to the party. It would be fun for the kids, and since there will only be a few, the parents will probably be fine with it since there will be plenty of supervision.

1 mom found this helpful

I would write on the invite: DROP OFF CHILD AT x time and PICK UP CHILD at x time. (Or you could do the picking up and dropping off since it would only be 2 kids..... (And since it is only 2 kids, you really can't do much "party" stuff because most games work better with large groups. So in this case, it wouldn't be a big deal if parents came along since the girls will most likely be doing things off by themselves.......)

BUT I would ONLY do this IF I knew these families well. I would never let my child go to a birthday party alone if I didn't know the family really well. She would only be allowed to attend if I could stay and supervise.

This year are 5 year old daughter will be having her first birthday party with friends. I will be writing the drop off and pick up time on the invites. BUT she is only inviting like 5 little girls and we know each family quite well. They know that the kids will be highly supervised and safe. IF any of them would ask me if they could stay, of course, I'd let them. But I know where you are coming from. I prefer to be able to concentrate on entertaining the girls and not have to worry about socializing with the parents during this.

1 mom found this helpful

I had a huge party for both of my girls in december... I expected parents to stay for my younger daughter who was turning 4 and my older daughter I told the parents they were welcome to leave and be back at the end of the party. Most parents of my older daughters friends did leave however a few did stay (one couple stayed because the daughter is very shy and even though she has been friends with my daughter for over a year she didn't feel very comfortable being left alone and another stayed because they were from about 45 minutes away and didn't want to drive home just to turn around and come back) that was fine with me. The parents know that you are busy with the party and that should be the focus. I would occasionally ask if they wanted a drink... make sure they got a snack when the kids did, etc. but for the most part the adults at the party were on their own. I think they pretty much expect that. You can't really tell a parent that you want their kid at your house but they are not welcome or allowed, seems not only rude but a bit suspious to me (although I understand what you are saying).
Hope this helps :)

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter is only 5 but she is in preschool and if she was invited to a function where I didnt know the parents I would not feel comfortable just dropping her off. Now or in 2 years. If I new the parents well it would be a different story. My daughter just turned 5, and I decided not to invite all of her school friends because I felt awkward about all these parents having to buy a present for my child that they dont even know. It wouldnt bother me to go to her classmates parties, but again, I would stay with her. I wouldnt feel like I would have to be entertained either, this would be for my daughter and her friends, not for my own recreation. I wouldnt expect a busy mom to concentrate on me, and like another mom said, I would try to help out. And if its only two girls coming, it must be her really good friends, so maybe it would be a good idea to get to know the parents? Just my thoughts, good luck!

I personally do not take my kids over to someones house and leave them for a birthday party when I don't know them. Are the 2 kids that you are inviting kids who have been over before and their parents know you and your family and would be comfortable with that? I don't think that you should say that parents aren't welcome, that would put up a red flag for me. I also don't feel that you should feel that they need to be entertained by you. When I have taken my kids to others parties, I just kinda keep an eye on my kids, don't expect to be entertained by the parents, and don't expect any food or birthday cake or whatever, nor do I accept it if I am offered because really who wouldn't offer? I just kinda try to stay out of the way while making sure my kids are behaving in an appropriate manner.

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