17 answers

Drop off Age for Birthday Parties

My son is having his 6th b-day party today at a location about 35-45 minutes from where we live at a busy entertainment center. I just had a parent call last minute and ask if its a drop off party. The invitation states it is for the invited child plus parent. My husband was a little irritated that someone would ask, but for a party not close by at a busy location, do you think that age 6 is too young to drop off your children for a 2 1/2 hour party?

BTW, there are 11 kids coming and we will also have our 2 y/o w/us.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Well, thankfully, all the parents stayed and some even made it a family event as the party was at Legoland. I couldn't have done it without them as the place was absolutely mobbed and I would've been so nervous about losing track of someone. It didn't help that my 2 y/o had a meltdown the last 45 minutes of the party. Things were so crazy I didn't even get to take any pictures. Maybe I'll have to find a photographer for next year who'll work for cake and a goody bag. :) Thanks for all the input!

Featured Answers

Six is not too young for a party to be "drop-off". If I had invited that many children, I would have specifically asked a couple of the parents to stay to help, but not expected them all to.

1 mom found this helpful

I would be more comfortable having the parents there. You don't say how many kids or if it's boy and girls or just boys. How close the bathrooms are or how close you are to the doors to the outside. If one of the kids needs to go to the bathroom and has to pass a door to the parking lot, an adult needs to be with that child. Kids will see something cool outside and run out to look at it, get hit by a car, or decide to follow a dog or a kitten and get lost, or worst case senario be approached by a child predator and taken. You can't watch all the kids take them to the bathroom and host a birthday party at the same time. If the parent can't go because of work or something equally important ask one of the other parents to take responsibility for the child so you can host the party.

1 mom found this helpful

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I have not had parents at my kids birthday parties, they have been "drop off" since about age 5 but parties are usually about 10 minutes from our neighborhood. 45 minutes away from home might be stretching it I dont know if I would be comfortable dropping my kid that far away. I think in your situation where they are that far away yes 6 is too young to just leave them.

1 mom found this helpful

I think my daughter was 6 the first time she attended a party (that was not at someone's house) without parents staying. I personally think I would want more adults than just my husband helping me if there were 11 kids around age 6 attending, along with a 2 year old so I don't think asking some parents to stay, just for safety reasons alone, is a bad idea. And it sounds like it was clearly stated on the invitation. Maybe that parent had something else going on at the same time so dropping off her child is the only way that he/she will be able to attend. If the other parents are staying though, I think you will be fine. I really think it depends on the location, comfort level of the parents, etc. so just keep doing what you feel comfortable with so you & your son can enjoy his party. Happy Birthday to your son & I hope you all have a great time!

1 mom found this helpful

Six is not too young for a party to be "drop-off". If I had invited that many children, I would have specifically asked a couple of the parents to stay to help, but not expected them all to.

1 mom found this helpful

I would be more comfortable having the parents there. You don't say how many kids or if it's boy and girls or just boys. How close the bathrooms are or how close you are to the doors to the outside. If one of the kids needs to go to the bathroom and has to pass a door to the parking lot, an adult needs to be with that child. Kids will see something cool outside and run out to look at it, get hit by a car, or decide to follow a dog or a kitten and get lost, or worst case senario be approached by a child predator and taken. You can't watch all the kids take them to the bathroom and host a birthday party at the same time. If the parent can't go because of work or something equally important ask one of the other parents to take responsibility for the child so you can host the party.

1 mom found this helpful

I don't think 6 is too young. Does this child have siblings? It maybe she needs to drop off the child to get another child elsewhere. I have four. This was often the situation (They are older now. Only two don't drive. So much easier.) If you told me no, then likely my child would not attend. I can't be two places at once and my husband is away on business for two weeks per month.

We had my daughters 6th party last year and it was drop off but it was at a bounce house center. No one asked me though before hand, they asked when they got there and we said it was fine. I always find that some stay, some go.

OK here I started having people do drop offs last year so around 3-4 age. It is a smaller town and everyone is pretty close. i threw a huge birthday bash at my house by accident. I live rural and wanted about 10 kids....I invited about 20 since everyone told me about half of what you invite come and I figured it would be less this far out, well it must have been a good weekend for a party, because everyone came!!! I scrambled to make more goodie bags and thank goodness i had extra stuff here. i also had to cut the cake in small pieces to have enough. So I had that many kids plus parents and about 5 kids were parent less, so i politely asked some of the moms that I knew the best and a few family members if they could watch one kid that didn't have a parent and if kid was acting up then they could just let me know if they didn't feel right about correcting. Kinda like a buddy system. They didn't seem to mind and seemed to feel honored that I asked them to help and everyone had a great time and we had no accidents even though all 20 kids were inside & out and on trampoline, fort, and electric cars....there was no way me or my husband could have done it by ourselves for sure and it was a win win for all. So maybe you could get a you or husbands sibling to help out watching the one drop off or maybe another mom who just has one child... etc... My daughter had a blast btw and that evening when she was saying prayers etc... she told me that she sure had a lot of people that loved her! So I told my husband that it was worth every penny spent just for her to feel that!! Most 6 year olds should be old enough to behave and do for themselves, so i could see where kid doesn't want to miss but parent can't stay etc... Hopefully drop off won't be too much trouble for you guys. Best of luck.

At that age most parties are drop off, so I can understand the asking. If it's not ok with you then say so, no big deal either way.

I did have a drop off party for my daughter's 6th bday at a place an hour away, and yes it was drop off optional. It was not a big deal at all.

The invitation states child plus parent...seems pretty obvious that you expect the parent to stay.

If you were having a party at your home and the child attending was a child that you are very familiar with (and his parents familiar with you), it would be reasonable to "drop off" but at a busy entertainment center, they should plan to stay.

Now if the parent asked because she needs to drop her other child at practice or run across the street for a quick errand, that is a bit different.

If the parents are fine with leaving the child and you know the kid is not a whiner or one who will take all your attention from YOUR child and HIS big day, then it should be fine. I assume most parents would not drop off their child unless the child is ready for it.

I wouldn't have done it, I think they were sixteen when I allowed them to go to a birthday by themselves. Oh just kidding. But I wouldn't have done that, unless it was hosted by a sister or best friend who said they would gladly watch my child. That is a lot of children to be responsible for and yet I have a sister who would have done it because she was always 'so busy'. To date her children and my children always arrived home from a party, so I guess it's preference. Personally I was always quite worried about them wandering, etc. so that is why I wouldn't have. Different strokes for different folks.

Birthday parties for my daughter became drop off last year when she was five. It's pretty much an unspoken rule I guess you could say that all parties at that age are drop off parties. But if you specify child PLUS parent then it's understood the parent should stay. I'm sure the reason they asked is because they are perhaps used to just dropping their child off. I would probably ask too since for the past year now I've just dropped my daughter off at birthday parties.

Round here, our first "stay or drop off" invitations started happening at age 4. In K, it was 50/50. By age 6, unless specifically requested, it's understood that it's a drop off.

My son is 8. I get SO many thankyous by *also* inviting parents (parents are welcome to stay or drop off, kids tickets taken care of... adult or sibling tickets are x dollars each). Our last party was at a movie theatre. Some parents stayed (with or without siblings), some caught another flick in the theatre, some dropped off.

The one thing I've learned with an average of 8 bday parties a year is that there is no "normal". There is only what is spelled out in the invitation, or what you call and get answered.

Day Of is a little late to call, but I'll lay money on the table parent 1 was thinking it was mandatory, and then this morning parent 2 was thinking it was optional and they got into a debate about it... so they called to find out what was right so they didn't do the "wrong" thing. Most parents don't want to be seen as "helicopters", AND they don't want other parents not to ban their kid because of "crazy" parents, so they usually go with the option that makes them look less paranoid.

As long as the child is comfortable, I say 6 is fine for drop off. If there are other siblings it may be that the parent will need to find a sitter or alternative for them. It sounds like most of the other parents will be staying, so it should be fine. My son just had his 7th birthday party and we left it optional for parents. Most chose to stay, and a few teamed up - one mom stayed with the siblings while one came to the party.

One option if you are concerned that there will be a lot of kids without parents might be to ask a few older kids (cousins, babysitters, neighbors, older siblings of guests) to come along to help out.

Call me a fuddy-duddy, but I went with our son to bday parties till he was 7 or 8. And I rarely was the only one who did that. There were often more moms there, too. Our presence was often appreciated because it cut down on pandemonium and we helped with whatever was needed.

At parties at our house, I kind of missed it when parents stopped coming. That was probably around age 6 or 7. Our parties were usually small (5-6 kids), though, so the numbers were easy to handle.

It sounds like you had plenty of adults there.

I dont think 6 is too young to be dropped off. Perhaps she wants her child to attend but cant take him or stay. Did you offer for her to drop him off with you so you could take him?

My niece was 7 when she had a birthday party and most of the parents dropped off their children. Parents like to drop off their children because they have other children to attend to at home.

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