At What Age Do You Stop Accompanying Kids to Parties?

Updated on October 15, 2013
N.K. asks from Miami Beach, FL
27 answers

My daughter (aged 7) was invited to a birthday party yesterday. When I told my friend (a childless male) that I'd have to get ready to attend, he acted surprised that I somehow considered going to this birthday party (I mean "going" as in attending, not just dropping off and coming back later to pick up a child, but staying at the party) with my kid. I never even gave it a thought, I automatically assumed it was a no-brainer to go there with her. He thought she was old enough to be able to be dropped off on her own and that she'd probably be embarrassed to have me there.

I told him I probably would not be doing the "drop and come back later" thing until she is perhaps 11, and his jaw dropped. Besides, she wants me around and goes out of her way to include me and will even ask me to come into the bouncy house with her friends, so she's not embarrassed of me yet and I know that's coming later so I want to enjoy this phase of her still wanting me around. I did not think I was being irrational, but now, I am not so sure.

Now granted, he is not a parent, but his reaction made me question myself as perhaps being a tad too overprotective. I do want to add that I did not see a single unaccompanied child at this party, except one who came with his cousin, but the cousin's parents were at the party so he wasn't truly unaccompanied. Adults outnumbered kids last night. Therefore, I was not out of place hanging around and meeting other moms.

There were a couple of teens and they came with their parents too. I just wanted to get a feel for the age at which most parents stop attending parties with their child. This does not necessarily mean I will change my views on the subject, but it may.

Please, no name-calling or attacks on parents who drop off their kids at an earlier/later age than you do, as we all have different parenting styles, and this is just meant as a way for me to get a feel for others' opinions so we can perhaps modify our own or feel stronger about our choices. Thanks :)

Update: I see a lot of you say it depends on the venue. I don't feel so bad then, none of the parties we have attended were at homes. Yesterday's party was at a nightclub (the dad owns the nightclub and it is closed on Sundays so he opened it up for the party) and although there was a bouncy house on the lawn, there was also a sliding gate with street access that the parents used to enter the venue or go to their car, so that would have been a major concern for me, since most parents are busy socializing or watching their own child.

I did not worry about her having access to alcohol since there were bartenders (another reason the adults wanted to stay - free drinks on the house!), but I did worry she might slip out unnoticed. I know the parents from aftercare pickup - we say hello and goodbye to each other, but that was the only extent of socialization until yesterday when we had a chance to sit, chat, and have fun.

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So What Happened?

I have attended a couple of parties since then and at every single one, the kids' own parents were around, with the exception of kids who had a relative or friend joining them, so I don't feel so overbearing as some were implying. I guess in future events, I will play it by ear, but if the party is way out of my area, I would probably stay, I wouldn't want to drive home 30 miles from the party and then back 30 miles to pick her up later on.

You misunderstood...I did not go in the bouncy house, I just said my daughter was asking me to. By the way, there actually were a couple of mothers inside the bouncy house joining their kids, but generally the kids were about 5 years old, so maybe they were a bit more attached to their moms. It was a bit funny to watch these ladies jumping inside the bouncy house but it seemed they were having fun and that's all that should matter! :)

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answers from San Francisco on

Once they started school (K) I dropped and left, so did most of the other parents.
I had a few parents hang around my kids' parties when they were younger. It was weird, I mean I was busy hosting the kids, leading games and crafts, serving cake, I didn't have the time to entertain the adults too. Plus I felt like they were "watching me" you know? I wanted to say, you know, you really don't need to be sitting on my couch like a stalker, go run some errands or something LOL!
ETA: who has a child's birthday party at a bar?! Okay, I would stay for that one. And we wouldn't stay long.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Some parent/party hosts don't want the moms/dads hanging around because then they have to host the kids and entertain the parents - too much work. I need the hostess to supervise the kids.........not the adults.

By the time my daughter was 9 or 10 I was clearly a "drop off and come back" mom. I may have started earlier, but my child has always been super independent, not at all clingy to mom/dad. I always asked up front if parents were required/invited to stay. I looked at these invites as an opportunity for me to have some "free" time as well. And I try to ask questions in advance about the party/activity/location/supervision and if I feel that something's not right at drop off - I might definitely linger. My daughter is now 15 and I will still ask questions to assess the situation before just allowing her to attend certain events. I wouldn't think of hanging out a party she's invited too now!

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answers from Atlanta on

I stop going around Kindergarten, definitely in first. If it's a family friend, I go. But, a kid from my child's class - it's drop off by age 7. Honestly I would have been mortified if my mother was still attending parties with me at age 10.

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answers from Boston on

Oh boy I'm with your friend. I can assure you that your presence will not be welcome at parties until age 11. Time for a reality check, mama.

I started dropping off in Kindergarten, depending on the venue, how far away it was, how many other parents were there, etc. For places far away where dropping off and picking up weren't feasible from a time standpoint, I would stay. For a crowded place where not many other parents had stayed, I would stay. For a pool party at any venue or home, I would stay. For the local birthday party factory where things were well run and I could squeeze in some errands? Drop off. Party at someone's house where things were crowded? Drop off. Busy day when I had nine million other things to do and a friend was staying there who could keep an eye on my child? Drop off.

My younger kids are 7 & 9. I'd say that by 9, no one stays unless she or he is good friends with the host or the venue is far away and even for a party like that, which I hosted earlier this year, most of the parents ran errands during the party. For my 7 year old, the vast majority dropped off and picked up.

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answers from San Francisco on

Around kindergarten.

Mom, 11 is waaaaay to old to be hovering and waiting for something bad to happen so you can rush in and save the day. I understand it makes makes you feel like you are keeping her safe. I understand that bad things "could" happen...but it is very unlikely that it will in a structured party environment.

We say no to sleepovers...but other than that the kids have alot of freedom to roam and play. Our kids don't have cell phones or internet access on itouches. Now that is where parents should place more worry and concern!

Teach her to be self confident, aware of her surroundings and to be protective of her personal space and body. She will be just fine and more independent knowing she has freedom to roam and power to keep herself safe.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

My son is 7 too, and I've just -- this year -- noticed a shift whereby more parents are dropping kids off, rather than sticking around.

But I've seen parents drop kids off at 4. I've certainly seen the parents of 7-year-olds stick around. I think our kids are in a "gray area" age.

At an upcoming party, I just plan to drop the mom an email, a la: "What's your preference on parents dropping kids off rather than sticking around? Are you pressed for space, or would you rather have an extra chaperone?"

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answers from Dallas on

Around here, most children are dropped off. Of course, it depends on the venue... swimming parties tend to have more parents involved for pure safety issues.

Parties with bounce houses, etc are usually a drop off party. I would have been surprised if a parent of a 7 yr old stayed at a party we hosted and I'd find a parent active in the bounce house and child activities pretty awkward.

At age 11, believe me, she will cringe if you try to participate in parties with her. Letting go takes time and baby steps... start some baby steps of letting go so your child will continue a good relationship with you. If you over do the over protection it tends to send the children in the opposite direction and you sure don't need that when she is a teen.

Best wishes.

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answers from Grand Forks on

Where I live we stop attending by kindergarten. By kindergarten the kids are used to being away from mom for hours at a time and they no longer need assistance in the bathroom. When we plan parties we enlist enough adults to supervise the kids so parents do not need to stay and supervise their own kids. If a parent were to stay at a kids party here it would be strange, as the party hosts would not be prepared to entertain adults at the party.

Birthday parties here also tend to be smaller. Only the birthday child's actual friends are included, not the whole class. The children we invite to my kids parties have already been to my home, have been on outings with my family, and I have already met the parents.

ETA: IF my kids were invited to a party in a bar, and the parents were also invited to stay and have free drinks then I would stay but I would take a cab! But I would only stay for the free drinks! LOL!

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answers from Washington DC on

it depends on the party for us. If it's at their home, I will just drop off my daughter who is 8. We went to a party at chuckie cheese last week and I stayed the whole time. When my daughter was only 6 I took her to a party at a friends house and I stayed. I was the only other parent there. I felt really akward and the mom of the birthday girl even said I could go in the other room and just watch tv if I wanted (I didn't of course). But ever since then, if it's at someones house, then I just drop off. My son is only 6 and I still go to his friends parties because they have all been at locations other than their home.

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answers from New York on

So many parents stay and it annoys me that if I don't stay, I will be the parent who always drops off and goes. My daughter is 7.

Venue plays a part in drop offs. I had a swim party and most parents stayed - it was at a place with lifeguards. But if I have the option to leave, I try to. Just for my own sanity.

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answers from New York on

Mine were dropped off starting at age 4 or maybe 5. No one stayed. How and why would you stay if you have other kids. Then again we trusted our friends u like today. No one trusts anyone. Not sure why but I cannot imagine being like that. Trust me at 11 she would probably rather stay home then have you shadow her at a party.

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answers from Minneapolis on

I ask my child if they want me to attend. Both haven't wanted me to since Kindergarten.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I think it all depends on the situation and the comfort level of both the parent and child. Whatever you feel comfortable with is what you should do and don't let anyone make you feel awkward about it. That being said, I started letting my daughter go to parties and playdates alone last year when she was 7 years old in 1st grade. I would say that most of the parents of my daughters friends drop off their children, some began as early as kindergarten. I have one friend that goes along with her child everywhere... playdates, birthday parties, scouting troop meetings even when she is the only parent still present. That is her right though. Her daughter, her decision. Best wishes to you. :)

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answers from Oklahoma City on

Okay, I was right there with you until you said you get in the bouncy house with the kids...that's just weird!

I don't take the kids and drop them off either but I don't hang with them, I sit where I can see them and I observe them and what their doing. It's my job to manage my kiddo's.

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answers from San Francisco on

I don't think there's a specific age, it just depends on the type of party and the expectations of the people throwing the party. My first thought was about 8, but I don't recall exactly.

If you aren't out of place at a party and your daughter doesn't mind you being there and you are enjoying it, then by all means stay.

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answers from Sacramento on

I did around five or six. They're ready for some independence then and as long as there is someone supervising, there's no point in me being there. I've sat through every type of boring kid's party out there and have no interest in going if I don't have to (Unless I know I have friends going, in which case I might stay to chat. I will also stay if it's a pool party or far away.). It also places a big financial burden on parents when parents stick around ... it can double food costs. Our son is 10 and only one parent stuck around for his party last year and that was weird. We didn't have time to socialize with that dad and he just sat around our back yard looking at his phone.

A kid's birthday party at a nightclub? That one, I'm not even sure I'd let my child attend, even with me there. A very strange choice to me.

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answers from Chicago on

I consider myself to be almost a helicopter mom (not by choice, but by necessity due to having a child with ADHD.) That being said, I have been dropping my son off at parties since he turned 6. (He's almost 7 now). So far he has attended 4 drop off parties and there's never been any trouble.

His first ever birthday party was last December, and I stayed at that one. Now, if I didn't know the kid's parents well, I might consider staying, depending on the venue. In-house party and I don't know the parents? I will go and stay with him, and try to be helpful to the parents. Bouncy house, laser tag, etc.? I trust between the parents and the staff that they have things well in hand.

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answers from Washington DC on

at the sort of party you describe, i may well have stayed with a 7 year old. but a party at a friend or neighbor's house, i'd have no problem dropping a child off if i was comfortable with the hosts. and, of course, if they were okay with it.
most of the parties my kids attended did not expect parents to stay, although parents often did. at 7 my boys were fine without me if they were with friends.
:) khairete


answers from Jacksonville on

It definitely depends upon the venue and the adult supervision involved.

The scenario you describe in your update is a scenario where I would have stayed as well. I have stayed for "block party" style parties, too.
However, at 2nd grade age, if the party was at a kid's "party place" where they have self contained play areas and party rooms, etc or an individual's home where things were self-contained and not chaos... then I would likely come in for a few minutes, make sure my child was comfortable and knew whom to seek out if they needed something (bathroom, felt ill, got hurt, etc), left my cell phone number written down, and come back near the time the party was supposed to wrap up.

At the age your child is, you should definitely make sure with the host mom/dad that they are aware of your intentions to stay, in advance. Because, yes, at this age, many parents will not stay (again, depending upon the venue and activity involved--pool parties are another animal altogether) and many hosts will expect you to be leaving and not have anything planned for adults milling around.
All that said, by age 9 or 10, I was almost always dropping off and coming back. Unless it was a close friend and I had volunteered (and been told yes I need the help) to stay and help with the party/kids. I think your expectations (regarding not doing this until age 11) will likely change before then. You will be amazed by how much your child will change and mature between now and then. Age 11 they are in middle school. It's a different world.



answers from New York on

Everyone around here started dropping off in kindergarten. I sure don't want to attend a kids birthday party if it's not one of my own kids - there are MANY other things I'd rather do with my time.



answers from Honolulu on

Depends on the age of the child.
Depends on the venue/place of the party.
Depends on IF there are in fact, adequate amount of adults/Hosts at the party to supervise ALL the kids that are invited per the venue. ie: if a parent has a party for her kids and there are over 10 kids, and only SHE is the only adult "supervising" all the kids and doing the party too, then no, I would not leave my kid there and drop off. There are not enough "eyes" to watch all those kids. BUT the Host would have to say.... that the parents of the invited kids, can stay, or not. If it is a drop off party, or not. AND it depends on the age of the kids.

Most parties my kids gets invited to, there are the Hosts there, PLUS, an Aunty or grandparents etc., so that there are other "adults" there HELPING with the party and the supervision of the kids. So to me, that is enough. I do not have to stay. And I don't.
And these are drop-off parties.

I never, stay at a party, UNLESS the Host has made it clear, that the parents can, stay. And even at that, per the ages of my children, I do not stay. I drop off.
My kids are 7 and 10. So at those ages, parents do not stay at a party. They drop off.
Even when my son or daughter was in Kindergarten, I dropped off.



answers from Anchorage on

For us it depends on the place. I stayed at things like pool parties until after my kids were both excellent swimmers. But for the most part I stopped staying once the kids were in 1st grade or so. But even now (8 and 9) if the venue is one where accidents are more likely ( a bouncy house place or skateboarding party or something of that nature) I will stay just to help out the mom is she needs.



answers from Denver on

My son just turned 6, I still attend parties with him. Eventually I will probably drop off, but not at someones house that I don't know. My son just had his 6th birthday party, we had it at a fitness club where the kids got to do rock climbing. So the other attendees were about 6 and 7. I would say about half the parents dropped off and half the parents stayed.

I think it depends on you and your kid. Some are ultra independent, some are not. 11 does seem a bit old to be attending still though.



answers from Rochester on

It depends on the party. If the host family are people we are good friends with I usually stay and socialize or help with the party. My daughter was probably 5 when she started staying at parties without me. It does depend some on the venue. A party with several kids at a home I'm ok with her staying without me. A party at a public venue like Chuck E Cheese or a ceramics place I let her stay without me. A pool party--probably not until she is a teenager. The venue that you described I probably would have stayed. Especially if there was alcohol available and if I didn't know the family really well.


answers from Boise on

Pool party I stay until I'm secure in the fact that they won't drowned.

Everything else I always asked what the host wanted, especially if the parents arent friends of mine. I would say at least 90% of the time it was a drop off situation.



answers from Sacramento on

I have a 7 year old boy in 2nd grade, and around here ( Sacramento area) parents generally stay at the bday parties.
Parents typically stay and socialize.


answers from Houston on

If I am friends with the hosts, I stay. If it's a school party and they only know my son, I left him at age 7.

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