Paying Etiquette for Kids

Updated on December 20, 2013
S.R. asks from Scottsdale, AZ
26 answers

Let's say your kid invites a friend to a movie or other activity (not a party, just on a day that they need something to do). Do you assume you are paying for the other kid? Does the other kid usually pay? I almost always pay for the other kid, but other parents don't.

I always send my dd with money and the other parent usually takes it (one friend's parent even kept the change on two separate occasions - at least $10 in change!)

What is your rule of thumb?

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Featured Answers


answers from San Francisco on

When we invite, we pay.
When my kids are invited I ask up front, how much $ should I send? They either say x amount or none, it's on us (the latter happens more often than the former.)

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

I asked the other parent, "How much money should I send?" They would either reply, "Enough for her ticket and whatever concessions she wants" or "None. My treat."

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Don't assume.
Always ask the parent/Host.
Some parents do pay.
Some cannot. They don't have the budget for it, besides for their own kid. But they are taking the kids out, because they are trying to allow their child to have fun with their friends, and be a kid.
So always ask, the Host.
I never assume, a Host family is going to pay for my kid.
I just appreciate that a family is willing, to take out my kid and theirs.
It is not, a have to, that the Host has to pay for all kids.

6 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Oklahoma City on

If we go to a movie it's a big deal, that's an extravagance we can't often afford. SO if we allowed the kiddos to invite a friend then it would go something like this.

"Hi, this is john doe's grandmother and john is going to see Xxxxxx today at 4pm. He was hoping Joe could go too. The matinee is only $4, is this something you guys can do?"

I don't hint or make assumptions. If we go someplace we can't afford to pay for anyone else. I don't mind other kids coming along but I can't pay their way. So when I talk to the other parent to gain their permission I am to the point, the cost is $XX.xx and is this something you will do, pay your child's way.

If we have enough money to cover the cost then I am again specific.

"Hi, this is John Doe's grandmother and John would like to treat Joe to a movie this afternoon. We'll be doing the movie and if it's okay we'll go eat at Perkins afterwards. This is our treat".

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

I let the other family know my intentions. I would love to pay every time we bring a friend, but we bring a lot of friends on lots of outings and I am not wealthy. I normally word the invite "Would Connor like to come to the amusement park with us? It will be $15 for his wristband.", or "Would Connor like to come to the museum with us? He will be included in our membership pass.". I don't think the other families mind paying for their kids. The kid gets to go on a fun outing and the parent doesn't have to take them. (I mean, they keep allowing their kids to come with us and they keep paying.)

When my kids are invited on an outing I ask "How much will it cost?". The other parent will either tell me the admission price, or tell me not to worry about it.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

I usually expect to pay when we do the inviting, but I also always send money with my child.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

When my kids invited another kid to go someplace - they had better have cleared it with ME FIRST - and **I** pay. When I invite someone somewhere with me like that - I pay.

Unless otherwise stated, I pay for my guests.

I don't ask the kids that come with me for money and I don't take it from them if offered.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My rule if thumb was always.... If we invited anyone to anything, we paid the entire tab.

I always sent my daughter with $$ just in case but most of the parents (with exception of 1) never took her money.

I never accepted $$ in the rare cases another child offered it either.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I'm a very clear person. In those days, I would say I will pay the admission, bring money for snacks or whatever. I'm just glad that someone was taking my child. I'd not expect them to pay his way!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I always send mine with money as well and it has never once been used, unless my kid wanted something extra. Same goes for their guests. We went to a Navy football game in November and my daughter's friend joined us. We bought lunch before the game and then one round of snacks per kid at the game. She wanted another one, so that was on her. We paid for her dinner after as well. It's just how things should be done, in my opinion.

My boys had friends come to a movie date with us one time, and then home for a taco bar. The mom gave me a $20, but I wouldn't take it so she gave it to her 8 year old. He was playing with it, so I took it from him so he didn't lose it, and forgot to give it back. I called her and tried to return it, but she wouldn't take it. So I told her next time we have them I'm spoiling the heck out of her boys.

So I always pay, and I always send my kid with money, and am pleasantly surprised most other parents pay as well.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chattanooga on

I have always assumed that with younger kids, the parent taking them to the movies pays UNLESS planned otherwise ahead of time. (Eta.... But also send money just in case...)

With older kids, who only have the parent along as a ride or chaperone (teens...) I assume the kid would be paying for him/herself, unless planned otherwise ahead of time.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I always pay and I've always had other parents pay for my kid. I always send money and tell my kid to give it to the parent for their share. They've always come home with the money I sent.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

If someone invites my kid, I ask how much $ should I send with them?

If I invite someone else's kid, I expect to pay in full.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I haven't been in this situation yet. But, if I invited another child to come to a movie, mini golf, whatever, I would intend to pay for him. If he offered money to me, I may or may not take it... it would depend on the situation, how often we do things like that, etc. I would never keep the change though! That is pretty rude.

If you want the other child to pay, you have to be up front from the beginning. Talk to the other mom and say "I'd love to take John to the movies with us today. Would you mind sending along money for his ticket? I'll buy the popcorn."

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

If it's not a party, then I pay for my child. Last weekend GD went to a sleepover b-day party where they were going to the movies. I sent money for her to pay for herself because I know this family doesn't have much money. I told her if the mom insisted on paying for her, then she should use the money to buy snacks for everyone.

When GD gets old enough to go to the movies with just friends, and GD asks a friend if she wants to go to the movies, then I expect the other child to pay for himself/herself. If we invite the child to go with the family, then I would pay.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Whatever grownup is with the kids pays. How rude of that parent!!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Orlando on

yikes! I feel bad, I rarely pay for my daughters friends to go do stuff with us :/ If i can afford it , i have paid in the past. But, I'd say the majority of the time, if my daughter asked, can so and so go to the movie with us, I would say sure but she has to pay for herself. I hope that didn't come across rude to the other parent! I was not trying to be rude, I just honestly could not afford an extra kid.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on

I always send money along with my son if they are going to McDonalds or to the movies. He likes to be in charge of his finances. lol Usually a $20 bill covers most expenses.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

If I invite, I usually paid, unless it was something more expensive and I would be upfront. We are going to the school carnival. the tickets are 50 cents each. Food tickets are $1.00 each.. Most parents sent $10. or $20.

When our daughter was invited, I sent her with money and did not expect money back..

If she came back with all of the money or change, it was a nice surprise..

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

Always if we invited someone we paid even when we took a friend or two of mine to six flags we paid

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

We don't do alot of drop off and take people places - usually we go places together or if it is going somewhere it is somewhere we already have a membership like the town pool or beach etc. When my kids have gone on a drop off movie date I always send money for them. I do not think other people should have to pay for my kid.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I always assume that I will pay. Sometimes the other child did bring money and I let them spend it on treats for both kids. For example, I paid for the movie tickets but let them buy popcorn if they did bring money. Assume if you extend the invitation you are paying.

If you discuss it in advance, you can make other arrangements. I once took another child on a trip with myself and one of my daughters. The other parents and I talked and decided on who would pay for what. They paid for her plane ticket, I paid for hotel room (we all shared) and meals. She brought her own spending money.

I also sent my children with money when they went with others and sometimes the other parents had them pay and sometimes not. I liked to send the money however to avoid putting my kids in an awkward position.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

If my child, or I, are inviting someone over for an activity, it is MY financial responsibility.

If my child is being invited over, I assume THAT parent is accepting all financial responsibility.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Ok, I have a problem with the parent keeping the change! I usually send my dd with cash bc I don't want to make any assumptions. Many times she's come back with the cash because the parent of her friend did pay. If I'm driving more than one friend, I usually let the parents know the cost per child.



answers from Washington DC on

If i invite, I expect to pay. This cost me quite a bit at the pool last summer. I usually send some money with my kids and sometimes the other famy takes it and sometimes they don't. In fairness, one of my daughter's friends invites her on some pricey play dates so I would feel bad not sending her with some.


answers from Norfolk on

Hi, Sally:

If your child invites another child, it is the parents responsibility to care for that child as if it was their own.
If your child invited the child without your knowledge, that is something different.
Your child needs to tell you he/she wants to invite a child to go with him/her to the movies. From there, you and your child make the agreement.

Good luck.
Thanks for caring.

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