When Did You (Or Will You) Start Just Dropping Your Kids Off?

Updated on May 12, 2012
A.H. asks from San Jose, CA
14 answers

I saw a couple questions this morning regarding whether to drop a child off for a play date or birthday party and it got me wondering: At what age do parents start just dropping kids off?
My son is 4 1/2 and he can be a real handful. At the moment I am having trouble imagining ever being able to just drop him off somewhere other than school or a babysitter who is being paid to do the work it takes to mind him. How about you ladies?

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answers from Detroit on

That's a great question. I have gotten at least two invitations from parents requesting my kids ( 6 and 4) to attend a party. The invitaton actually stated that parents were not too drop the kids off or leave while the party was going on. I guess these two individuals had problems with this before. Or they felt as if they would be "babysitting" the kids more than having an actual party? I guess I would expect that it would be okay at about 8 or 9? At this age you would think that it would be ok.

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answers from Honolulu on

It really depends on you/the child/the party or play-date, and WHO is giving it.

Some parties will say, drop off party.
Some will say it is up to you or you can stay.
So ask the host.
At this age, it is common to also stay at the party.... but ask the host.

My daughter is now 8... and parties per her age group... parties are either drop-off or you can stay. Once a Host of the party did say it was drop-off only, because per her budget, (it was at a kids venue/entertainment place), she could NOT afford to ALSO order lunch for all the parents. So... she designated the party as drop-off only. Or parents could pay for their own lunch....
so there is that scenario too.

For me, parties are hosted by people I know.... parents I know. So they will always say, that we can drop-off or stay. We all know each other and the kids.
And I also go by my child.... and their cues.
Some kids are fine just being dropped off, some are not.

So... whether it is a play date or party... ASK the Host.
There is no one certain age... by which you 'have to' either drop off or stay there.

For me, when I have play-dates for my kids at our home... I tell the Moms they can stay or leave. BUT.... because my play-dates are for several kids.... at one time, I ask that at least 1 Mom stay.... just for my sanity.

Per parties, and if it is designated as a drop-off only party... the Hosts of the parties my kids attended... then ALSO made SURE.... there were an adequate number of "Adults/relatives" who were there to also properly SUPERVISE all the kids.

When my daughter has been at a drop-off party... or play-date... I ALSO talk to her about it prior, and prep her. I tell her... to ALWAYS make sure she is not alone anywhere and stays with her friend. In pairs. I tell her... to NEVER go wandering away by herself... or to the bathroom... to ALWAYS tell the Adult/Host... of any needs/bathroom/help she needs. To SPEAK up. My daughter... is safe.... in behavior and wise that way... so she knows, what is appropriate or not. I ALSO make sure... she, from a younger age, KNOWS our phone numbers... AND I also give the Host... our contact phone numbers/cell numbers, just in case... AND when I will return to pick her up. Even if early.
And for these drop-off type parties/play-dates... I ALSO talk to the Host... and ask about how many kids are attending, supervision... and about the venue it is being held at.
BUT... usually, my daughter/son attends things with people I know, anyway. And trust.
Otherwise, I stay... at the party or play-date.

all the best,

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I remember being allowed to go to a friend's house in Kindergarten, but only if my parents knew the family. Same thing for birthday parties... sleepovers were in first grade for close friends, second for "new friends". I always had to call before bed and let my parents know that I was safe.

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answers from Augusta on

My oldest is ADHD and we started dropping her off at parties in first grade.
She did great.

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answers from Boston on

We started doing drop offs at about 4.5 with my daughter, for playdates where we knew the parents and liked them. My son (age 3) has actually already had a couple of drop off playdates with close family friends.

You can always try having the playdate at your house first, and if they go off and play nicely together without a lot of interference from you, then you know he's ready to do it at someone else's house. If you constantly have to stay on top of him, he's not ready.

We started having drop off birthdays at age 4. About half the parents left. At age 5 everyone was gone. I was fine with that - fewer people to feed! I, of course, will stay if the parent would like me to or if it's more convienent, but I don't mind dropping off for birthday parties either.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

If I remember correctly, I started doing the drop-off stuff when the kids were 5-ish. My oldest may have been closer to 6 (he has high-functioning autism and I just wanted to keep an eye on him a bit longer), and my two girls may have been a bit younger, maybe around 4 - 5 (but they were much more independent). I think it depends on the child, the place they're going and how well you know the family they're visiting.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I thinkit is about 6 for birthdays...def Kindergarten. For playdates I think it was 5. But I always made sure that I knew the people..never to a random invitation.

And FYI You are in MUCH more danger letting young boys use the restroom by themselves than to go to a friends house after school IMO. I see this ALL the time...with moms who would otherwise be very protective. I still take my 9 yo in with me, Ot block the door of the mens room.

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answers from Los Angeles on

to me i wouldnt just drop my daughter off (she will be 4 in march) until shes probably in first grade (around 6) by then she will be used to me being gone and she will be more comfortable. i would stay for a few friends kids bday parties just because they are very close and dear friends and i love their kids like my own. i always stay for kids bdays that are in my family. school age kids since you dont always connect with the parents well then i would probably just drop off when i feel she is old enough.

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answers from Seattle on

My son's 8. I drop him off at one of his bestie's houses all the time. That's the only house where the standard is that we trade. The other boy is also 12yo, and has a disorder similar to my son's... so it's TOTALLY comfy for me to trade. I know that meltdowns will either be circumvented or a non-issue, food on a regular basis, etc. Most his other friends I'm also friends with the parents so we often use THEIR playdate as a "grownup" playdate and cook or have a glass of wine or just hang out and talk.

It is SO much easier to just have drop off playdates from a logistics standpoint though, because only 1 person has to not be busy.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Eugene on

My boys are 14 and 16 and I still go in, meet the parents and chat with them before dropping them off! I was also the parent who would stay and help at birthday parties and other events. My two older girls had life-threatening food allergies which gave me an excuse to hang around, especially if food would be served.

I saw alot that made me glad I'd stayed: ashtrays full of cigarette butts that the kids could reach, backyards filled with dog poop while kids ran around, construction materials like sharp nails and exposed rebar, guns (yes, real), well-meaning parents who said they didn't need help with a party but ended up over their head with too many kids and no other adults to help....

Every family has it's own standards and comfort level regarding kids' safety. Personally, I was glad when I stayed and sometimes left if I felt I'd be in the way and the kids were safe.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kalamazoo on

My kids are 6 and 8. My son (8) is only dropped off at his best friends house and I have known his mother since our boys were born. He has a friend that lives close by and have known each other since K (3 yrs). I have chatted with the boys Grandma several times. He lives with his Grandma and Dad - I have never really talked to the Dad. I do not let my son go there. If the boys want to play, they play at our house. I know I am probably way over protective, but that's how I feel. I am not going to trust "strangers" with the care, safety and well being of my children. I won't be dropping them off at parties with people that I don't know until I can trust my kids independance completly - maybe age 10? maybe not until age 13? I don't know............I can always be counted on as the "party helper"

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Usually Kindergarten seems to be the magic age. I think because MOST of our K here is all day and the kids are use to routine, listening, can dress themselves, potty without help with clothes and are use to sitting, listening and following directions. I did not start until 2nd grade, but that is becausee my kid has serious allergies and I wanted to be there. I do remember though in K all of the other parents but 1 coming and dropping. With all of the parties I have stayed at, I do not feel the parents were "not over-laoded" though with thee kids until 2nd grade. When I saw that in 2nd grade the kids were 'totally' into birthday partiy activities, I started dropping. Most others start when school has become full time for all of the kids involved. Hope that helps.

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answers from Philadelphia on

You should stay! I taught for over ten years and I know many parties that my school children attended they were NOT being watched! If the party is in a public place ~what if your child needs to use the bathroom? Who is checking to see if he/she returned? I also had an "Uncle" expose hisself to a group of my girls during a sleepover! We found out he had been abusing the "stepdaughter". This was a fairly normal middle class town!!



answers from San Diego on

At my daughters 6th birthday party a few of her classmates parents dropped the kids off and left. I had never heard of that and couldn't believe it. Some of my thoughts were: who's gonna watch your child while I am serving, cooking, hosting, taking pictures, etc etc. Another thought: you don't even know who is in my house ( what if there were dirty old men in my house that looked normal). I have a four bedroom house. I don't know who's in there and what there doing? Kids included!!! Non of these women even asked me if it was ok until I looked confused. Maybe I am just old fashioned. Obviously if you are good friends with someone I am not referring to them. If you plan on dropping a child off be courteous and ask the host. And you know if your child is a terror or not. If your child can't behave in public you need to stay. Sorry if I sound like I am venting I just think it's rude to just drop off a child without asking especially if theft are young or not that familiar with the family. We gotta be more careful with our children moms!

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