Kid’s Birthday Party Etiquette

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  • Martha
    November 28, 2021 at 1:40 pm #1100456

    Hello everyone
    Love reading the advice section here but not sure if its the right forum to post this, but any advice would be very welcome. I have a question about my kid’s birthday party etiquette. It is a drop off party with kids that he plays with on a regular basis and we also know all the parents. I have clearly mentioned that it is a drop off party in the invite for all the kids in our neighborhood. My kid himself had attended many of these drop off birthday parties at their homes. There is one mom however, who is insisting on attending with her son. I know she attended a previous bday party too coz I saw her when I went to pick up my son. These are all 6-7 yr olds. Honestly if you send your kid to school/daycare etc I dont see what the big deal is. This lady kind of overstayed her welcome the last time her son had a playdate at my place. She’d dropped her son off and went grocery shopping, and then came back and stayed till dinner! I’m not sure how to respond to her. I will have 2 sets of parents staying at the party since they live abt 20 miles away and they are very close friends, so I would have to give my time to them (and the kids) and wouldn’t be able to entertain this lady at all. Not sure how to respond.

    November 28, 2021 at 1:42 pm #1100457

    Just to add she had never invited my son back for a play date OR fed me dinner

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    November 28, 2021 at 2:27 pm #1100458

    This happened to me with my son’s 6th bday party, which was his first drop-off party. Another mom insisted she stay, even though her son was a year older and they lived literally across the street. We also had a history of her always staying during playdates (when by then, I thought drop-off playdates made more sense; it’s exhausting to entertain someone you aren’t really friends with for two hours while your kids play and you could be getting other stuff done). All this to say that I feel you! BUT! I mean, come on. It’s one extra person. And maybe her kid is not neurotypical and really struggles in social settings (which is different than a school or daycare setting). As a parents of a neuro-atypical kid, I have also been in that position and I’m always so grateful when other parents are flexible and patient with the extra care that might be needed (on play dates, at bday parties, at sleepovers, etc).

    As far as etiquette goes, you could tell her that as this is a drop-off party, she’s more than welcome to just drop her kid off, but if she prefers staying for whatever reason, you have to apologize in advance that you won’t be able to visit with her as you’ll have your hands full. She may offer to help you, and you could give her a job or two to keep her occupied (/ out of your hair) while she’s there.

    November 28, 2021 at 7:40 pm #1100461

    I would leave it alone-people have different levels of comfort around their kids and unfamiliar circumstances.

    November 29, 2021 at 6:10 am #1100471

    I agree with the above. Everyone has different life experiences and circumstances. Be kind and flexible. Ask her to go when you want her to and she’s not picking up your subtle hints.

    November 29, 2021 at 12:36 pm #1100482

    I’m that mom who lingers at playdates and parties. I had a handful of horrible things happen to me at friend’s houses growing up. One friend loved to play with her dad’s gun, an older brother of another friend talked about sex & showed me porn (I was 7). Those are just 2 examples. School is very different than someone’s home. I try not to be paranoid or suspicious of everybody, but I need to know people (and know how closely they watch their kids) before I’m comfortable dropping off my kids.

    November 29, 2021 at 1:17 pm #1100484

    I had bad experiences like Helen’s as well that shaped how I parent my kids. I have good friends that I do trust to leave my kids with and my 6&7 year olds have friendships they’ve made at school or otherwise with people I don’t really know that I wouldn’t feel comfortable just dropping them off with, other parents that I don’t know being there or not.

    It’s not an insult, it’s probably her being what you perceive to be as overprotective but she just sees as being protective. We all have different baggage.

    We just hosted my 6 year old daughter’s indoor (as Covid safe as I could make it) party and we offered friends the option to just drop off and most did, but one new friend’s parents stayed and now I might have a new set of adult friends because they were pretty cool. And honestly, they did help me clean up and herd the children.

    And to another point, I always wonder about guns, if they are securely stored, etc and I normally want to know someone a little before I bring up hot topics.

    November 29, 2021 at 2:46 pm #1100489

    You need to take a “chill” pill. You do not know her background and have not walked in her shoes. When it’s time that everyone should go home just tell her.

    November 29, 2021 at 3:26 pm #1100490

    I agree. Just let her stay, but you’re not under any obligation to entertain her. Just let her be. Be polite but focus on the things you need to worry about. And if she insists on hanging out with you put her to work.

    November 29, 2021 at 10:43 pm #1100510

    Thank u everyone for your responses. I do have to clarify the kid in question is not neuro atypical, no older kids will be present… which everyone knows since none of these kids barring 2 have elder siblings and they r not invited. None owns a gun in this group and we know it. This lady does not help in cleaning up as per my last experience. I get it that she wants to stay for whatever reason but will let her know that i will not be able to entertain her.

    December 1, 2021 at 3:01 pm #1100570

    Some parents overstay. Some take pickup times as a loose suggestion for when they might want to start thinking about leaving home to come get their kid. Both can be frustrating. I would be proactive.

    – Email or text ALL parents: (Kiddo) is so excited your child is able to come to his party. For the couple of folks who were wondering, this is a drop-off party, so you’ll get a break to enjoy however you like while your child is with us. Drop off is at 1 and pick-up is at 3. (Frankly you can send this just to her and make it look like it’s for everyone.)

    – Text to just that parent if they have said they want to stay: It’s so kind of you to offer to stay but I’ve got everything covered thank you. (Kiddo) is having a drop-off party this year, so you can enjoy a break while (her kiddo) is with us. Drop-off is at 1 and pick-up is at 3.

    – Text to her if she says she wants to stay anyway: You’re so kind to offer your help! Thank you so much, but I’ve got everything covered and unfortunately won’t have time to interact with parents, so we’re asking everyone to please drop-off their kids at 1 and pick them up at 3.

    You have to be clear or she will try and stay. If she tries to come in at drop-off just say: “Hi (her kidddo), everyone is the living room. Sandy, thanks so much for dropping him off. We’ll see you at 3. Hope you have a great afternoon.” And then start closing the door on, or open it wider if she has stepped inside.

    Or if she starts taking off her stuff:

    “Oh Sandy, it’s a drop-off party. Parents aren’t staying. You’re as free as bird for the next 2 hours. We’ve got everything covered here.”

    December 1, 2021 at 3:18 pm #1100571

    I seriously don’t understand why allowing this woman to stay is such a big deal. So what if she IS overprotective. It’s a 6/7 year old. Just be nice. Why make it awkward or force her to possibly leave with her child, just because you don’t like her personally? Be kind. Happy holidays, guys. People have all sorts of fears, anxieties and baggage. Maybe try not to be a dick to everyone?

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Kid’s Birthday Party Etiquette

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