A couple of weekends ago we ventured forth as a family to a children’s birthday party. It brought to mind many questions about toddler birthday party etiquette. The birthday party in question was for a two-year old and a five-year old set of brothers. We arrived late due to being obligated at yet another, earlier toddler birthday party. We arrived to a home full of running and screaming children. Some of them were chasing each other, some were eating snacks, and others were playing with Playdough on the floor.
As we ventured further into the party we found the host parents by themselves in the kitchen with one brave soul who stayed behind with her three year old to help supervise. Apparently, several sets of parents just dropped their 3-5 year old babies off with a family that some of them had never met (although I think they are wonderful people). They left them there from 10 am until sometime after we finally gave up and left around 2:30.
Let me clarify. Some of this children needed assistance with both toileting and with eating. Personally, I think your child should be able to cut up their own food, and wipe their own backside before leaving them with someone you don’t know for a party that somewhat resembled a toddler cage match.
So, readers, what is your opinion? When is it appropriate to drop your 3-5 year old child off for four hours with complete strangers? Furthermore, should you be concerned if the level of supervision does not meet basic standards for daycare ratios of adults to children? Who among you look at children’s birthday parties on the weekends as a great opportunity to unload your child for free babysitting? Am I crazy for asking this question, or just overprotective? When did you stop going to birthday parties with your children? What is the cutoff for this?