Let’s Party!!!

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?







  1. I noticed this trend, too. The first birthday party we had the honor to attend was for a boy turning five. My youngest was three. There were many children there without their parents, running around in a McDonald´s playland. I stayed. I was new in town, and assumed either everyone knew each other, or this was par for the course in American culture. I have since only left my older children with families I knew to be responsible (who had plenty of adult family there to help), and for an hour and a half only. I would be really interested to see what everyone else has to say about this.

  2. Omg the terror this post instills in me! I have horrendous memories of children parties! I have three sons, two in their 40’s one in his 30’s and grandson!
    We used to always ask one or two of the mums to stay to help otherwise it was hell. I often did my turn helping out.
    Mind you things were not as commercial in those days the party bag did not exist, they took home a piece of cake and a balloon!
    Also we didn’t really do parties until the children were at school say 5yrs! It was more difficult when the youngest was old enough for parties!
    I do think that unless as you say the child can eat and toilet themselves they should not be left with just two strangers! Would theses parents leave their children in similar circumstances at a nursery?

  3. They confused it with babysitting. Any parent should know better. One Friday night my 10 year old had a slumber party. One little girl didn’t get picked up till 6 pm Sunday evening. Her parents went out of town without telling us. The little girl told us when I tried to reach her parents on Saturday morning.

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