Children’s birthday parties – Do you stay or go?

This afternoon Roo attended a birthday party for one of her school friends held at a local bowling alley. As per party protocol she wore a dress, wrote a card and had selected a present for the birthday girl.

Arriving at the venue she selected what food she wanted from the menu and off she went with the birthday girl and guests. Whilst I took up my position in the corner armed with a full battery on my phone, a drink and the hope of a catch up with the other parents.

The thing is, none of the other parents stayed… just me.

I sat watching as parents came in, gave their child a kiss and said goodbye. Only one of the parents said to the birthday girl’s parents ‘oh you have my number in case of emergency‘ and walked away without even checking her number.

As I sat watching the children playing it had me thinking…

Children’s birthday parties – Do you stay or do you go?

When I think back to birthday parties in my childhood they were always held at somebody’s house. Parties nowadays are held at community centres, bowling alleys etc. So we have lost that closed homely party feel where children couldn’t go anywhere other than the house or the garden.

I did ask Roo whether she’d like me to stay or go like the other parents, but she wanted me to stay so I suppose I was just following her wishes but I have niggles running through my head…

As Roo is approaching 8 years old, should I be leaving her at parties on her own?

Is there an age limit to when parents should stay?

Am I just being an overprotective parent?



  1. September 29, 2014 / 12:52 pm

    I’ve never had a choice with my younger three. They rarely get invited to parties but all have complex health issues so I couldn’t leave them.

  2. September 29, 2014 / 2:52 pm

    We aren’t at the age for this question yet as at 4 I just wouldn’t leave Emmy, however having been a Nanny for 14 years I preferred it when a few parents stayed.
    Kids parties held anywhere are VERY hard on the parents hosting (or Nanny in my case) and having responsibility for that amount of children while organising food, drinks, games, fights and toilet trips is rather tough.

  3. September 29, 2014 / 7:40 pm

    Near the end of Reception, the parties started becoming ‘just for kids’. My husband went to drop off our daughter at a friend’s 5th birthday and was told he would have to go. We didn’t know beforehand and my husband had to have a talk with my daughter as she was quite nervous and started to cry. But she was fine in the end, and she has never wanted us to stay after that.

  4. September 29, 2014 / 8:30 pm

    I would stay, but I am not sure what age up to. I can’t believe parent’s are asked to leave x

  5. September 29, 2014 / 8:33 pm

    I would stay not sure on the age though.x

  6. September 30, 2014 / 9:29 am

    With Toby only being 12 weeks old, I genuinely have no idea! I can’t really remember back to my childhood because I guess I was focused on the party but I think if it’s in a public place rather than a home I’d probably rather stay because I think there’s a greater risk of children wandering off and getting themselves lost. Not sure what age until though xx

  7. September 30, 2014 / 3:42 pm

    I think it’s probably up to the host parents whether they want any extra help and your child, whether they want a parent to stay. Where I live there seems to be an unwritten rule that at 4 or 5 you just drop off. Many people have other kids that they need to ferry around, supervise, be with etc so they can’t necessarily stay at the party. If you can and you and your child want it though, then do what feels right for you.

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