Kids’ Birthday Parties: The Gray Areas

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Recently we shared a post on our Facebook page that got a ton of comments and shares and I could just hear moms everywhere yelling “Amen sister!”  On that note, we have some really good stuff we share on our Facebook page, if you don’t follow, please click here to like us. I think you will be happy you did.

The post was from a blogger called Scary Mommy (she’s hilarious – highly recommend following if you don’t already) with an attempt to unite moms across America to end the birthday party favor tradition for kids.

I am so on board.

Nothing bugs me more than cheap trinkets cluttering our house, and once the kids leave the party, they likely never touch them again. I would rather the host save their money. Isn’t the party enough for the kids?

Her post got me thinking about another pet peeve of mine regarding kids’ birthday parties and it has to do with what are often two gray areas: are siblings welcome or is it a drop off party?

When kids are little, typically birthday parties are a family affair. But when they get older, some parties start to become “drop off” parties where parents drop the kids and pick them up after.  In my experience, with girls, the drop off phenomenon tends to start around 5 – 6 +.

So I am in the “is it drop off or not?” phase with both of my girls now.  And lots of time it is unclear.

Can you help a mother out? 

On your birthday party invites or evites, or even in a separate email, can you make it clear if it is a drop off party or not?

If it is a drop off party, that’s easy, and I don’t have to worry about my other daughter. Taking that a step further, if it is not a drop off party, can I bring my other child or should I make other arrangements for her?

Tell me what you prefer! 

When it has been unclear, I have asked the hostess if it is drop off or if moms are staying and, being the super sweet moms they are, I have heard, “You are welcome to either drop or stay!”

Which is so nice, but what I really want to know is what YOU want me to do! Do you prefer to have parents there to watch over their kids or you would prefer to not have moms standing around?

Here’s the thing: I will do whatever you want. I just need to know.

Invitation wording: give it to me straight!  

Lately I have gotten a few birthday party invitations where the hostess flat out says, “So sorry – no siblings.” And to that, I say, “THANK YOU!” I won’t bring her! No offense taken here – would you agree? Or would you be offended if you saw this?

So it can be as simple as staying “Siblings welcome!” or “Sorry – no siblings.” Either one does the job.

Same with the drop off part.

It can be as simple as stating, “Drop off party” at the bottom of the invite, or including it in the invitation wording, “Please drop off your child at 11:30am and pick up at 1:30pm.”

Or, on the invitation, you can address it to the “Scheumann family”, which would tell me that the party is a family affair and we should plan on staying.

Or, address the invitation using both of my children’s names so that I know they are both included. Which, typically means I should stay too, unless otherwise noted.

Tell me your thoughts! 

I would love to hear what you all think about this topic. Are you offended if someone says, “No siblings?” How do you feel about drop off parties? What do you do if it is a gray area? Please comment…


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  1. 1
    Lisa says:

    This drives me crazy too. I would prefer parents drop off, and I make that very clear. Otherwise I have to provide food and drinks for parents as well. At this age, kids don’t need their parents’ supervision. And I always try to include siblings, because I have two girls that are pretty much the same age. If one is going to a party, the other wants to go. And the sibling wants them to come with them so they are not alone. So, unless there is a strict limit on the number of kids, I always include siblings. I don’t want anyone to feel left out.

  2. 2
    jen says:

    Thanks for your comment Lisa! My girls are far enough apart that lots of times it doesn’t make sense for the sibling to go to the party, unless it is a good family friend that plays with both of them. So I get it if it is just one child getting invited, but it’s the unknown that drives me crazy! I am not offended either way, but again, I just want it to be super clear.

    On that note, you are one that has inspired me to be more clear on my invites, I always love how straightforward yours are!!!

  3. 3
    Manda says:

    I agree I don’t see why it should be offensive. I have twins I different classes if every kid came with their whole family that could end up being another 50 + people. I can’t afford that on top of the 40 people from my family

    • 4
      jen says:

      Couldn’t agree more. Siblings can sometimes double the guest count!

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