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I was following an interesting conversation on Twitter recently. A mom mentioned that her husband "didn't believe in dropping off the three year old." It reminded me of when my daughter (now seven) first started getting invited to drop off parties at that age. I would have been happy to leave her, only she wouldn't let me! But, there have been a few parties with each of my kids that I haven't felt comfortable dropping off.
There are a few things to think about when deciding whether or not your kid should be left at a party (assuming the hosts are ok with drop offs). First obviously is safety. If the party is in a large, public place with only two parents to keep track of 20 kids, you don't want to drop off. If your kid has complicated allergies, or doesn't always express himself well when discussing his allergies, that's another reason not to drop off.
I also think the child's temperament is important. Parties are supposed to be fun, leaving a screaming child for someone else to deal with isn't fun for anyone. The planned activity or entertainment is also important. If you have one of those kids that's scared of clowns or costumed characters (much less common than sitcoms would make you think), you might not want to leave your kid at a party with a clown or costumed character. Or, if like me, you have a son incapable of sitting still for even the best puppet show, it's polite to stick around and be prepared to remove him when he starts getting antsy. Sometimes sticking around a party isn't just polite, it's fun! Is there a bouncy castle or trampoline involved? Definitely plan on staying! If the invitation doesn't state explicitly "drop offs welcome" make sure to check with the hosts about their expectations. Likewise, if you're invited to drop off your child and don't plan on doing so, check your plans with the host. Certain facilities charge per guest, even adults. If hosts plan on providing coffee or adult snacks, they'll also want to know how many parents to expect.
What do you think? How young is too young to drop off at a party? Are you planning a child's birthday party? Why not check out our great entertainment options!