My Kid's Birthday Party Isn't an Open Invitation for Me to Babysit Your Child

birthday presentsWhew. Is it really Monday already? After celebrating my kid's seventh birthday over the weekend, I could really use one more day to relax and regroup after the festivities -- which were fun, but also pretty darn stressful.

Even though we didn't invite the entire first grade class this year, we did have a decent turnout for the birthday party we threw yesterday -- 13 kids, to be exact.

And no, I'm not brave enough to host a birthday party at my house in winter with all those kids present. (No. Freakin'. Way.)


We wound up celebrating at the local bowling alley, which was a total zoo because there were five other birthday parties going on during the same time as our kid's.

The place was absolutely packed and there were people everywhere. That's why I was pretty shocked and kind of puzzled when several of the kids' parents came up and asked me if they could drop their child off and go run errands instead of sticking around to enjoy the extra pizza I'd ordered (since I figured we'd have plenty of hungry adults in attendance too).

I was definitely put on the spot, so when I was asked by parent after parent whether or not they could leave and come back after the party to pick their child up, I said yes.

But then a few minutes after they all left, I started freaking out a little bit. Yes, these are 6- and 7-year-olds, so they're perfectly capable of being at a party without their mom or dad there.

But there I was, suddenly in charge of all these kids -- and I don't know them or their parents, nor did I even have a phone number to call them in the event of an emergency should something happen to their child.

And then I started to get worried that I'd accidentally lose one. It's pretty tough to keep tabs on 13 kids in a crowded bowling alley when they're running all over the place AND I'm trying to help serve pizza, cake, and make sure everything is going smoothly.

All in all, the party went fine and no one got hurt or lost and all the kids went home with their respective parents once the fun was over. But it definitely got me thinking. Would I ever drop my kid off at a birthday party and place all that pressure on the party hostess -- when she's someone I don't even know?

Absolutely not. Because a birthday party is not an invitation for free babysitting. It just isn't.

I guess it's one thing if you know the child's parents -- but other than a couple people, I had never met these moms or dads before. Ever. And it just seems awfully bold for them to ask me to take care of their child for two hours when I know absolutely nothing about their child.

Unless it's specified on the invitation that parents are welcome to drop off their kids -- moms and dads should assume they need to stay at birthday parties with their children. Period.

And I plan on writing those exact instructions with a Sharpie on next year's invites for sure.

Do you drop your kids off at birthday parties if you don't know the parents?


Image via ND Strupler/Flickr

Read More >