August 28, 2017
In every parenting journey there is one milestone that stands out from the rest. First giggles are delightful, first words are, well frankly a relief - especially when they aren’t swear words repeated back at inopportune moments - and first steps are exciting, (until you realise that first steps mean your once stationary baby can now move faster than you and can create havoc more quickly than you can run along behind them picking up pieces of smeared, moist rusk sticks from your once pristine rug.) With every new step towards independence there is something to celebrate, and nothing is more worthy than the very first drop off party.
Its incredibly liberating to realise that you will have reduced your birthday party commitments by about 95% per year; that you can ‘pop off and do the grocery shopping,’ that you’ll suddenly have a few hours every weekend or so with essentially free babysitting, that you can be more productive, go home and fold the washing… or just find a nice quiet spot to park and doze in your car.
But there are pitfalls too; how do you know if your child has been asked to attend a drop off party, and how do you plan for throwing one yourself? Below is the BeeBox essential guide to conquering this momentous milestone with your sanity in tact.
How Do You Know If A Party is a Drop Off?
Sometimes its very clear that children are to be dropped off, and other times its not so much. As a general rule of thumb, if the invite isn’t clear, school age kids’ birthday parties are kiss and drop, pre school parties are not. That said, there may be some overlap. If your child is in the 4-5 age group between pre school and big school there may be a grey area. Birthday parties at home or at a park are more likely to invite parents to hang around. Parties held off site, specifically at play centres or party specialist businesses are most likely to be drop off.
If you are unsure, particularly if the party is off site and somewhere that is paid per person make sure you have made other arrangements for siblings. Etiquette can be a minefield, but you never want to be the parent that brings a hoard of uninvited (and unplanned for) kids to a birthday celebration.
Planning A Drop Off Party
It can be daunting to be the first brave soul that takes the plunge into the world of drop off parties; knowing how to communicate to other parents in the 15 words you’re able to fit on a standard kids invitation is an acquired skill worthy of, say, a foreign president tweeting up a 140 character or less storm in the wee hours of the morning. Simplicity is key here, and while some etiquette experts may suggest you offer the guest an option of either kiss and drop and run for your freedom, or staying and enjoying the festivities, clarity will win the day in the end. An adroite, polite “Please feel free to leave your child within our care for the duration of little Salmonella’s birthday party,” or words to that affect, will get the job done.
If there haven’t been too many drop off parties at your pre school or school, you may want to follow up in person or via text once you have given out the invites to ensure other parents are comfortable with the drop off. For example, if parents are rsvping via text, a quick response mentioning the drop off may assuage the minds of your guests. When it comes to party time, some parents may not yet have kissed and dropped before, so be prepared with a few light nibbles just in case they linger. Don’t go overboard, or parents will never leave their precious bundles of sugar crazed energy. Ideally, pitcher of chilled water and a few crudités will be perfect.
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