I'm curious about at what age parents stop attending birthday parties with their children. When I was in high school working at McDonald's and running birthday parties there, only the birthday child's parents would attend the party. But now parents seem to always stay at the party, or at least up through age five. I'm particularly curious because, due to lack of space in our apartment, we've decided to have my daughter's party at a children's theater. Since we'll have to pay for tickets for any parents who attend the party, I'd like to note on the invitation that it's fine for parents to drop off their kids rather than staying with them. Any opinions?
Re birthday parties: I have 2 boys (a 15-year-old and an almost-7-year-old), so I've done birthdays every which way. My experience re parents staying with the kids is that it starts calming down around kindergarten--most of the parents of the kids invited to my son's 6th birthday last year didn't stick around, but they routinely did at the earlier parties. Venue and culture have something to do with it, too. In the UC Village, birthday parties often become dual parties for adult neighbors at one level and child neighbors at another (which means you need to have lots of food and drink!). Tamra
One thing that I always do, and find the lack of quite annoying in other birthday parties that my son attends, is I write on the invitation Children Only Required to Attend. This lets people know what to expect, how to plan their day. I always rope a friend or two in to help me. I once attended a 4 year olds party, given from 11-1, where all the parents stayed as we were part of the kinder gym activities. However, then there was pizza and cake for the kids, but nothing for the parents. I think if you expect parents to stay for the party, you have to give them something to eat. One good thing about that party, I suppose, is that everyone left right on time, because all the parents were hungry and wanted to go eat.