Birthday parties and sleepovers, do you?

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I never quite know how to handle birthday parties for the girls.  I mean, I know what to do with their party, but what about the ones for friends at school?

Birthday party

Lately, we’ve been inundated with birthday party invites for school friends on the weekends.

Every party thus far, save one, we’ve had a prior engagement and haven’t been able to attend.

But, I wonder.

Do you attend every school friend’s birthday party?  Do you pick and choose the ones that are your kids’ “best” friend?  Or the ones where you know the parents?  And gifts?  If we went to every party, it would cost a pretty penny.

This year was the first year we let our oldest invite a school friend.  She invited one. It’s her BFF for the past two years.  (Don’t worry, I didn’t stick an invite in her box or anything like that.  I contacted her mom directly!)

I don’t know how to handle this new element.

One that was completely surprising to me was a sleep over.  For 4 and 5 year olds.  It started at 4pm and went until the next morning.  Immediately, I knew that we wouldn’t allow our 4 year old to go.  I didn’t know the parents (except maybe seeing them at a school drop off) and quite frankly, I think that a sleep over with a bunch of 4 and 5 year olds is too much.

I don’t know the right age for a sleepover party, but I just don’t think this is it.

It makes me nervous and uncomfortable.  And, honestly, my mom radar starts a-buzzing immediately.

(Now, I will say that we’ve done one sleepover with a really good friends’ child in an emergency, but I think this is different.  Just want to be forthcoming!)

What do you do for classmates’ birthday parties?  And, would you let your 4 or 5 year old go do a sleep over party?

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39 Comments

  1. I agree totally. I wouldn’t let my 4 or 5 year old sleep over for a party and only would only go over for a play date if I was involved (unless it was a friend that I knew well and/or an emergency). With that said, I don’t know when it will be appropriate. I worry too about what goes on at everyone’s homes. I want to be trusting, but you never know!! 🙂 I have a hard enough time as it is teaching the right and wrong! 🙂

    Birthday parties,…yeah, I dunno. I think it will evolve as the kids have opinions! Really, well maybe they won’t have any and we can decide. 🙂

    1. I guess this goes along with learning to “change our diapers” too, right?

      Because we really don’t know!

  2. I was allowed to stay at friends houses (like, my VERY BEST friends that are still my best friends today and our moms were friends and so on) at like 6 or so. But that was just me and one friend, at my house or hers, and our moms would both be very much familiar with the other. I’m pretty sure my first birthday sleepover happened when I was in the fourth grade. (9?) It was a good age and it was a lot of fun. I don’t see how any mom would be willing to (attempt to) handle anymore than one other person’s child any younger than that! Haha

    1. Yeah…not to mention that whole having to be a parent to other kids. Ack.

  3. To be honest, I have no idea how to handle this situation either. I always thought this would happen when my kids were older like 3 or 4th grade.

  4. Sleepover that young? Most kids that young have a hard enough time being away from mom/dad for an extended period of time. I couldn’t fathom a sleepover.

    Growing up I was rarely invited to birthday parties. And it didn’t bother me. It was special when I did get invited. We’re also not birthday party people. I’m a “invite one friend over” kind of person. Cheaper, easier, and more special.

    1. That’s what I was thinking. I know we’d be called at like 1am because our kid wasn’t sleeping and was over-tired.

      We’ve been doing parties, but luckily, they are a day apart so they are combined. But soon, that will definitely change.

  5. Ok, my comment is going to be all over the place because I have about a million opinions roaming my head but hopefully you’ll get the jest…

    1. Birthday parties…we treat each one on an individual basis. We consider finances, other plans, and who the friend is before we make a decision.

    2. Sleepover parties. I totally think 4/5 is too young. There have been a few “fake” sleepover parties for kids around Jack’s age (6/7) that he’s been too which I think are a GREAT idea. It’s when a few kids come over, in pjs, they pretend to have a sleepover…as in do fun sleepover activies…then leave at bedtime.

    3. As far as individual sleepovers; I think it kind of depends on the child when they are ready. Jack really hasn’t shown an interest in that. Melody has and she and Ava really wanted a sleepover which we agreed to…that said, I don’t think I would let me my child do that if I wasn’t already really good friends with the parents.

    1. 1. That’s definitely the way to do it.

      2. That’s pretty fun. I want to sleep, so send the kids home!

      3. And, that one time deal, sure..it was more the party thing. That was crazy to me.

  6. NO sleep overs at 4 or 5. That is too YOUNG! I have friends that their daughters have had sleep overs this year but they are in second grade. Neither of my boys have had sleepovers yet. Here it is very difficult to get to know the parents in the public school here. Our elementary is NAZI like about privacy and so we don’t even know the emails or anything of any of the parents unless you are room mom. The Blind copy everything. I will say that we have not recieved any invites from my sons class. If a child brings an invite it is sent back home to the parents with a note saying that is not allowed. I was room mom this year but I did not invite anyone from my son’s class to his party. He wanted a few kids but I could not contact the parents for that just because I had their personal information. I did not abuse my postion.

    1. I never thought of the email issue with kids in public school. That would definitely be a challenge.

  7. Carter actually went to his first sleep over this past weekend and he will be 6 in July. I had the telephone by my side all night long expecting to get a call to come pick him up. He made it all night and had a great time. I know the parents well and they had only invited one other little boy so I thought it would be a good test for his first sleep over. I think when the issue comes up in the future it will all depend on the parents, their kid and how many other kids have been invited.

    I am trying to decide how to have Carter’s Birthday Party this year. Since starting Pre-K he has made so many new friends. I want family and his (new and old) friends to be there but it would be out-of-control.

    1. That’s tough, isn’t it? Deciding who is on the list and who isn’t?

  8. Go with your gut. Only you know when it’s the right time for her. I think people invite WAY too many kids to their parties these days, so I would definitely pare it down to the closest friends.

  9. i went to my first sleepover party in the first grade. looking back, i am shocked my mother let me go. for some reason, the parents thought it would be a good idea to let us watch nightmare on elm street. yes, a bunch of first graders watching freddie krueger at their very first sleepover…while the parents were upstairs. needless to say, i was traumatized, have never watched a scary movie since and was definitely never allowed to sleepover that girl’s house ever again. 😉

    1. Holy scariness….and I thought watching Sleeping Beauty was bad!

  10. I never thought I would have one as early as I did, but we did for Landons 7th birthday, In my defense, it was his best friends, which consisted of my best friends kids! lol
    4 of the moms stayed over too and we had a great time!!
    We actually only invite one or two school friends normally. I have to know the parents if I’m going to go to one. (and as far as dropping off my child at a party..no way! He is still too young for that! lol)

    1. No need to have a defense:) Just curious.

      Plus, it’s a whole ‘nother ball game when the moms come, too!

      And, no dropping at parties, either.

  11. For the gift issue, I’m always looking for great discounts or clearances on kids stuff and i have a whole shelf in a closet for gifts (I do it for adult stuff, when I see something that reminds me of someone, or something that would just make a cute gift for anyone, I buy it then, especially if it’s on sale, rather then wait until my mom or friend’s birthday and trying to figure out what to get them, I already have the perfect gift on hand). Then when birthdays come up for the kids, or I have a last minute birthday dinner with friends, I have something quick to grab, and I save tons of money this way. Don’t tell anyone, but my birthday budget for kids is $5-$10, I don’t spend more, but I usually gift stuff that’s regularly priced around $15-$25.
    Sleepovers, I haven’t sent Tay for a sleepover to a friend I don’t know. In 2nd grade she really wanted a sleepover, but i realize that most parents, like me won’t go for that if they don’t know me. but I let her choose 5 friends, expecting that the one or two school friends will probably decline. I’m okay with sleepovers with a friend whose parents I know well. At 4 or 5 I think she’d had a couple sleepovers at good friends houses, but she’s really comfortable with it. Some kids aren’t so much.
    I pick and choose parties. I realize it’s fun for hte kids to go to, so if it’s a friend at school that I hear them talking about, or a party they’re really excited to go to, I have no problem letting them go, if we’re free. I have however, failed to mention a few preschool classmate invites to my child, so they’re none the wiser. 🙂 I think many parents invite the whole class, because they feel they should and expect many to decline. I do. 😉

    1. The gift closet is a good idea…I guess with out cash only budget, though, if we don’t build in a monthly gift allowance, then it likely doesn’t happen. But, I’m all about a deal.

      Unfortunately, I’ve tried to hide invites, but when they go in the backpack or school cubby, my overly observant 4 year old knows about them, and knows what they are for. Then tells me how she “keeps missing parties.”

  12. i don’t think lb and ej will ever sleepover at anyone’s house. ever! seriously i just don’t think i will ever be able to stomach the worry.

    man i hope i am the cool mom and everyone wants to stay at our house!!

    1. I want to be that mom, too. I don’t want my kids going over to other houses..it just weirds me out.

  13. We have been to a few parties, mostly school friends

    Definitely no sleepovers for my 4 year old.

    The most I dislike about going to the parties are cakes and cupcakes with the artificially colored-corn-syrup-hydrogenated-oils-preservatives abundance

    1. I’m with you on the cake and cupcakes (no so much the oils and preservatives because they only get them once and a while), but just the sugariness of it.

      I bring little individual ice cream cups for the kids on their birthdays. Maybe not that much better, but at least not quite as bad!

  14. lura staffanson says:

    I tried to let my kiddos attend all the school friend’s parties that they got invited to but kids didn’t expect such expensive gifts back then. If I remember correctly, I think I usually found a perfectly appropriate gift for $10 or $12 bucks. Now it seems my daughter pays $20 or $30 for birthday party gifts. I don’t see how anyone can afford that…. especially when every kid in class gives out invitations.

    I would not let my 4 or 5 year old attend a sleepover party. That is far too young in my book. Claire had her first sleepover party this year for her 9th birthday and Mindy thinks that was still a little too young. One little gal got worried and then got a stomach ache and Mindy had to drive her home around midnight. There is plenty of time for sleepover parties in their teen years…. why rush it?????

    Good luck with your decisions. I know it is not easy. Hugs, Grammy

    1. We are definitely still in the $10-$12 range! I just try to bargain shop.

      I would be worried that my kid would be the one with the tummy ache…but I would have to come and get her.

  15. Wow I agree that’s kind of early for a Birthday sleepover party… one on one with her best friend? Yes my kidlet would do that, but a sleepover party – I think it was 3rd or 4th grade.

    As for the parties… K went to a private school, small classroom and we knew each others parents so it was different I think. But we always stuck with small gifts, $10-15. It kept the cost lower … big gifts come from the family not your school friend 😉

    1. We actually have classes with only 10-13 people…but I still just can’t do all the parties. I don’t know. I guess eventually, it won’t be about me knowing the parents, too, but right now, I sure like it that way.

  16. I did not got to sleepovers until I was 7 or 8. Even if I was given the option that young, I wouldn’t have gone. I did not attend every party as a lot of them were when I was with my dad. When I did get to go, I enjoyed them 🙂

    Love, Mere

    1. I totally get the “dad weekend” thing…but I don’t recall if we missed parties because of it or not.

  17. No freaking way!!!!!! A sleepover with 4 and 5 year olds? Are the parents on crack? That is like a nightmare. I just don’t see how that would work. None of my kids have actually had a sleepover yet. I know Joey is old enough but we just haven’t coordinated anything yet. We tried, but then sicknesses/emergencies with the other family/etc. came up. Anyway, I will start with having one child sleepover here and vice versa with Joey sleeping elsewhere, and then consider sleepover parties once I see how it all goes down.

    As far as bday parties, if it is convienient for us to get our kid to the party then he can go. Otherwise if we have to struggle to find a way to get him there/back and it messes up our schedules, forgetaboutit! 😉

    1. Yeah. It is crazy. I just don’t think I would do well with that many kids that aren’t mine!

      I guess that’s sort of what we end up doing…and then checking to see if a sibling can come (maybe that’s poor taste) or if we have to divide and conquer.

  18. You know I’m not a mommy yet, but I totally see your point. That really seams just too young for an all nighter. I too would pick and choose while parties to attend, I mean it just becomes too much. Since when did 4 and 5 year old birthday parties become so darn political?! HAHA!

    1. I guess when parents decided to invite 4 year olds to sleepovers:)

  19. Julia’s 7 & was invited to one of my closest friends & her closest friend’s party last weekend for a sleepover, and she didn’t stay over – just until 9. We are invited to tons of parties though, and I usually send a $10-$12 gift for kids that we’re not super close with/classmates, whether we can go or not. And yes, it costs about a million dollars 🙂

    1. Wow! You sure stay busy..I can’t believe you go to all of the parties…you are a better woman and mom than me!

  20. A slumber party for 4 & 5 year olds? That’s a new one. When my kids were in preschool the party craziness was in the party entertainment – every party was either at a gym or Chuckee Cheese, or they had ponies and bouncy houses in their backyard.

    My daughter just attended her first slumber party this weekend. She is 13.

    1. The last one (and all of them we’ve done) we did a bounce house, some food and drinks for the kids and a piñata. Oh, and we did a first birthday party for our now 4 year old. So, I guess we are just choosing not to do them at all!

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