Author Topic: Kids/no-kids on a party invitation  (Read 4076 times)

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Lynn2000

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Re: Kids/no-kids on a party invitation
« Reply #15 on: August 25, 2014, 05:06:50 PM »
Also, is there a way to make an event kid-friendly but not structured around kids? We have been to parties that are particularly about kids, which invite families, have a simple cookout, water-slides, etc. But then the people without kids are kind of isolated. Is there a way to meet in the middle where there is a kid-friendly space and a no-kids space, or is this just impossible to achieve in a single party?

Reading what the OP asked, I don't know if the bolded is achievable, depending on what is meant. I mean, I just don't think it would work to have, downstairs, kids watching a movie and eating pizza, while upstairs the adults are in ballgowns eating a five-course dinner with custom martinis. Even if you had a babysitter at some point the kids and parents will want to interact and that could easily break the flow of the adult conversation, mood, and plan.

That kind of reminds me of the wedding where the adults were going to sit on one level and eat dinner, and all the kids were supposed to go to another level, with sitters, and eat their dinner, with the idea being that the adults were getting a "meal without kids." I know opinions were mixed on that, but mine was that if the kids are there, it's not a meal without kids--I mean, you're not going to lock the kids in another room and forcibly prevent their parents from interacting with them, right, so therefore the kids could reappear or the adults could leave the table and go to the kids. If you want to give parents a meal without kids, invite them to a party where the children are not invited, i.e., not on the premises at all.

I think parties can be held that are kid-friendly but not kid-focused, where adults can still have conversations with each other--it happens at my relatives' houses all the time and I don't think the non-parents (including me) feel overwhelmed or outmatched by the kids. There does tend to be space set aside that the kids gravitate to, and the adults who want to converse with each other gravitate to the opposite end, but there's nothing where someone says, "You can't go there, that's the no-kids space, it's only for the grown-ups." Maybe I'm just being too literal again...
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Raintree

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Re: Kids/no-kids on a party invitation
« Reply #16 on: August 25, 2014, 05:21:25 PM »

I think parties can be held that are kid-friendly but not kid-focused, where adults can still have conversations with each other--it happens at my relatives' houses all the time and I don't think the non-parents (including me) feel overwhelmed or outmatched by the kids. There does tend to be space set aside that the kids gravitate to, and the adults who want to converse with each other gravitate to the opposite end, but there's nothing where someone says, "You can't go there, that's the no-kids space, it's only for the grown-ups." Maybe I'm just being too literal again...

I have been to such parties as well. Kids are there, but off playing and doing their own thing while the adult mingle with each other. Perhaps this works best at large back yard BBQ's in summer, but I've also been to a few indoor parties that were child-friendly but not child-focused. Some parents still opted to get a babysitter so they wouldn't have to spend the whole time supervising their kids.

AnnaJ

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Re: Kids/no-kids on a party invitation
« Reply #17 on: August 25, 2014, 05:46:08 PM »

At this point should I do something to reach out to the potentially offended guests? or just let bygones be bygones and vow to do better next time?

Also, is there a way to make an event kid-friendly but not structured around kids? We have been to parties that are particularly about kids, which invite families, have a simple cookout, water-slides, etc. But then the people without kids are kind of isolated. Is there a way to meet in the middle where there is a kid-friendly space and a no-kids space, or is this just impossible to achieve in a single party?

Say nothing further about the party, it's over with, just resolve to do things differently in the future.  I have never seen a middle ground regarding kids at a party without it ending up being all about them.  Some parents can't even have a conversation without their kids yelling for their attention every 5 minutes and kids will change the tone of all the conversations there.  Make it a family friendly event or a childfree event, if you do anything different you are going to continue to have issues, hurt feelings and disappointed guests.   You seem to be struggling to find a middle ground and IMHO it doesn't exist, you have two choices regarding parties, pick one and then zealously stick with your choice, no exceptions made for anyone.

This is my experience also.  Even if you set up an area - basement, family area, patio - for the kids there will still be kids in and out, and parents who want their kids to stay with them and kids who need to be supervised and it will become about the kids.  If you want an adult party, then it should be adults only, not child optional.  If you want a family-friendly party you can invite childfree friends but make it clear that the party is more kid oriented.

sammycat

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Re: Kids/no-kids on a party invitation
« Reply #18 on: August 25, 2014, 07:02:08 PM »
I have never seen a middle ground regarding kids at a party without it ending up being all about them. 

I've had a the opposite experience, many times. I've been to plenty of parties, as a child, as a parent with my children, and as a an adult without my children.  Babies and toddlers are an exception of course as they do require a lot of attention, but even then I've been to parties where the baby has slept the event away in another room and I wasn't even aware they were there.

For children from about 5 upwards I've attended many parties where the kids hung out in one area and the adults were in another. We might've seen each other at meal times but otherwise the two groups never interacted. I even got as far as the front door once before remembering that I'd brought my kids with me, ::) because I hadn't seen them since we'd arrived due too all the kids hanging out together in the rumpus room.

All that said, OP, I agree with PP - if you want to have an adults only party that's fine but it needs to adhered too. Letting some guests bring their kids after saying 'no' to others is really sending mixed messages. I wouldn't say anything to anyone this time unsolicited, but next time if you want adults only it's perfectly fine to write 'adults only' on the invitation.

LifeOnPluto

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Re: Kids/no-kids on a party invitation
« Reply #19 on: August 25, 2014, 11:07:02 PM »
Re: having kids at a party without the focus being all on them, I attended many such parties as a child. The kids played outside, or in another room. If there was food, everyone came together to eat - it was usually a buffet style.

That said, I'm not sure if things have changed these days. I haven't been to many recent parties with kids, but the few such ones I've attended as a adult, the kids seemed to want to cling to their parents rather than run off and play together... and the parents seemed perfectly happy to have the kids clinging to them / interrupting them constantly!

YummyMummy66

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Re: Kids/no-kids on a party invitation
« Reply #20 on: August 26, 2014, 06:50:20 AM »
You state on the invite, "Adults only event".

And when someone calls, you are not wishy washy, "Sorry, no, but this is an adults only event.  No kids allowed!"

Margo

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Re: Kids/no-kids on a party invitation
« Reply #21 on: August 26, 2014, 12:07:22 PM »
re: parties being kid-friendly without being kid-focussed, I don't think this is difficult or unusual. I would not suggest a 'kids space', as that way, either the parents of kids get 'stuck' there, or else they children don't go/stay there but some people may get annoyed that they are not corralled.

I think that unless you explicitly say you are hiring a baby sitter or otherwise providing care, that parents will be responsible for their own children, so depending on the ages of the children you might want to consider not having (say) lots of candles around at low level, and considering what other dangers there are, so that you can warn parents and/or reduce any risk.

You can make a few toys available - I went to a wonderful wedding reception a few years ago - the bride and groom were of an age where many of their contemporaries have children - the reception was informal, and was in a hall with a large outside space attached - they had a couple of big games (giant jenga, a giant snakes and ladders, and a swing ball set, which combined with the outside space meant that there were things for kids to do which were not too noisy or intrusive so that the parents could still chat to other guests (and in fact, adults were playing the games too, and socialising with the other guests of all ages, including the children)

As you have children, you can make available some of their toys - I don;pt think you have to lay on separate entertainment to be 'child friendly'

kp

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Re: Kids/no-kids on a party invitation
« Reply #22 on: August 26, 2014, 12:30:30 PM »
Thank you everyone for all this discussion, which I think is very interesting.

I agree that it is not necessary to "corral" children into a separate space from adults and never the two shall meet. I was just wondering about other Ehellian's experiences of how they might provide a comfortable, entertaining venue for both kids and adults without the party being all about the kids.

Someone also mentioned that age is a factor as well. One couple at my party brought a 1-year old, who functioned at the party differently than the kids playing in the backyard. He didn't need any special activity or entertainment, and people took turns carrying him around while they ate and drank, which seemed like fun for both the adults and the baby. And, as Sammycat mentioned, babies may just sleep through an adult event. I went to a bachelorette party once where one of the ladies brought an infant in a shoulder-wrap carrier and the baby didn't really cause any sort of distraction. I wonder if there is a propriety about bringing a baby to a grown-up event, sort of as an extension of yourself rather than as a child that will require external food/entertainment/care?

DanaJ

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Re: Kids/no-kids on a party invitation
« Reply #23 on: August 26, 2014, 12:32:06 PM »
I would not suggest a 'kids space', as that way, either the parents of kids get 'stuck' there, or else they children don't go/stay there but some people may get annoyed that they are not corralled.
That's really not how it worked. The parents who brought kids never ended up stuck in the basement playing with Lego, they were upstairs with the rest of the adults. The children rarely ventured up because what the adults were doing wasn't fun for them.

It's not as if the adults and children are regidly isolated. But generally, I remember from when I was really small, most of the kids didn't want to go hang out with the adults anyway. They were talking all grown-up stuff or playing card games that were too complex for my pea brain to follow (or darts that we weren't allowed to play). Sometimes there were stinky cigarettes (or worse cigars yuck!), the alcoholic drinks smelled gross, and the food was weird like olives bleh! As a kid, it was way more fun to hang out with the other kids in the playroom.

Either the children were old enough that they could be told to amuse themselves with the activities provided or there was a babysitter supervising the group to make sure no one started playing with matches. If little Sally wanted to ask her mum a question, she'd go find her among the adults, but generally once the kids were explained the basic concept of "adult party upstairs, kid party downstairs" there wasn't a whole lot of co-mingling between the age groups.

I don't know if that's changed and kids can't follow that basic premise, or helicopter parents can't imagine letting kids amuse themselves independently, but when I was a kid in the 1970s we did our thing and adults did their thing and there wasn't much overlap between the two.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2014, 12:33:37 PM by DanaJ »

Aquamarine

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Re: Kids/no-kids on a party invitation
« Reply #24 on: August 26, 2014, 12:42:54 PM »
Its a very different world now than it was in the 70s or the 50s when I grew up.  I think a lot of kids no longer know how to entertain themselves.
Always be polite, even to nasty people. Not because they are nice, but because you are.

lowspark

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Re: Kids/no-kids on a party invitation
« Reply #25 on: August 26, 2014, 01:06:21 PM »
Thank you everyone for all this discussion, which I think is very interesting.

I agree that it is not necessary to "corral" children into a separate space from adults and never the two shall meet. I was just wondering about other Ehellian's experiences of how they might provide a comfortable, entertaining venue for both kids and adults without the party being all about the kids.

Someone also mentioned that age is a factor as well. One couple at my party brought a 1-year old, who functioned at the party differently than the kids playing in the backyard. He didn't need any special activity or entertainment, and people took turns carrying him around while they ate and drank, which seemed like fun for both the adults and the baby. And, as Sammycat mentioned, babies may just sleep through an adult event. I went to a bachelorette party once where one of the ladies brought an infant in a shoulder-wrap carrier and the baby didn't really cause any sort of distraction. I wonder if there is a propriety about bringing a baby to a grown-up event, sort of as an extension of yourself rather than as a child that will require external food/entertainment/care?

I see a baby as a distraction at an adult party, regardless of whether it stays in the shoulder-wrap or gets passed around. The conversation inevitably gets redirected to talk about the baby, oohing and ahhing, etc. Especially if people are passing the baby around, it takes food, drinks and adult conversation away from, at minimum, the person holding the baby.

I know this sounds intolerant, and I'll qualify it by saying that I have two (now grown) sons. When they were babies, they did not accompany me to adult parties. I either had a babysitter or didn't go. I've been in the situation where it was meant to be an adult party but the one child (baby) completely changed the atmosphere of the party. It was no longer an adult party at all.

And I also had to tell someone no once, when she asked to bring her infant son to an adult party I was hosting. She promised he'd just sleep in the back room and not be even noticed. Of course, having had kids myself, I knew that even if there was a 99% chance that it would actually play out that way, there was always the 1% chance it wouldn't. I had to tell her, I'm so sorry, but it just won't work. She was disappointed but she understood.

Part of having kids is sacrificing. Sometimes you just have to sacrifice your fun for the sake of your child. If you can't make arrangements for the child's care so you can attend a party, it's unfortunate, but you just have to send your regrets.

Lynn2000

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Re: Kids/no-kids on a party invitation
« Reply #26 on: August 26, 2014, 01:12:51 PM »
My experience is more like DanaJ's, though I would say I also see it happen now. It's not a strict separation--kids do come upstairs every once in a while, and occasionally adults go down to check on them--but to my knowledge the adults don't really get stuck in the basement playing with the kids. Maybe they spend a few minutes admiring something the child made, but then they come back upstairs. Or if the kids are outside an adult might take a few minutes and go pitch a few balls for them, but then the adult rotates out and comes back to the adults.

It does really depend on the ages of the kids, though--they have to be old enough to play independently, without worrying that they're going to do something unsafe or get into mischief. And certainly the hosts have to think of some parameters and make them easy for kids to understand--it helps if the host has kids who already know rules and can say, "Don't turn on the TV" or "Don't go over there."

Someone also mentioned that age is a factor as well. One couple at my party brought a 1-year old, who functioned at the party differently than the kids playing in the backyard. He didn't need any special activity or entertainment, and people took turns carrying him around while they ate and drank, which seemed like fun for both the adults and the baby. And, as Sammycat mentioned, babies may just sleep through an adult event. I went to a bachelorette party once where one of the ladies brought an infant in a shoulder-wrap carrier and the baby didn't really cause any sort of distraction. I wonder if there is a propriety about bringing a baby to a grown-up event, sort of as an extension of yourself rather than as a child that will require external food/entertainment/care?

I think this question can be a controversial one. On the one hand you have people who say, "Of course a mother shouldn't be separated from her child if they're only X age!" with X varying a great deal--that is, they wouldn't expect a woman to have to leave her X-age child at home to attend even a function billed as "adults only." The arguments are usually biological, IIRC--a breastfeeding woman can only go so long without feeding the baby, for example, plus at a certain age babies are easy to tote around unobtrusively and spend most of the time sleeping.

On the other hand, you have people who point out that every baby has the potential to start crying and ruin the adult mood of the event, plus the mom needs a place to change the baby, feed it, burp it, maybe change its clothes, she'll need to bring a diaper bag, maybe it would be impractical for her to be as dressy as the event calls for, etc.. So allowing mom to bring the baby, when even mom can't predict what all that will entail or how the baby will behave, could potentially change the tone of the adult party. And some people might not be comfortable with a baby being there at all, even if it was quiet.

I remember a thread here a long time ago about a cookie exchange party, which was deemed no kids allowed but the hostess decided to allow someone to bring their very young baby. One of the other guests found out and was like, "Um, don't babies, like, cry and stuff?" The hostess was kind of like ::) "Of course babies cry!" but someone pointed out that the guest was probably just expressing their discomfort with the idea of the baby being invited, when they'd been promised no children would be there.

Whichever way a host decides to go, I think a guest should never presume their baby is invited, no matter how young. If they check with the host and the host is cool with it, in the sense of, "Oh, I just assumed of course you'd bring her!" then the guest is fine to do so. But the host should consider how this might change the dynamic they're going for.
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lowspark

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Re: Kids/no-kids on a party invitation
« Reply #27 on: August 26, 2014, 01:14:57 PM »
Its a very different world now than it was in the 70s or the 50s when I grew up.  I think a lot of kids no longer know how to entertain themselves.

I'm not sure that's entirely true. There are always some kids who tend to cling to their parents (and vice versa). But it seems to me that it's easier than ever to set your kid up somewhere with a video game/iPad/other electronic device, not to mention DVDs, Netflix, etc. None of those were available in the 50s, 60s (when I grew up), 70s, 80s, 90s (when my kids grew up). Ok, well, yeah, videos were around in the late 80s and onward. I do remember taking my kids to at least one adult party where they (and a few other kids, all of whom were specifically invited) went upstairs to watch videos after we'd eaten.


lowspark

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Re: Kids/no-kids on a party invitation
« Reply #28 on: August 26, 2014, 01:23:35 PM »
Someone also mentioned that age is a factor as well. One couple at my party brought a 1-year old, who functioned at the party differently than the kids playing in the backyard. He didn't need any special activity or entertainment, and people took turns carrying him around while they ate and drank, which seemed like fun for both the adults and the baby. And, as Sammycat mentioned, babies may just sleep through an adult event. I went to a bachelorette party once where one of the ladies brought an infant in a shoulder-wrap carrier and the baby didn't really cause any sort of distraction. I wonder if there is a propriety about bringing a baby to a grown-up event, sort of as an extension of yourself rather than as a child that will require external food/entertainment/care?

I think this question can be a controversial one. On the one hand you have people who say, "Of course a mother shouldn't be separated from her child if they're only X age!" with X varying a great deal--that is, they wouldn't expect a woman to have to leave her X-age child at home to attend even a function billed as "adults only." The arguments are usually biological, IIRC--a breastfeeding woman can only go so long without feeding the baby, for example, plus at a certain age babies are easy to tote around unobtrusively and spend most of the time sleeping.

<snip>

For me, the answer to that argument is that the mother, if she feels she cannot separate herself from her baby for a long enough time to attend the party, should not attend the party. Each mother determines the age at which she is comfortable leaving her baby for an extended period of time, and it's different for everyone. I've known moms who were fine at two weeks and other moms who weren't ready yet at 9 months.

Again, it's a bummer if you have to miss a party but that's the way it goes when you have kids. There will be other parties. It's not ok to affect everyone else's experience at the party by bringing your baby simply because you don't want to miss.

bonyk

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Re: Kids/no-kids on a party invitation
« Reply #29 on: August 26, 2014, 01:27:54 PM »
Thanks everyone for your thoughts. My suspicions were confirmed that it was probably not kosher to do. It did work out ok this time, but as Lynn said it could have easily imploded. I will make better efforts next time to make the dynamic pristinely clear in the invitation.

At this point should I do something to reach out to the potentially offended guests? or just let bygones be bygones and vow to do better next time?

Also, is there a way to make an event kid-friendly but not structured around kids? We have been to parties that are particularly about kids, which invite families, have a simple cookout, water-slides, etc. But then the people without kids are kind of isolated. Is there a way to meet in the middle where there is a kid-friendly space and a no-kids space, or is this just impossible to achieve in a single party?

IMO, there is a difference between kid-friendly and kid-centered. Kid-friendly means I can bring my kid, there will be non-alcoholic drinks available, and no one will mind if DD acts her age. The event is still targeted towards adults.  Kid centered means a kid party with kid activities and kid food.  I'm there as mommy, not a guest.

I've been to lots of parties with my 2 kids which are targeted towards adults.  We bring an activity or 2 for them to do if they get board.  I can't think of an instance where it's been a problem.