'A letter to the parents who left their 4-year-old alone at my child's birthday party.'

Dear Jake’s parents,

Firstly, I wanted to say thank you for allowing Jake* to come to celebrate my daughter’s birthday, she loved having all of her Kinder friends there to help her celebrate the big number five!

For her first big party, she sure knew how to wear that party hat, didn’t she? Well, actually you wouldn’t know because you weren’t there.

Jake’s mum, you came in with your four-year-old son at the start time, exactly 10am on the dot. You told me his dad would pick him up at the end, then you promptly turned around and left.

When this happened, I was already exhausted. I had spent my entire morning (and the night before) setting up for a party. I was decorating, making fairy bread, cutting up fruit and setting up games.

I was wrapping the exact number of layers of newspaper as children in attendance (31 to be exact) around small toys and lollies for pass the parcel. I was making party bags and filling the Dora the Explorer piñata.

Mamamia Confessions: The worst thing I’ve done at a work Christmas Party. Post continues after video. 

I was welcoming guests, making obligatory small talk, trying to get the party girl to be polite and thank everyone for their gifts as they awkwardly presented them to her. I was doing all the things the parent of a party kid does.


Basically, I was in need of a stiff drink, not relying on my brain to actually have to work. So in this situation as you told me that you were not staying, and you were leaving your four-year-old to party solo, I regrettably did nothing.

I’d usually (in non-party situations) respond responsibly and ask that someone please stay to supervise Jake because there were about 30 other children in attendance, as well as my own three. I really had enough to do without watching your son, too. I instead muttered a taken aback, “Okay.”

As we played party games, ate food and sang happy birthday, I became a mother of four. As well as my own three girls, I made sure that Jake, too, had an assortment of food and that he drank enough water.

I took his jumper when he got hot and I took him to the toilet when he asked to go. When he got upset that another boy was mean to him, I sat down and listened and encouraged him to go and play with my girls, who I assured him would be nothing but nice.

Basically, I was Jake’s mum for two hours. I did what you or Jake’s dad should have done, all the while doing it for my actual children and attempting to host a child’s party. We all know that includes a lot of coordination, patience, time management and focus without the added responsibility of looking after an extra child without any warning. 

Not to mention without even checking to see whether it was okay.


So, Jake’s parents, I’d like you to know that it was not okay to leave your four-year-old son by himself at my daughter’s party.

It wasn’t okay because, firstly, I don’t really know either of you – or your son. I have met Jake a handful of times at Kinder pick-up.

I have smiled at you once or twice and I had never actually met Jake’s dad until he turned up (15 minutes late, may I add) to pick him up. What happened to common courtesy?

I didn’t know if he had any allergies, I didn’t know if he couldn’t eat or drink certain things, I didn’t know if he gets upset easily or if he doesn’t get along with a certain kid so I could keep them away from each other.

And finally, Jake is four years old and, in my view, too young to be left alone at a party without his own parent's supervision. That is not fair for him or for the adult you have put in that position of responsibility.

So, Jake’s parents, I understand everyone is busy and that you have probably made an effort to get Jake to the party and had a lot of other things going on at the same time. I do appreciate that.

But in future, at least ask if it is okay to leave your four-year-old alone at a party, preferably before dropping him off.

Would you leave a four-year-old at a birthday party? Tell us in the comments below. 

* Names have been changed.

This story was originally posted in 2019 and has since been updated with new information. 

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