I love to host adult only events, it can be so nice to be kid free for a couple hours so that I can focus my attention on the conversations instead of worrying about what mischief the kids are causing. If you have kids yourself, you will probably understand my point of view but if you don't I have created this list to help you host an event that is adult only while making it easier for your friends with kids to attend. This advice can be applied to small events such as BBQ's or larger adult only weddings or parties.
In no particular order, here are some things to consider that will make it easier for parents to leave their kids at home to attend your adult only event:
- Ages: Before getting too far in your planning it is worth looking at the ages of the kids that will be affected. If your group has younger children, they are typically more reliant on their parents and therefore harder to leave for long periods of times. Older children are much more independent so may not require many special arrangements.
- Length of Event: The shorter the time that parents are away from kids, the easier it is logistically to plan. A quick dinner is a lot easier to make arrangements for than a weekend away.
- Time of Day: It is a lot easier to find someone to watch children on a weekend during the day rather than late into the evening on a Tuesday night.
- Bed Times: If children are younger (2 and under) it is often easier for a parent to put the kids down for the night and then leave to attend your event. Bedtimes are tricky at the best of time but even more so when they are young and may have the added complication of nursing (I get that pumps are a thing but my girls would never take from a bottle). Starting your event so that it ends before bedtimes or starts after kids are in bed will make it easier for parents.
- Location: Traveling to your event adds to the overall time that the parents are away from their kids. If parents have young kids that haven't been left at home much, they likely won't want to drive an hour to a remote restaurant only to have to leave as soon as they arrive as there was an emergency at home.
- School Schedule: If your event is affecting school aged children it is worth quickly looking at the school calendar to see if anything might affect your event attendance. For example hosting a dinner party in the middle of spring break will probably result in low attendance as many families choose to take family vacations during this time.
- Babysitter Availability: Is the event you are hosting happening at a busy time of the year such as New Years when finding a babysitter can be difficult? If so make sure you plan early so that parents have lots of notice.
- Provide Childcare Options: If you are looking at an event such as a wedding where lots of people are going to be travelling to your event but also have kids or if it is a really busy time of year where childcare options might be hard to come by, think about whether you can help. Hire a babysitter to watch kids in a room at the hotel or connect families with kids so that childcare can be shared.
- Account for Babysitting Costs: Remember that babysitters can be expensive. If you are hosting you are likely covering most of the costs however there is usually a cost to attend an event through a host gift, travel or having to dress up nicely. Consider that parents will have to add additional money at the end of it to pay a sitter.
- When in doubt ask: Every child is different and so is every parent. Like with any event, I would reach out early to the people who you really want to attend to run by what you are thinking (the top people who you would reschedule the event for if they couldn't make it). They can tell you right away if what you are proposing will work or that they will pass. It is then your call on what to do with that information.
I will add that all parents love their kids but are also exhausted from running after them. Be patient with parents, we really do want to get out without the kids but sometimes we are too tired to put the work into planning for sitters etc. The easier you can make it for us, the more likely we will attend.
We have written a number of party planning articles such as this one, you can see them all here.