How to say NO KIDS politely

mlite66April 11, 2002

We are hosting a 60th birthday party for my father. I have 2 kids, I also have 2 nephews. We would like to say NO KIDS to our guests (who have mostly toddlers), however our kids (whom are all 9-12 yrs) will be present for their grandfathers party. Is there a polite way to say no kids, when yours will be there? I have found that addressing the invitation to just the parents does not work and most people overlook who it was addressed to. HELP!

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I would print on the invitation..
"This is an adult party, please find a sitter if you have little children"....
They won't know your kids are there until they are at the party!
Linda C

    Bookmark   April 11, 2002 at 3:52PM
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There was a thread on this awhile back....some good (and not so good) ideas!

Here is a link that might be useful: How to say

    Bookmark   April 11, 2002 at 5:24PM
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Thank you for the suggestions. I guess I was hoping for more of an approval "is" it OK to say NO KIDS when you will have your kids there, and if so, how to say it? These are his grandkids and he wants them there. Wow...why does this have to be so hard! Maybe I'm just being a little anal about it?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2002 at 7:19PM
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I think most people would understand that NO KIDS doesn't always preclude the host's family, particularly in an event such as yours, where it really is a family occasion. If there is anybody who gets their nose bent out of shape that your kids are there when their's weren't invited, then I would say you haven't lost much of a friend!


    Bookmark   April 11, 2002 at 7:57PM
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There is a world of difference between kids 9 to 12 and toddlers! Kids 9 to 12 are potty trained, don't run around, seldom cry in public, use a real fork and know how to use a napking.....AND often baby sit....rather than need a baby sitter.
Don't worry about it....just tell little kids!
Linda C

    Bookmark   April 11, 2002 at 9:04PM
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Mlite 66, If you are looking for approval you have mine. It is definitely OKAY to make it clear that children are not invited. If the person invited has a problem with this then they do not have to accept the invitation.


    Bookmark   April 11, 2002 at 11:40PM
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Mlite66: It is definetly OK to say no kids for all kinds of reasons! The fact family children will be there is not relevant. Don't give it a second thought!!

PS: Linda I have had some adult guests behave as you described !!! LOL

    Bookmark   April 12, 2002 at 9:09AM
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If the guests are also family, they may feel a little left out. Did the birthday boy request no other children? You say he wants to have his grandkids there... which made me wonder if the other guests are close friends, he might also be close to their children. Your post didn't make it clear if it was you who requested no toddlers, or him.

The events I have attended that were 'no kids', meant no kids period. So yes, your guests who spring for a sitter will at the very least think it odd that your kids attend.

My own opinion (just mine) is that when close family and friends gather to celebrate special days, the entire family should be included. If a few ankle-biters are running amok, it just makes life more interesting.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2002 at 9:10AM
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Thanks to all of you for your input. It was actually my mom who requested no kids, maybe for my dad's sake, I'm not sure. What we've decided to do is start the party at 5pm and we will also be sending our kids to a sitter but not until 7pm. That way, if someone does come and is upset that they couldn't bring their kids, they will soon find out that even our kids are leaving. Everyone should be happy!

In my eyes, it's just not a good place for kids to be...with cocktails, dirty jokes, gag gifts, etc... they don't need to see these things.

Thanks again for all your input!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2002 at 10:11AM
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I think you are handling this beautifully and that you are are a very thoughtful person.

Hope your party goes really well!


    Bookmark   April 12, 2002 at 3:24PM
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Pennie, I agree with Sharon you are certainly going out of your way to make sure everyone is happy. But I also want to make the point that I would never expect a host to send his or her children out to a sitters if I were invited to their home and my children weren't invited. I would just expect that all of their family members would be present. I can't even imagine any of my friends thinking that because my son was in his own home that all children should be invited.


    Bookmark   April 12, 2002 at 11:10PM
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If it's toddlers you prefer not to be included, would it be more appropriate to say something such as "children over 8 welcome to attend"?

    Bookmark   April 13, 2002 at 12:32PM
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...Just an aside... I've seen lots of kids 9 thru 12 who DID run around and DIDN'T apparently know how to use a napkin. My local city facilities offer classes on children's etiquette, and I often wonder why ALL children aren't required to learn social etiquette. My neighbors are more likely to take their doggies to learn obedience and good social skills while their children run around like wild animals! :-)

    Bookmark   April 15, 2002 at 8:55PM
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I once had a similiar situation. My DH and I had a party for Uncle Joe - he didn't want any kiddies there, except his 3 nieces & nephews. Invitation worded:

Party for Uncle Joe ... blah blah blah ... Adults only, please.

All invited guests came, and their kids were left at home. The three nieces & nephews attended party for about an hour, then went up to watch TV for the rest of the evening. Nobody said a word about them being there. I think they were all happy to be at a party without having to watch their children. Turned out great! Happy-happy Uncle Joe.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2002 at 5:58PM
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I think there are a few different ways to look at this. It would seem strange for me to invite my sister to my father's birthday party but to tell her to leave my two nephews at home no matter what age especially if my children were going to be there. I think my nephews would not understand why they must stay home while the entire family is there. Other people's children should really not be an issue because like everyone says they can just not accept the invite....

    Bookmark   August 2, 2002 at 5:42PM
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I recently attended a surprise 60th. bithday party for a dear friend who is also the grandfather of a 2 and 5 year old. The children traveled a long way and brought their kids with them. In addition the brother and and his wife also brought along their young son.
The parents fixed their children plates of food and then the older kids took the smaller ones to a play room where they watched tv and played video games.
The gifts and jokes were risque as you can imagine and the little 2 and a half year old grandaughter, who thought the party was for her, was right in the middle of everything. I don't think she quite understood what was going on and while no one thought anything about it. I wish they had planned for a sitter for the children. The other kids stayed in the game room and didn't come out so that was good.
I personally think the idea of letting the children be there for awhile early on then leaving for the rest of the party is an excellent idea.
I hope you have a blast.


    Bookmark   September 16, 2002 at 3:00PM
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We are having a party July 4th to celebrate our 25th anniversary and my 50th birthday, and we invited only adults. The invitation is for "cookout and cocktails," which was both to clue no kids, in case they didn't look carefully at the envelope, and also to indicate that it was a little more "substantial" party than people usually expect on July 4th -- i.e., not a super-casual paper-plate drop-in deal. We knew that the date of the party would still lead to drop-ins (so many people have other invitations that day) and it would have to be a cookout, but we did our best. Still, I can tell people don't always get it, because some ask what they can bring (it's a catered party). Well, one of the nice things about having reached this age is that I really don't care that it won't be exactly what I pictured!

But you know what I'm going to say next from the thread: one couple's e-mail reply (that's what we asked for) read:

Hi [gell] and [chom],

Thanks for the invitation, well be happy to be there!

[Jane] [John] & kids

Now, they are really nice, and are here for a short time from another country where children are usually included, and are among the few people invited who even still have little kidz. I was sure that they just didn't realize that this invitation, for July 4th no less, was just for the parents. I didn't want to embarrass them, so here is my reply:
We're so glad you can come. We really want to see you before you leave.

This is kind of awkward, but I noticed that you signed your e-mail "[Jane] [John] & kids." Unfortunately, we just can't accommodate children at this party -- just too many people, cocktails, etc. (not exactly a whole lot of fun for kids anyway). You know how much we love your kids, and they are always so well-behaved, but there is no way we could include them and not invite the children of all the other guests, too. So this time it's just a grown-ups party. We are so sorry, and we hope you will be able to find a sitter, because we do so much hope you can come and celebrate our 2 big occasions with us.

Thanks for understanding, and we'll see you on the 4th -- maybe before, too (WITH kids)?


I guess it worked fine, because I ran into "Jane" the other day and she gave me a big hug and told me to forget it when I apologized for the confusion, and that they will be coming. Then I got this from "John":

OK  no prob, donÂt feel bad about it, sorry for not noticing this detail  [John]

I just thought I'd pass on what I wrote in case it would be useful for others. I wish I'd left out the part about that the party probably wouldn't be much fun for the kidz anyway -- that's just self-defensive, isn't it?

What I wrote about their 3 kidz always being well-behaved and no trouble happens to be true -- I really like those kidz -- but if it hadn't been, I would have written it anyway!

And if anyone else ends up bringing a kid, we'll manage. Videos, toys, and pets in the basement "rumpus room" usually keep them happy and out of the way. Even well-behaved children just change the nature of a grown-up party.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2007 at 3:57PM
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As you all know I throw many parties...if I choose to have only adults I always state at the bottom of invitation "Adults Only Please" I have 4 children and I make no excuses for there attendance at my party...and hope no one would have the nerve to question sure the envelope is addressed to MR & MRS...only!!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2007 at 9:18AM
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I agree with some of the posts above...On the RSVP card or invitation just plainly state "This is an adult event". When I got married I put that on my invitations and no one seemed to have a problem. Or should I say that no one made clear that they had a problem with it. I also had 5 kids there. Two were toddlers (ring bearers) and two were about 12 (junior bridesmaids) and a 10 year old junior groomsmen. The easiest way to pass that off to your guests is to plan something using these kids in the festivities. Have them write and recite a poem for the guest of honor. Anyhing to include them and your guests will probably not have a problem with it.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 5:44PM
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