Should parents be "fined" if their child is a party no-show?

Kids' party planning can be stressful - and expensive. Would this mum's solution help?
Kids' party planning can be stressful - and expensive. Would this mum's solution help? Photo: Getty Images

If you've ever hosted a children's birthday party, you'll know all too well the stress that comes with chasing RSVPs from busy parents - particularly if you've booked an activity or a venue and you need to confirm numbers.

One fed-up mum who found herself out of pocket after her four-year-old's play-centre birthday party, has proposed a solution - and while it may not be popular, we can certainly understand where she's coming from.

Writing for, Brittany Minor describes that she planned a party for her daughter at her local "play place" and invited seven of her little one's friends.

"I was so excited at how I managed to purchase snacks and goodies for under $50," she writes, "and with just a few days left until the party, I was feeling pretty good about everything."

That is until she received the first cancellation. Then the second. And then the third.

"Are you freaking kidding me?" she writes. "I knew at least one kiddo wasn't going to make it. I planned for that. But when half of the party starts cancelling, you get irritated."

Ms Minor explains that she does have empathy for other mums. She understands that children get sick, that babysitters cancel and siblings have other commitments. "But guess who doesn't care?" she writes. "Party places that require deposits or that charge you per kid even if they don't show up. And guess who has to fork over the money anyway?"

That would be me, she says.

Her wallet "weeping" as a result of the children who didn't show, and feeling reticent about every hosting a party again, Ms Minor writes that it got her thinking about how a similar situation could be avoided in future.


"How cool would it be if parents charged a good $15-$20 once you confirmed your attendance to a party?" she says. "I know, I know. It sounds a bit extreme and off-putting but come on, that way even if you don't show up for whatever reason, the hosting parents aren't stuck with a bill in case you don't show up."

And if you do attend? You get your money back, of course.

Ms Minor acknowledges that charging parents and then reimbursing them would probably only work for smaller parties, given the logistics involved. And would it really remove some of the stress of party planning or just add another layer? Well, Ms Minor  admits it may well be the latter.

"So while I'd never really do this," she says, "I totally wouldn't judge a parent who would either".

What do you think this of this idea? Brilliant or extreme?