Planning Playdates for Kids: Do You Stay or Do You Go

posted in: Playdates | 2

So you signed up for Mom Meet Mom to meet moms, and now you’ve got a playdate scheduled. It turns out that planning playdates for kids isn’t as easy as ‘my house or yours’? First, these days there may be allergies or dietary restrictions to contend with so you need to choose playdate snacks carefully. Some moms aren’t content with free play and will be expecting a structured activity to be ready for the children. And of course, there’s the question of whether this is a drop off playdate or a hang out playdate.

What’s a drop off playdate? It’s a playdate planned specifically for the kiddies, where adults are not expected to stick around. Kind of like a drop off party, but with way fewer children. Otherwise known as “You mean I have two hours all to myself?” for one lucky mom. That is, if said lucky mom is cool with leaving her little darling under another mom’s care for that period of time. Not everyone is, and that can cause friction among moms whose kids are tight.

How do you know if next week’s get-together is, in fact, a drop off playdate? Heck, how do you know if drop off playdates are even appropriate? Here’s a quick guide to the world of the drop off playdate so you can plan accordingly:

WHEN ARE KIDS READY FOR DROP OFF PLAYDATES?

Age: When your kiddo is two or under, planning a playdate is usually just a nice way of suggesting you wanted to hang out with a certain mama. At ages three and up, kids have learned to play with each other and not just near each other, so playdates are suddenly about the children socializing versus coffee time with kids underfoot. After six, expect drop off to be the norm.

Esagerness: Many moms are ready for drop off playdates when their kids are around 4 years old, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the 4-year-olds feel the same way. You know your kid, so you know whether the idea of you driving away to run some errands won’t phase her… or will fill her with dread.

Familiarity: A drop off playdate with a mama you’ve known since you were both pregnant is way different than a playdate with someone from your daughter’s preschool class who you only know by sight. Adjust your expectations accordingly. Your social circle may be more open or less open to drop off playdates.

Confirmation: If you’re not sure what your kid’s playdate pal’s mama is expecting you to do, just ask. There’s nothing wrong with asking if she was thinking you’d stay for a cuppa or drop and dash. Just be sure to ask before you actually show up for the playdate.

Comfort: Look, you’re the mom here. If you get a major case of the heebies when you think of leaving your little one at another family’s house for the afternoon, you can choose not to. Hosting playdates in your own home means the decision to stay or go is out of your hands – now you just have to figure out your policy on asking other mamas to stay or go!

christa terry - mom meet mom

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  1. So my daughter had first playdate. She is 5. I work outside the home so she plays with these kids all week long. Never felt like she needed even more interaction on the weekend. But the girls wanted to play together and the dad left the door open. It didn’t even occur to me to leave my daughter there. I hung around the entire time. Didn’t dawn on me until later that he might have thought it was a drop off playdate. Not sure whether to be red faced or not but honestly while this man seems very nice and like a good guy I don’t know him that well so there was no way I was leaving my 5 year old daughter with someone I barely know.

    • I definitely wouldn’t leave my daughter (who is just about 5) at the home of someone whose parents I didn’t know. Even if the dad was thinking “This lady is nuts,” I think you did the right thing!

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