Playdates…what to do.


I am a bit of a helicopter mother, I know.  So this is tough for me. This morning one of the Mom’s asked if HB could come over for a playdate next Friday.  She said she would take him home from school to her place and I can fetch him from their house.

I said, sounds fine, we can talk about it and work out the details.  And then I rushed off to my car to get to work.  I do not have time at drop offs for chats.  We exchanged phone numbers a while ago and I know her for about two years now…but only as a school gate Mom.
We have met both parents…but HB has never been on a playdate without me.  OK we only do playdates with my friend and  we visit while the kids visit. And even with her, I have never left him alone, but I would not think l twice about letting him go with her, because we share the same parenting styles and I trust her and the hubby fully.
So I am feeling a little anxious about letting him go home with someone else.
We know there are crazies out there.  However, I am also afraid of being too protective and stunting HB’s social life. The  parents seem fine.  I know she asked without it crossing her mind, assuming I was fine with it.  They are not South African, and perhaps do not have the same frame of reference of crazies that we have.
Also, HB does need to socialise more so this is good….but…
I do have a full day job, so I cannot be there to take HB to the playdate as it is too early for me.
What would you do?  Say no to the playdate, because after work is too late for the kids to be on a playdate? And I am not available at two to take HB to the playdate.
Say yes, and trust her because the family of four seem perfectly normal and sane?
Is almost 6 old enough?

14 responses »

  1. Oh, I had this last year. I think most parents understand that not many of us are willing to leave our kids alone with “strangers”. I especially do not let Liam get into a car with anyone other than us. We would rather drive him there.
    In my case I was able to take the afternoon off and go with him. The other Mum didn’t mind at all and we had a fat chat while the kids played. She understood completely my paranoia. I think there is something wrong with a parent that doesn’t worry.
    If time off is impossible, perhaps suggest a Saturday or Sunday play date, that way you can go with him. I’m sure the other Mum would completely understand. Explain that you aren’t too comfortable at the moment and would she mind if you tagged along.
    Not many of us let our kids out of our sight.
    Liam is 8 and he still doesn’t go anywhere without me. Not that we have a diary full of play dates!
    Good luck

  2. We haven’t had this issue yet so I can’t talk from experience but from reading your post, I’d move the playdate to the weekend where you could go with which will firstly still allow him to enjoy the playdate with his friend, but will also allow you to keep a close eye and then suss out the house, chat more with the parents etc. I don’t know what’s old enough but this is definitely one of the perks for me of living in the complex that we live in. The kids have all grown up together and I know the parents very well.

  3. Hmm I don’t think for a first time playdate you have the wrong feelings here, I know nowadays we protect our kids a lot more than in “our days” but you have to be careful, rather be safe than sorry.

    6 seems a bit young to me, although to be honest with you these days any age seems young, rather suggest a weekend playdate, surely the mom would understand?

    I can see that I am going to be like you, don’t even like the idea of baby staying over at family, so I might be even worse than you…

    Hope you find a solution xx

  4. I always made sure I had been to the peoples house with my kids before they were allowed to go on a play date. I also am not crazy about small kids going straight from school with basically a stranger. I am and always will be very paranoid. Even now I will always send the friends mom a message to say we home safely from school if coming over for afternoon or send messages to say kid safely at home if just giving a lift home. But that’s me I always say rather safe than sorry

  5. Tough one – but if they have been together for a while at school, and you have developed a relationship – albeit a school gate one, with the mom; I reckon it would probably be ok. Bear in mind it’s not a sleep over; which is a different kettle of fish too. Are there other kids in their family? Because you can always get an idea about that too. Remember as well, it’s quite a thing to invite another child to your house, so I am always moved when T get’s invited out. I’ve had to accept a lot, being a very busy mom, that I can’t police her every move – I’m probably slightly more anxious when she hangs out with some family than I am with friends, and it is good for their confidence to be trusted to behave on a playdate! Trust your gut, but try not to be overprotective – kids have to learn that 6th sense too.

  6. I guess I’m so straightforward this is no problem to me. Just tell the mom you’d love to have a playdate but you are only comfortable if you or hubby drive him, so can you rather move it to a Sat morning/ afternoon and you’ll come and have a cup of tea with her while the kids play, or she can drop her child with you if she wants to do some shopping/ have a date with her husband/ whatever.

    D and I also have a rule that we check out the place first, so I ask the mom about swimming pools, dogs, etc. and I scope out the environment and tell our rules first 🙂 And once I’m happy with the mom’s answers, and I’ve dropped off kid/ kids, I always have a rule with my kids that they’re allowed to tell the mom ANYTIME to phone me to pick them up, even if well before the playdate ends.

    Does this help at all?

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