Author Topic: Play date etiquette? Update #26  (Read 5325 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Slartibartfast

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 11625
    • Nerdy Necklaces - my Etsy shop!
Play date etiquette? Update #26
« on: March 24, 2013, 08:29:02 PM »
Babybartfast has two best friends at her preschool.  We've done a few play dates with one, and that girl's mom and I get along just fine for a few hours of chatting while our daughters play.  The other girl's family is lousy about returning phone calls, though, so I never heard back from the other mom until this week.  Long story short, I'm hosting a play date on Wednesday at my house, and now the third girl (the one whom Babybartfast has played with before) can't come.

I'm assuming the mom will want to stay while the girls play (they're 4-5), so that means making small talk with her.  I've only met her once, at a classmate's birthday party, and while she seems like a perfectly nice person . . . we really have nothing in common, you know?  I'm probably stressing out way more about this than I should, but I'm worried it's going to be a whole afternoon of awkwardness.  Part of why I'm more self-conscious than usual is because I think this mom is a first-generation American coming from a part of the world I know very little about (judging by her features and her accent) and I'm going to be constantly asking myself "If I ask her X, will it sound rude/racist/ethnocentric?" 

I'm sure I'm only worried because I'm a natural-born worrier, but anyone have advice for me anyway about how to keep things from being awkward all day?  Given this mom's track record about returning phone calls and actually following through with plans (we've been trying to arrange this since November) and given that Babybartfast will be going to a new school in the fall, I'm expecting we won't be doing many more of these get-togethers even though the girls are friends, but I don't want the reason to be because of me  :)
« Last Edit: March 27, 2013, 02:28:59 PM by Slartibartfast »

magician5

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3449
Re: Play date etiquette?
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2013, 09:14:51 PM »
Avoid Iif I ask her" topics, just do your regular stuff and converse casually, and remember that the children will only tolerate a couple of hours of playing together at most ... you have an easy time limit!
There is no 'way to peace.' Peace is the way.

wonderfullyanonymous

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2561
Re: Play date etiquette?
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2013, 10:04:47 PM »
She could be feeling the same way you are. Let her know to tell you if something you are talking about is making her uncomfortable. Ask her about her culture, how she's liking being in the states. 

Ask her about things she likes to eat, doesn't like to eat.

The city I live in has a company that has a lot of out of this country guests, not to mention, we are a college town, I've learned a lot about different countries. I don't think people mind talking about where they come from, and the differences there are between the countries.

peaches

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 722
Re: Play date etiquette?
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2013, 10:17:31 PM »
She sounds like she could be a very interesting guest.

I think it's fine to ask general questions - that you would ask anyone - such as "Have you lived here long? We moved here from ____ " or something like that. Or talk about the school system the kids will eventually be in, if they will go to public school, or preschool options. How did you meet this person? Talk about whatever it was that brought you together.

We live in an area that's very diverse. In my experience, people enjoy talking about their experiences and background, and hearing about ours. If you sense reluctance, you can back off. You might be surprised; she might be wondering all about you.


Lindee

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 372
Re: Play date etiquette?
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2013, 10:21:01 PM »
Well you have some things in common. You are both young women. You both have daughters who like each other, you are part of the same school community and local area.   You might share all kinds of interests and now is an opportunity to find out or maybe learn about a different culture. Don't overthink this and you will be fine.

sweetonsno

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1357
Re: Play date etiquette?
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2013, 02:45:10 AM »
Lindee's right. You two have enough in common that you can probably have great conversation without bringing up any potential powder kegs. While there are obviously some topics that you shouldn't bring up with her, you also wouldn't want to bring them up with people who were from your same ethnic demographic. Discussing religious or political beliefs is rarely a good idea when you're just getting to know someone.

Chances are that some of the questions you are worried about are really quite neutral. Asking her about her family? That's just fine. You wouldn't worry about asking someone whose family had been in the country for generations whether or not she had family nearby, would you? It's a fine question. I think it's also acceptable to ask where she's from originally and/or when she came to Yourtown. That's the sort of thing that I'd ask anyone.

Now, if she's from a place where there are many Bad Things going on, I would steer clear of prying questions about the circumstances of her leaving and/or questions of the "what was it like?" variety. (Just as you probably wouldn't ask too many questions of someone who told you that they had moved from New Orleans in 2005.) However, I don't think you need to assume that family and upbringing are off the table just because you're unfamiliar with her particular heritage.

bonyk

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 759
Re: Play date etiquette?
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2013, 06:40:23 AM »
I think the above topics all sound great, but I would also have some playing cards/board games on hand in case the small talk gets to be too much on you.

rigs32

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 506
Re: Play date etiquette?
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2013, 10:49:29 AM »
You could also have some games or activities to do with the kids - it'll give you something to focus on together.

kelly_jeanie

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 81
Re: Play date etiquette?
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2013, 10:57:44 AM »
It seems like playdate conversation, at least the first couple of times, revolves around the kids.  I'm sure you'll be discussing milestones, plans for school, heck you may even end up swapping birth stories.  I'm sure you'll be fine.   

I think the previous poster's recommendation about a craft or activity is a great idea.  Anything particularly messy that requires the other mom's participation will preclude the need for conversation as you both frantically try to keep glitter (or whatever) off the floor.  What about making play doh?

bonyk

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 759
Re: Play date etiquette?
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2013, 11:59:42 AM »
Or dying eggs!  That could lend itself nicely to an American v. HerCounty traditions discussion.

Zilla

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6506
    • Cooking
Re: Play date etiquette?
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2013, 12:07:15 PM »
Does she not speak English?  Or is her English limited?  I am trying to figure out what the issue is.  I on the other hand would embrace all nationalities and just treat them like a normal person.  What am I missing here?

BeagleMommy

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3007
Re: Play date etiquette?
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2013, 12:13:08 PM »
I think asking about her family is fine.  You could also ask about books she might be reading or movies she's recently seen.  Those are usually safe topics for someone you don't know well.

Fragglerocker

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 34
Re: Play date etiquette?
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2013, 12:14:27 PM »
I've made new mom friends via our local storytime at the public library, which attracts a very diverse crowd.  After storytime, the kids play outside in the park area, and conversation starters are usually around the kids' behaviors, quirks, milestones, etc.  Those topics inevitably lead to interesting conversation.

Try not to stress about it, focus on having stuff for the girls to do together, and you and the mom will find things to talk about as they do.  Trust me, it won't be as awkward as a blind date!

Slartibartfast

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 11625
    • Nerdy Necklaces - my Etsy shop!
Re: Play date etiquette?
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2013, 12:14:38 PM »
Does she not speak English?  Or is her English limited?  I am trying to figure out what the issue is.  I on the other hand would embrace all nationalities and just treat them like a normal person.  What am I missing here?

She speaks English fine, although with enough of an accent that I have to concentrate to understand (it was a bit hard to follow her at the classmate's birthday party because it was a loud room full of excited, sugared-up preschoolers).  I also don't know for sure that she's a first-generation immigrant (it's not exactly a topic that came up), so it's really just me being worried I'll put my foot in my mouth in front of a stranger I'm expected to entertain one-on-one  :-\

The good news is I'm pretty sure Babybartfast and her friend will have a wonderful time no matter what :-)

Zilla

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6506
    • Cooking
Re: Play date etiquette?
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2013, 12:17:59 PM »

Does she not speak English?  Or is her English limited?  I am trying to figure out what the issue is.  I on the other hand would embrace all nationalities and just treat them like a normal person.  What am I missing here?


She speaks English fine, although with enough of an accent that I have to concentrate to understand (it was a bit hard to follow her at the classmate's birthday party because it was a loud room full of excited, sugared-up preschoolers).  I also don't know for sure that she's a first-generation immigrant (it's not exactly a topic that came up), so it's really just me being worried I'll put my foot in my mouth in front of a stranger I'm expected to entertain one-on-one  :-\

The good news is I'm pretty sure Babybartfast and her friend will have a wonderful time no matter what :-)
I can understand the accent. Luckily in your home where it will be quieter, you can better understand her.  And actually after a length of time it will be easier and easier.


But I don't get the first generation immigrant comment, is this an issue?   
« Last Edit: March 25, 2013, 12:20:02 PM by Zilla »