Author Topic: Play Date Protocol  (Read 4801 times)

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JustCallMePat

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Play Date Protocol
« on: March 22, 2014, 12:52:49 PM »
Our DD is 7.  This year, a new boy (NB) joined the class at her school. (It's a private school some distance from our house, so it's not like a neighborhood kid.)  They hit it off and she has been to NB's house a few times on the weekend for play dates, usually lasting 3-4 hours.  The parents seem nice, although we determined early on that in political view we're at *very* opposite ends of the spectrum.  It's not an issue and we do want DD to socialize with her new friend.  This weekend, NG's Mom emailed and asked for a play date.  I said sure, when do you want me to drop DD off?   She said they'd be in our area and would like to drop her son at our place.  No problem.  The she follows up with an email saying that her son would feel more comfortable with her there and she's planning to hang out at our house the entire time.   :o   In all of DD's play dates, we or the other parents have dropped off and returned hours later, making sure we have cell phone #s in case of any problem.  I planned on working while the kids play, am always nearby for needed interaction and lunch/snack preparation, etc.  I otherwise will be working online or doing tasks around the house (laundry, etc.) while the kids play.  I really don't want to and am not prepared to be entertaining.

I sent an email indicating that DH this morning was showing signs of flu symptoms and we'd have to delay any play date for another weekend.

What is the protocol for those hosting such play dates?  With us, it's been drop and disappear for awhile.  Was I the rude one in stopping this with a white lie before it became a very uncomfortable situation?

Roses

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Re: Play Date Protocol
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2014, 01:12:34 PM »
It sounds to me like maybe all the play dates have been at the new friends house?  Perhaps it's your turn to host and the Mom would just like to know where (and who) she is dropping her son off with.  Doesn't seem horribly unusual that a Mom would want to get to know you before leaving her son in your care. 

Perhaps invite them for the following weekend for lunch for one hour or something.  See how that goes.  Really don't have any good advice for how to deal with the next one if she again wants to stay.  I'd perhaps just be honest and tell her that you will be house cleaning or doing chores in between watching the kids and I'm afraid it won't be possible for me to host you as well.  Or something like that...

camlan

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Re: Play Date Protocol
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2014, 01:15:56 PM »
I'm wondering if the other mom just wanted to be there for the first play date at your house, as she doesn't know you or the rest of your family very well yet. That seems like a reasonable thing for a parent to do.

Or she knows her son is a bit shy in strange circumstances, and that he will do better on the first play date if she's there.

If' you've been dropping off your DD, then she knows what you expect for parental involvement on a play date.

What I'd do is suggest another date for a play date at your house, where you will have time to spend with her. You can make it a fairly short one.

After that, if she expresses a desire to be present at her son's play dates at your house, you can explain that you will be busy during that time, with household responsibilities or your work, and really aren't up for hosting adults, just her son. Then let her make the choice of whether her son comes over or not.

Perhaps it was a little bit rude to cancel without telling the whole truth, but not all of us can think fast on how to handle a potentially sticky situation. I do think that going forward, you need to be clear on how you want to handle play dates at your house.
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newbiePA

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Re: Play Date Protocol
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2014, 01:32:21 PM »
I don't have a 7 year old yet, but it doesn't sound too strange to me, especially for a first visit.  Since you guys aren't friends, she may want to get the lay of the land, or maybe her son is shy in new places.  I would take the mom at face value, and have them over at a time when you can visit with the mom.  Hopefully politics won't enter into the visit, not sure why they should, to be honest.
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Jobiska

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Re: Play Date Protocol
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2014, 01:42:16 PM »
If you've dropped her off 3-4 times and not stayed, and they didn't ask you to change this pattern for whatever reason, then your protocol was fine, except:

If you've dropped her off 3-4 times and not offered to reciprocate, you probably should have.

That being said, with this still in the stage of you all feeling each other out/getting to know each other, I am pretty turned off by the other mom asking for a play date and THEN inviting herself/son over.  I had this happen once (well, just the kid part) where a mom mentioned a play date and, since she was the initiator, I assumed she meant either on neutral ground (playground, museum) or at her place.  And then she was all "Okay I'll drop him off at X time" and my house was NOT ready for a visitor!  So I had to stammer and make some excuse but I was pretty turned off.  Later I learned she was kind of a user (I drove her kid home after an after-school activity many more times than she did mine, for example).  So I bet she had somewhere to go and was looking for free childcare.  But anyway, that's my issue and it's now about a decade or more in the past!

At any rate, she'd have been more polite if she had said "hey, I'll be in your area on X day--would it be okay if Boy and I stopped by for a quick playdate before we continued on home?" and then you would know that the parameters of her suggested plan were for the beginning. 

As far as a parent hanging out, I don't think that's that strange, because she did explain the reason.  But next time you offer--and you should, just in my opinion, or stop having playdates at the boy's house as frequently--be prepared that for the first time at least, she'll come over too. 

And my sympathy re the distance thing, because my son's entire school career was in three different private schools ranging from a half to one hour from our home (one way), and they *could* draw from areas just as far in the other direction.  Ack!  So you do have to be proactive in planning these things, considering that factor.

johelenc1

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Re: Play Date Protocol
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2014, 12:10:33 AM »
I don't think her request is strange.  She is sending her child to a new house for the first time.  She wants to check it out.  Do you even know each other well?  She might actually be somewhat surprised that you've been just dropping your daughter off at a "stranger's" house.  (Not necessarily my personal few, I'm just saying she may be thinking that.)

Let her come over and chat a while.  The next time she will probably feel more comfortable leaving her son, and he probably will as well.

kudeebee

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Re: Play Date Protocol
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2014, 01:37:18 AM »
I wonder if it is her son that has a problem being away from his home.   That is what the mom said.  When my kids were younger, they had some friends like that.  The friends were fine with playdates at their homes, but couldn't handle being at another kid's house without mom there.

I wouldn't like having her hang around the whole time, especially since I hadn't invited her.  I use my time as well to do other things and if I wasn't planning on entertaining her (ie--I invited her over) I would not be too happy. It could also be awkward in terms of who is in charge, whose rules are followed, etc.

Or, perhaps she needs a place to hang out for the time they are in your area.  Perhaps her dh and/or other children had another commitment.

aussie_chick

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Re: Play Date Protocol
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2014, 04:55:59 AM »
I agree with others that I don't think the request itself is strange. This is the first time her child will be at your home.
Also agree that it's good to reciprocate play date invitations.
If her request doesn't suit you this particular day you can do a simple "i'm sorry that won't be possible. We have other plans" and then invite for a different time knowing that the mum will want to hang around. Time limit the play date if you don't feel like entertaining the mother for the entire afternoon/day.

cicero

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Re: Play Date Protocol
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2014, 05:53:22 AM »

I also don't see anything wrong with the mom wanting to stay - she told you that her son would feel more comfortable that way. I also don't see anything that woud indicate that you have to entertain her the entire 3 hours - i would just give her a head's up on that "susie, that will be fine, you are more than welcome to hang out here. I will have time for a quick coffee with you, but after that i'm afraid i have previous commitments. The kids will be in DD's room, I'll be in my office working - you are welcome to hang out in the den, we have tv, dvd and wifi so if you want to bring a tablet or laptop to do some work that will be great".

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shhh its me

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Re: Play Date Protocol
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2014, 10:48:55 AM »
  Ignoring the fact she invited her son and herself and that you didn't reciprocate a few playdates.

 I don't think it's weird that her son does better with her there or that she just wants to get to know your household better before leaving her son in your care.   The white lie was fine since you were not ready to sit over coffee for 3 hours.  I would invite her back for a shorter playdate at a time your more able to "host".  Playdate hosting I would not expect to be Entertained but to chat , have coffee and that you would do house type stuff that you can multitask (ie stuff like folding cloths not writing a dissertation)

Roe

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Re: Play Date Protocol
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2014, 03:32:35 PM »
Sounds like a reasonable request to me. 

checkitnice

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Re: Play Date Protocol
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2014, 05:53:27 PM »
That sounds reasonable for a first time play date at your place. I have noticed in our area that there's a huge range of normal for play dates though.

Paper Roses

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Re: Play Date Protocol
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2014, 06:16:31 PM »
I don't know; I can kind of see why you think it's strange.  She expected you to feel comfortable with dropping your child off at her house and then leaving, but doesn't feel the same way about dropping her child off at your house.  It comes across as "Well, I'm trustworthy, but I don't know if you are."  It may not be what she's thinking, but that's how it feels.

Quite frankly, I wouldn't like having someone call to arrange a playdate and then saying, "Oh, and by the way, I'm coming too."  It might be different if you were taking the kids somewhere public, like to a movie or indoor play space or something, but to your home?  Yeah, that's kind of pushy, quite frankly.

Some parents are just like that, and it makes it difficult.  You have to remind yourself that it's their issue, not yours, but it can be exhausting to keep having to prove to them that you are a good parent as well. 
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TootsNYC

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Re: Play Date Protocol
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2014, 09:03:00 PM »
That sounds reasonable for a first time play date at your place. I have noticed in our area that there's a huge range of normal for play dates though.
It sounds to me like maybe all the play dates have been at the new friends house?  Perhaps it's your turn to host and the Mom would just like to know where (and who) she is dropping her son off with.  Doesn't seem horribly unusual that a Mom would want to get to know you before leaving her son in your care. 

I agree with these as a possibility.

And with this as a strategy:
Quote
Perhaps invite them for the following weekend for lunch for one hour or something.  See how that goes.  Really don't have any good advice for how to deal with the next one if she again wants to stay.  I'd perhaps just be honest and tell her that you will be house cleaning or doing chores in between watching the kids and I'm afraid it won't be possible for me to host you as well.  Or something like that...


I don't know; I can kind of see why you think it's strange.  She expected you to feel comfortable with dropping your child off at her house and then leaving, but doesn't feel the same way about dropping her child off at your house.  It comes across as "Well, I'm trustworthy, but I don't know if you are."  It may not be what she's thinking, but that's how it feels.

I understand this, but she may also be thinking that our OP was a little lax to not stay for at least the first playdate. She wouldn't want to say it, of course--and she hasn't--but it could easily be what she considers to be basic safety. Check it out first, then trust.

It may also genuinely be about her son, and his comfort level.

luvmyboys

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Re: Play Date Protocol
« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2014, 09:03:44 PM »
So, she invited herself and son to your house?  That would bug me.   2 times in the past year I had this happen with my 9yo except we initiated the play date.   Both times the mom wound up staying the entire time and it was uncomfortable for me as I was working from home but felt like I had to entertain.  I find this behavior unusual for that age group.