To expect a playdate to mean playing not staring at a screen

(176 Posts)
PhoebeMcPeePee Wed 19-Feb-14 19:19:25

My DC were at friends for tea today for a total of 3 hours & bar a short break for tea spent the entire time playing on a DS/iPad/laptop or watching TV confused
AIBU to think if you invite a child over to play there should be at least some (if not all in the case of youngest age 4) actually playing hmm. Both now completely wired & grumpy not to mention annoyed at me because I won't let them watch some tv as agreed earlier in the day. Would it be really rude to ask a parent not to allow screen time when I drop off?

StarGazeyPond Wed 19-Feb-14 19:21:27

Did the playdate parent tell you this? Or did your DC? Are you absolutely SURE it is the truth - or the truth as your DC see it?

mercibucket Wed 19-Feb-14 19:22:20

it would be really rude yes

mrsravelstein Wed 19-Feb-14 19:22:44

yes really rude.

justmyview Wed 19-Feb-14 19:22:50

I think it would be very rude to ask someone to turn off TV while your children are in their house. Pity if children didn't get opportunity to play imaginative games etc, but their house their rules?

PhoebeMcPeePee Wed 19-Feb-14 19:22:53

No parent told me (didn't hear a peep from them they've been playing on x, y or z) & DC confirmed it.

pancakesfortea Wed 19-Feb-14 19:22:53

Yes it would I think. It's their house their rules I would say.

WorraLiberty Wed 19-Feb-14 19:23:00

Yes it would be rude imo

They're only there to play for a while and if they are happy to to play in that way, you don't really get to dictate.

When you invite them to yours, then you get to choose how they play.

WooWooOwl Wed 19-Feb-14 19:23:10

Yes, it would be rude to ask a parent not to allow screen time. Just decline any future invitations if you're going to worry about it.

lookdeepintotheparka Wed 19-Feb-14 19:24:07

Hmmm - my DS would be seriously annoyed if I said no screen time during his playdates but maybe yours are different less obsessed than mine!

Tbh most of my son's friends spend most of the playdate in front of a screen in some way although they usually do also play outside (depending on weather) and some are better at setting up imaginative play than others..

DontWannaBeObamasElf Wed 19-Feb-14 19:24:39

How would you take it if the parent asked you to have the TV on for the child for the duration of the time they were in your home?

Stinklebell Wed 19-Feb-14 19:25:12

Yes, it would.

If you don't like their rules then just decline any further invitations. When you invite them back to yours, you get to decide what they do

AgaPanthers Wed 19-Feb-14 19:26:40

You should be grateful that people are taking your children. Don't like their activity program, don't allow them back.

Biscuitsneeded Wed 19-Feb-14 19:28:05

It's February, not the best weather for playing outdoors. The playdate was three hours out of a whole day. If they were all 4 years old, then yes, I might have been a bit surprised, but I assume the other children are older. My 9 year old has playdates where they eat, speak and breathe Minecraft. It's his passion. And that's what he and his friend want to do when they spend time together. I wouldn't necessarily let mine be in front of a screen for 3 hours at home on a normal day, but if that's how they want to spend a play date I would have no problem with that!

Levantine Wed 19-Feb-14 19:28:16

I wouldn't like that either, but you can't say anything. Just don't send them again/ as often

Stinklebell Wed 19-Feb-14 19:30:01

And I've had a house full of other peoples children today, all equipped with laptops or tablets for some sort of marathon Minecraft session. I've fed them, supplied drinks and snacks

If a parent complained that I let them spend too long staring at a screen, it would be the last time their child came to my house

CoffeeTea103 Wed 19-Feb-14 19:31:04

You know when we had play dates younger we were just left to it, parents were not behind us every second trying to entertain us. Yabu don't send them over and then complain about it when it doesn't suit you.

SnowBells Wed 19-Feb-14 19:33:40

A lot of 'playing' now is on iPad, Playstation, etc. Bad weather for going out. A long time ago, we may have played board games. But isn't that now the equivalent of playing on these various devices???

Ifcatshadthumbs Wed 19-Feb-14 19:34:00

I would snurk at anyone who used the words "screen time" in real life and probably not invite the kids again. It's almost as annoying as people who are horrified their children have been given chicken nuggets and chips and ice cream for tea when at other people's houses. Lighten up

ReadyToPopAndFresh Wed 19-Feb-14 19:36:03

you'll live. Your kids will live. And you would bvu

cheminotte Wed 19-Feb-14 19:36:07

You probably can't say anything but I would be pissed off too. We had a friend over today for about 5 hours. They were mostly outside and just had 1/2 an hour of a dvd. They actually had water pistol fight for a while. It may be February but its about 10 degrees. If dc ask to watch tv when friends visiting I usually refuse unless just before tea.

gordyslovesheep Wed 19-Feb-14 19:49:01

yabu - hate the term 'play date' for starters! They where at their friends house - without you, while friends mum looked after them - they where very unlikely to have been forced at gun point to sit and play on the Ipad or watch TV - they chose to. Maybe they chose to because of the novelty of being allowed the freedom to do so - I know our friends, when growing up, who's mum banned TV spent every visit watching the thing!

if you are that concerned go with them next time and watch them yourself - or have them round to yours

WorraLiberty Wed 19-Feb-14 19:50:54

Yeah but that's you cheminotte choosing what goes on in your house

It's totally different to wanting to dictate to another adult.

nova1111 Wed 19-Feb-14 19:52:19

I wouldn't mind tbh. Particularly if they'd just come home from school. I'm happy for mine to do what they like when a friend comes round - as long as they both want to do it and are interacting.

PhoebeMcPeePee Wed 19-Feb-14 19:56:05

I'm definitely not precious about what they eat when out & in this weather expect a bit of tv/minecraft etc but just find it really annoying that I've sent them off for a play when I could have kept then at home & stuck the tv on all afternoon.

Ok so consensus is it's rude to dictate what goes on in someone else's home so I'll definitely keep my trap shut but I do find it quite sad that they can't play together with an electronic device hmm (& yes given the choice my DC would do just that all day long but I limit it & they find other things to do that require imagination, social interaction, physical exertion etc)

WorraLiberty Wed 19-Feb-14 20:01:21

& yes given the choice my DC would do just that all day long

Then it's lovely that were were actually given a choice, and were able to do what they chose for less than 3 hours.

I'm sure any damage to their social skills and imagination is not irreparable.

WhoWasThatMaskedWoman Wed 19-Feb-14 20:02:53

Huge difference between passively watching TV/Youtube on your own at home (or even playing computer games on your own) and playing socially with friends. Surely you can see the difference?

IdRatherPlayHereWithAllTheMadM Wed 19-Feb-14 20:04:58

Yes it would be very very rude.
I had this, I had TV on, at xmas supposed to be background when friend came over, she made a huge hullabaloo about my TV being on.

She actually asked me to turn it off. I really resented the woman for it. I had santa claus the movie on I just thought it would be nice background. I did not think two 4 half year olds would sit down and watch it. they didnt.

Cue a few years later my DD goes to her house and guess what....." You dont mind if we have the tv on for a bit do you, darling Livvy LOVES this program" half an hour later, its turned off. confused


IdRatherPlayHereWithAllTheMadM Wed 19-Feb-14 20:07:44

My DC would never want to sit in front of tv all day. Maybe yours do because you restrict it so much and have turned it into this amazing thing they cant get?

Aelfrith Wed 19-Feb-14 20:07:49

Children rarely get to play screen games with their tends to be solitary. Then they all talk about it at school, update each other on what they've done etc.

To actually play the game together is hugely exciting, be it Minecraft, Wii, Playstation etc.

Agree with WhoWas....and yes very rude to mention it to other parent who has kindly entertained your child for the afternoon.

KingR0llo Wed 19-Feb-14 20:08:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Viviennemary Wed 19-Feb-14 20:08:51

I'm quite old fashioned in my thinking but all this judgey pants stuff just because kids are on the computer and not playing games or doing something 'worthwhile'. Electronic devices are here to stay and no point in being in denial. If you don't approve then don't send them there again. If somebody complained to me because I had entertained their DC's in a manner in which they approved of I'd be beyond furious.

ToddleWaddle Wed 19-Feb-14 20:10:02

Had this yesterday at a friends, 4 2/3 year olds. Kids staring blankly at a tv eating rubbish and then iPad brought out too. Occasionally bickering over toys.
Huge telly on wall of playroom. The parents actually think it allows their kids to concentrate better!
Must really decline invites there again. Wore my dd out on the way home jumping in puddles.

Viviennemary Wed 19-Feb-14 20:10:33

Didn't approve of I think I meant. grin

KingR0llo Wed 19-Feb-14 20:12:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sixlive Wed 19-Feb-14 20:14:09

I hate it play dates are for playing. We went round for playdate today and their DC were watching tv and didn't turn it off all the time we were there. My DS kept saying the TV is on as we switch it off when play dates come. My DC play with iPads and watch TV but If there are other kids around they should play with them. You just don't invite them back or go to theirs simple to avoid.

PhoebeMcPeePee Wed 19-Feb-14 20:15:48

I wouldn't dream of commenting after the event when someone has looked after them for the afternoon but it does makes me question how often I want my DC going out for tea when all they do it play with electronic devices which are allowed occasionally at home rather than the default choice of entertainment.

Panzee Wed 19-Feb-14 20:15:55

I don't believe in play dates. Too much fun. Your children should all be reading an improving book.

surromummy Wed 19-Feb-14 20:15:56

YABVU and could well be a parent of a child ive had over recently, my dcs spent the entire time playing minecraft with said friend!

Its February not the middle of summer!

Acinonyx Wed 19-Feb-14 20:15:56

Their house their rules, definitely. Personally I ration screen time (if any) on playdates and brook no argument from visiting dc.

WhoWasThatMaskedWoman Wed 19-Feb-14 20:16:05

But your DC are tiny, toddle. I agree that non-stop telly for pre-schoolers is not my idea of a play date. But for children a bit older than that playing console games together can be genuine co-operative play, every bit as social as dollies' tea parties.

IdRatherPlayHereWithAllTheMadM Wed 19-Feb-14 20:16:16

Jumping in fucking puddles again?

again being the operative word, for the past three.four months even the most addicted puddle jumper gets bored.

Karoleann Wed 19-Feb-14 20:17:38

We always have some screen time in a playdate with my eldest (year 3), but also some outside time and some play time too - usually on the football table.
With DS2, in year 1, I would always ask parents before we put the computer on, as DS1 didn't have a computer at that age.
It is a two way process, you can always mention that you don't let your child have too much computer/TV as they get over simulated/excited. I've had to do that with friend of DD who is not even three, who I think is too young to have any computer access at all.

IdRatherPlayHereWithAllTheMadM Wed 19-Feb-14 20:19:01

Maybe I have missed something here, has this happened lots to you op?

What if the mother doesn't normally have the tv or whatever on, but was having a bad day, didn't want to cancel the play date and just thought....OK I will just stick the telly on?

Does your child to have or go on many play dates? Is there no variety?

KingR0llo Wed 19-Feb-14 20:19:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Stinklebell Wed 19-Feb-14 20:20:06

Is jumping in puddles supposed to be the pinnacle of fun, cool parenting or something?

My kids have done nothing but jump in bloody puddles lately

What about climbing trees? That usually gets trotted out at some point too.

Stinklebell Wed 19-Feb-14 20:21:40

Oops, sorry, crossed loads of posts. I answered the phone and took ages to hit post

mercibucket Wed 19-Feb-14 20:21:40

arf to fucking puddle jumping

minecraft is the same as lego but on a screen. dont see the big deal myself

do all the 'playdates' at yours in future

lljkk Wed 19-Feb-14 20:22:02

I am on the fence. Sometimes devices is exactly what they like and play on consoles can be highly social and strategic. My kids don't do many playdates so it doesn't seem like much to allow them an extra privilege.

sixlive Wed 19-Feb-14 20:22:53

Some of us hate console games, pointless waste of time and I can see no upside but then both my DC do sport at regional level so are busy. Board games are different IMO. Stick to your consoles but just don't ask my DC round.

ProfessorSkullyMental Wed 19-Feb-14 20:23:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KingR0llo Wed 19-Feb-14 20:24:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

IdRatherPlayHereWithAllTheMadM Wed 19-Feb-14 20:25:54


I cant stand console games and we do not have them here, I find them mind crashingly dull and cant bear to be in a room with people playing them, but I really wouldnt care if dd went to play date and thats what she did ....

malloo Wed 19-Feb-14 20:26:58

YANBU, I would not be impressed, especially for younger ones. Whole point of play dates is to play with other kids, if just going to watch tv etc could do that on their own. Not saying it's not good to do that too but 3 hrs, no way!! Also, the mum was not looking after the kids for you, the tv/ computer was, v easy for her! I know this because I use it when I need a break ! And, why does it matter that its winter, can't kids do anything else in the house apart from look at a screen?

mercibucket Wed 19-Feb-14 20:27:46

double arf to the stealth boast posts

IdRatherPlayHereWithAllTheMadM Wed 19-Feb-14 20:28:26

Its very precious behaviour.

People notice it, don't trip yourself up in future!

IdRatherPlayHereWithAllTheMadM Wed 19-Feb-14 20:29:29

I know this because I use it when I need a break ! And, why does it matter that its winter, can't kids do anything else in the house apart from look at a screen?

Maybe ops child/ren are nightmares and this was how the parent coped...praying they would be glued to a screen.

mercibucket Wed 19-Feb-14 20:30:56

were greggs sausage rolls and fruit shoots handed out as snacks too?

Ifcatshadthumbs Wed 19-Feb-14 20:31:03

I was thinking maybe they were all being such a bunch of sods the mum put the TV on told them to shut up!

ProfessorSkullyMental Wed 19-Feb-14 20:31:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PhoebeMcPeePee Wed 19-Feb-14 20:31:41

No they don't do loads of play dates but maybe one or 2 a month, once or twice in half term (less when it's nice out as we usually meet friends in parks, woods etc) but yes being glued to a screen of some type does now seem to be the standard entertainment wherever they go so not exclusive to today's invite. I'm not concerned that 1 or 2 afternoons a month is going to cause irreparable harm or affect their ability to socialise in later life wink but it pisses me off that parents don't insist kids actually try & play with their friends on the odd day they're visiting.

KingR0llo Wed 19-Feb-14 20:31:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Goldenbear Wed 19-Feb-14 20:32:10

YANBU I don't think particularly with the 4 year

dietcokeandwine Wed 19-Feb-14 20:32:49

It would be really really rude to ask a hosting parent to ban screen time, yes. About as rude as stipulating what food should be served (unless of course there are major allergy issues to consider).

I agree with the poster above who pointed out that toddlers watching telly is a very different issue to upper-end-primary children playing computer games. I too have a 9yo Minecraft fan and his game of choice with his mates on a play date would be Minecraft or Pixelmon. If you actually listen to kids that age playing these type of games you'll see that they are playing, and interacting, just as exuberantly as the three year olds playing shop.

I too am kind of baffled as to why games consoles etc are just so fascinating - I don't 'do' computer games myself in any way shape or form - but I appreciate that for many kids they are a source of endless pleasure. Of course screen time should be limited and controlled to an appropriate extent in your own home, during the course of a normal school week. But on a play date I think anything goes. As long as they've had fun.

Aelfrith Wed 19-Feb-14 20:34:56

YY arf at the stealth boasting merci

My children are busy too, doing improving activities (albeit not at a regional level), still manage to find time to spend hours doing bloody Minecraft!

Aelfrith Wed 19-Feb-14 20:35:55

<ponders, perhaps my DCs have superior time management abilities..>

Goldenbear Wed 19-Feb-14 20:41:59

Sorry, posted too soon.... I had a similar experience with my nearly 7 year old. He went to play after school at a friend's house and when I picked him up the Dad asked me in and they were watching TV. However, my son looked pretty bored and was half playing with a toy. He told me afterwards that it was a bit boring because L wanted to just watch tv. There isn't really any social interaction they were just staring at a screen. A computer game may have been slightly better as it is more interactive.

A little tv may have been ok but I'm not convinced of the 'fun' aspect of just watching tv as opposed to playing. Then again my experience is only yr 2 children.

FloppyPoppyCocky Wed 19-Feb-14 20:44:15

Why in the name of all that is holy does a child have to be a wholesome and fulfilled puddle jumper OR a mind rotting screen watcher. People on here don't seem to understand that children can do both. There are a lot of hours in a day you know.

KingR0llo Wed 19-Feb-14 20:44:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

hazeyjane Wed 19-Feb-14 20:47:22

This reminds me of going to a friends house so our dcs could play, they were about 3, another mum there made her dd sit behind the sofa and do puzzles because the friend we were visiting had put a disney film on. It was most bizarre!

I would be incredibly insulted if you said something about limiting screen time during a play date. When the dd's have friends over, they usually have away, watch some TV or go on the iPad, eat and maybe go in the garden. But if it is raining, and my youngest ds is being very difficult, then I will stick a film on to keep everyone happy.

nova1111 Wed 19-Feb-14 20:49:15

Why in the name of all that is holy does a child have to be a wholesome and fulfilled puddle jumper OR a mind rotting screen watcher. People on here don't seem to understand that children can do both. There are a lot of hours in a day you know.

And a few hours of something different won't ruin them for life.

mamaduckbone Wed 19-Feb-14 20:50:56

I agree that console games are very different from TV. My ds, 8, is allowed far more screen time when friends are round than when it's just him, because they do collaborate, problem solve and interact and it's the only chance he gets to play with others, as ds2 is only 4 and doesn't get it yet (although he's a demon at Wii sport bowling). I wouldn't be delighted at either of them watching TV constantly at someone's house, but it's hardly the end of the world.

JCDenton Wed 19-Feb-14 20:53:43

[Grin] Aelfrith

I certainly wouldn't be caught doing pointless things like posting on an internet forum. Good thing MN doesn't do post counts.

Stinklebell Wed 19-Feb-14 20:56:28

Why in the name of all that is holy does a child have to be a wholesome and fulfilled puddle jumper OR a mind rotting screen watcher. People on here don't seem to understand that children can do both. There are a lot of hours in a day you know.

Well, exactly!

These things aren't mutually exclusive - well, jumping in a puddle while holding an iPad is probably not a good idea but you know what I mean

mumminio Wed 19-Feb-14 20:58:02

Host the next playdate if you don't like what they're doing.

3 hours seems to me like a really long time for a playdate. What were you expecting them to do?

IdRatherPlayHereWithAllTheMadM Wed 19-Feb-14 21:10:33

Maybe three hours seemed like a long time to them because they dont get to watch any. maybe it was actually only 3 mins...

JupiterGentlefly Wed 19-Feb-14 21:18:10

I wish I had the energy of some of you to limit their 'screentime'!
I'm bloody knackered.
Pheobe you sound saintly and smug. I am sure you are not.

KingR0llo Wed 19-Feb-14 21:25:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

wannabestressfree Wed 19-Feb-14 21:38:09

Sometimes this place is so full of sanctimonious twaddle.....
I would post more but I am just going to break it to my son (16) that I will be strong arming his hdmi cable off him when his friends are round tomorrow so we can go puddle jumping.....

fuzzle Wed 19-Feb-14 22:13:13

Isn't the whole point of "playdates" that it's more fun than your own house and that if you are the host that you can do stuff you normally aren't allowed to as you have a guest? I think it also shows kids that other ppl have different rules and eat different stuff to you e.g at X's house we can watch tv if we like but we can't have any biscuits and at Y's house they have a basketball hoop so we play basketball and get cake after.

JupiterGentlefly Thu 20-Feb-14 18:53:19

Ooh KingRollo I have an urge for a cheese crispy pancake.. I really do. Even if it does blister my mouth. Do they stilll make them?

formerbabe Thu 20-Feb-14 19:01:21

I ban 'screens' on a play date...I find it so sad to see kids sitting next to each other all staring at individual screens and not interacting.

cansu Thu 20-Feb-14 19:06:04

FFS Please find something real to be upset about! Children play on ipad for three hours! Oh no, maybe they will be less intelligent and rounded because of this. Honestly you could only see this on mumsnet. Please don't say anything to the other parent. Your child will not be invited to other peoples houses if you start acting like a loon.

eeetheygrowupsofast Thu 20-Feb-14 19:09:11

I'm not a fan of constant screens but my kids are allowed to play X box/You Tube if friends come round, and at the weekends.

I feel like I largely kept them off screens for the first 8/9 years of their lives, I'm not going to stop them doing what all their friends are doing now.

I do actually think it's a shame if very young children aren't playing together on a play date for at least an hour out of three! If you turn the telly off they will find a game to play within about 20 seconds.

But yes it would rude to tell another parent what they should or shouldn't do on a won't harm your children for one afternoon.

soundedbetterinmyhead Thu 20-Feb-14 19:10:18

I ban 'screens' too formerbabe as this does not allow for interaction between playmates. However, this is rectified by using only one 'screen', usually TV and saying that whoever can find then, crucially, keep hold of the remote is in charge of what is watched. Put on the radio and sit back and watch as children turn the room upside down looking for remote, then bash seven bells out of each other for possession once it is found. Larks!

madhairday Thu 20-Feb-14 19:11:55

Oh dear. DS has just had his friend over since lunchtime.

They have played Minecraft on the PC, iPod and Xbox. Bad mummy alert

and they had hot dog and chips for tea

But they are 9/10. At 4 I'd not be so happy. At this age - it's what they love doing. They crafted all sorts of creative things and killed pigs together. I am fairly strict on screen time, but with mates over I am very relaxed about it - they are having fun.

MissyO Thu 20-Feb-14 19:23:43

Am I th only one to understand how jumping into a puddle is more 'worthy' and 'improving' than playing on consoles which does at least require some thought.

Panzee Thu 20-Feb-14 19:38:18

It's worthy because I did it when I were a lad and it never did me any harm (apart from the time that girl fell in the sinkhole). If they'd had the XBox when I were a lad then it would be fine now.

ShatnersBassoon Thu 20-Feb-14 19:55:02

Good god, is puddle jumping actually an activity, separate from walking when it's been raining?! Brilliant for the parenting CV that one.

Modern parenting equilibrium has occurred today for us. Public transport trip to weird local museum this morning, Minecraft this afternoon.

I honestly don't care what my kids do at friends' houses, as long as they're safe and remember to be polite to the grown ups.

KingR0llo Thu 20-Feb-14 19:57:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ShatnersBassoon Thu 20-Feb-14 19:58:55

Nice to know I've never got to that point.

Cat98 Thu 20-Feb-14 20:15:23

YANBU to be a bit miffed, op. But something you need to let go, would be v rude to say anything.

RonaldMcDonald Thu 20-Feb-14 20:27:35

God I hate other people's children and play dates

That is all

Swanhildapirouetting Thu 20-Feb-14 20:33:05

I remember feeling just like you OP. YANBU, to feel this way. However, I don't think you can say anything. All you can do is vote with your feet.

TBH my children found it boring if they went round to someone's house and all they did was watch tv and nothing else. And didn't really want to go there again. I think if the children were interacting at the same time as watching a screen that made a big difference. So sitting watching a DVD and chatting about it, or chatting whilst you play Wii is quite different from five year olds just glued to a screen ignoring each other.

I once asked one of ds's friends if he wanted to come to the cinema with us and his father said, sad he is sick of watching screens, can he do something like go to the park with you instead? He did nothing except watch telly when he was at home, and that father wanted ME to liven his day up with a bit of fresh air shock angry

I remember at 11 going round to my friend's house in the 70's after school. We always watched children's television programmes, and then we went and did other stuff. It was a balance.

Fannydabbydozey Thu 20-Feb-14 20:33:14

I don't get all sniffy about screen time with my kids and they don't actually abuse it. I'm of the opinion that if you make something BAD and UNWORTHY and TERRIBLE when it's just the tv or a bloody game then you make it terribly attractive and therefore more coveted.

My daughters iPod touch has been in my bedroom for the last two days, forgotten. She can use it whenever she wants. She's yet to turn into a screen obsessed automaton. My son lives it more but will also happily read for hours. If their mates come round then they crack open the wii or the xbox and have fun. Sometimes they - shock horror - play just dance and get all sweaty and giggly. They are 8 and 10 and seem to be developing nicely. If someone told me what to do with their kids when they dropped them off for a play date I'd give them an invoice for childminding.

Board games... For xmas no? Otherwise they pale in comparison to dancing to Rihanna's Umbrella with an actual umbrella. Or having your half Indian husband and mum do Bollywood dancing as seen on no movie ever (can you tell Just Dance is one of my favourite things ever?)

TheScience Thu 20-Feb-14 20:39:20

Does it matter? You got your own kids off your hands for 3 hours, no harm came to them, where's the problem?

tyaca Thu 20-Feb-14 20:46:40

Y are all BU to use the phrase playdate.

it's just having kids round to your house. nothing big, nothing clever, just kids being kids in other peoples' houses. no entertainment required. no freaking playing required.

mathanxiety Thu 20-Feb-14 21:15:13

Children have done this at my house and my DCs have done this at the homes of others.

I am not bothered by children watching tv for long stretches, or playing games as long as they are suitable for their ages. We got great value from fantastic games like Oregon Trail and Monkey Island (ages ago) and many others since.

MisForMumNotMaid Thu 20-Feb-14 21:27:03

Are you sure the other mum isn't going to start a thread...Had children over on a play date today and they didn't want to play with my pfb, all they did was hog the IPad/ Ds and watch TV because mummy doesn't let them at home.

One of the DC that I know and have contact with is an absolute technology limpet. Home is all stimulating, structured nurture and a big routine of extra curricular activities, which is great, but she just loves to get her hands on a tablet or stare at cbeebies for an hour or three.

RussianBlu Thu 20-Feb-14 23:20:05

The way I see it is that you have had 3 or 4 hours of free time while someone kindly had your children and fed them. So what if they spent all their time on the Ipad? They may well have returned home in a bad mood if the children had spent all their time kicking each other in the garden or rugby tackling each other in the living room.

WhoWasThatMaskedWoman Thu 20-Feb-14 23:24:48

"Having kids round to your house" = 7 syllables
"Playdate" = 2
Naff terminology, I grant you, but efficient.

Olivegirl Thu 20-Feb-14 23:37:22

Haha kingROllo your posts have made me laugh gringrin

mathanxiety Fri 21-Feb-14 00:44:30

I encourage screens as this makes interaction between playmates less likely.

I have 5 DCs and the TV was never off. The younger ones lost friends because their humourless parents weren't able to wrap their minds around the fact that children aged 8 and up do not like puddle jumping as much as you might think and prefer their x box or children's programmes. I heard through the grapevine there were dire predictions about how the DCs would all turn out because of their daily diet of claptrap.

LOL, it turned out being able to stay glued to a TV all afternoon provided great practice for paying attention to teachers in high school.

RussianBlu Fri 21-Feb-14 00:48:44

The more time they spend on screens the less likely the hyperactive child visitors are to spend their time wrecking your home. I would actively encourage screen time and would provide a range of electrical goods, all fully charged if it were me.

Aelfrith Sat 22-Feb-14 21:25:28

grin at Russianblu. You are my kind of parent.

MrsCampbellBlack Sat 22-Feb-14 21:32:57

God, if I tried to get 9 year old ds and his friends to go puddle jumping they'd look at me like I was deranged.

We had a friend over for several hours - they played minecraft, they played lego, they ate lunch - they stayed out of my hair whilst I did some work.

Friend had a child dropped off for a 24 hour 'playdate' and was instructed no screentime at all. That was a fun 24 hours for her.

JupiterGentlefly Sat 22-Feb-14 21:44:46

Id have instructed them to take the child back home mrs Campbell@

jamdonut Sat 22-Feb-14 22:10:53

Hate the term "play date_". When I was little it was "going for tea". Admittedly there was not much in the way of computer games then,but we would still watch a bit of telly !

TamerB Sat 22-Feb-14 22:15:08

I just left it to them. The whole point in having a friend around is for them to entertain each other. I provide space and tea, I am not entertainments manager!

MauriceMinor Sat 22-Feb-14 23:04:24

I think you should be grateful for the free childcare tbh.

And I'm usually very strict about screens.

PhoebeMcPeePee Sat 22-Feb-14 23:58:57

Free childcare isn't really my motivation for agreeing to them visting a friend as I'm a childminder so hardly sitting with my feet up when my DC are out grin.

I'm not moaning about the fact they went on an ipad or watched a bit of TV as I fully expect it for some of the time especially with minecraft obsessed DS1 (8) what I am narked about is a full 3 hours (is that really too long to have another child in your house?) doing nothing BUT staring at a screen of some description.

SaucyJack Sun 23-Feb-14 00:01:47

Yes, YABU. Remember the good ol' days when we were kids, and we got to choose how we spent our playtime?

Next time, pay a childminder if you want edumacational ops.

mathanxiety Sun 23-Feb-14 03:11:49

It's not just 'staring at the screen'. It's a truly dumb child that can't learn something from every experience he or she encounters.

If you watch TV do you just stare at the screen and come away with nothing?

My DCs and their friends can recite entire episodes of the Simpsons and Arthur thanks to their hours logged in front of the screen. DD1 wrote her university application essay based on the character of Lisa Simpson. The DCs found something in common with their Irish and English cousins thanks to a shared love for various TV programmes.

TamerB Sun 23-Feb-14 06:54:50

I think your DC will soon clue up with not telling you what he has done if you are going to want control when you are not there.

CheerfulYank Sun 23-Feb-14 07:08:07

Meh. I don't usually allow DS three hours in a row of screen time, nor do I usually let him have much or any when he's got friend D's over. But if he were at someone else's house and that's what they did I probably wouldn't mind, as long as he wasn't watching anything inappropriate.

Is this the same mn as I usually log into?

He11y Sun 23-Feb-14 08:40:47

It's a shame some children need to be doing something their parent considers constructive or worthwhile every minute of the day. In my opinion, that is as stifling as rigid activities.

Let them choose for themselves sometimes - they aren't you and they may choose different activities. Does it matter as long as they are safe?

Also, if you consider screen time a waste then who said wasting time is a crime? At their age they can afford 3 hours of 'wasted' time can't they?

Seriously, loosen up!

arethereanyleftatall Sun 23-Feb-14 09:24:30

I an a brilliant mother because I've never limited screentime.they can choose. As such, they watch really little, because it's boring if you're allowed it.

brettgirl2 Sun 23-Feb-14 09:28:51

yabu, it would make me feel like supermother wink.

Panzee Sun 23-Feb-14 10:11:53

Stealth grin

Joysmum Sun 23-Feb-14 10:25:05

If my DD has friends round, they decide what they do and if that means watching films or playing games, that's up to them.

Aelfrith Sun 23-Feb-14 10:33:27

Agree arethereanyleftat all.

My entire parenting is based on reverse psychology cos all mine are right contrary monkeys.

I am just back from shopping with teen DD. The more outrageous the clothes she tried on, the more I said "I love it! You should definitely get it". (Dress with a zip across the stomach so you can show plenty of flesh, skin tight, short, and and practically see through as well)

Result...they were all rejected. She bought jeans and a T shirt instead, in the sale, £15 for both. Ha, Ha, she will be warm and suitably covered. Go me!

Aelfrith Sun 23-Feb-14 10:34:49

<conveniently forgets all the times this approach has not worked at all>

MiaowTheCat Sun 23-Feb-14 11:47:33

Puddle jumping is all well and good as a way to get a toddler to your destination (go on - let's get to the next puddle to splash darling... repeat till the will to live is lost) but bugger that for a way to spend an entire afternoon!

SummerRain Sun 23-Feb-14 12:01:45

Dds bf has been here since yesterday and there have been screens on since she got here.

Ds1 spent most of yesterday watching 6 nations rugby, both mens matches and the women's. He plays rugby and watching professionals play is beneficial to his own game.

All four kids have had multiple games of multiplayer Mario cart... During which they communicate and cooperate and never stop talking.

We let them watch a movie in dds room on my laptop and all four snuggled up on the bed and had a lovely time.

Dd and bf have hooked up their games of harvest moon and visited each others towns, again they chat and communicate constantly while they do this.

The girls have also been doing a craft activity on and off, they've played barbies and had a teddy bears tea party and lots of other stuff.. As well as attending mass with me this morning.

I see consoles and TV as valuable assets to play and interaction, not as detrimental to their social skills and thankfully I know bfs mother feels the same and won't be judging how much 'screen time' I've allowed.

It's stormy and wet here and bf had an operation last week so outdoor play has been a no go so they've effectively entertained themselves with the resources available.

WilsonFrickett Sun 23-Feb-14 12:47:57

The poster who said 'why shouldnt they waste a few hours of time at their age.'. That. 100%.

Ubik1 Sun 23-Feb-14 12:54:26

Kids seem to love playing computer games together, it's a social event.

Weather is awful otherwise it would be the park.

Sometimes I am so tired from work I can't think up improving activities with which to dazzle other parent at my sheer fabulousness as a guardian of her offspring's development.

Often the children who have very restricted access to TV/computer are the ones hanging about waiting for me to push magic button.

Op you are being very precious.

MissBetseyTrotwood Sun 23-Feb-14 13:32:16

If another parent has my dcs for a few hours I see it as a favour. Ds1 has one friend with an xbox in his room (they are 7) and he goes over there regularly, eats pizzas and ice cream and games non stop. This friend is a lovely, lovely boy. Then in the playground at school they play the games again in an imaginary way.

It's fine in my opinion. Other parent may have had a stressful phone call or two. You never know. Is it different to coming home from soft play with a bump or graze or something?

Aelfrith Sun 23-Feb-14 14:36:18

ubik1 sometimes I am so tired from MNing that I can't think up improving activities for my own DCs, never mind anyone else's. grin

Oblomov Sun 23-Feb-14 14:49:15

How old are your children OP? You say the youngest is 4? Is that the friend, or your child?
Are you being PFB?
Normally kids play, running around, chasing, trampoline, lego, x box, tv, all toys, whilst they are at my house.

But generally, my 10 year old loves xbox and minecraft more than anything. So I wouldn't mind if the main kart if the 'play date', was this. In fact I would expect it. Like others gave said.

I think YABVU and I'm just grateful that anyone even has my kids!!

FGS don't say this to anyone! You won't win any friends. And people will just think you are a precious uber parent, who is perfect , with thiei perfect kids , who eat nothing but organic soya wheat salad!!

Ubik1 Sun 23-Feb-14 17:51:24

Haha Aelfrith - yes op has her work cut out trying to get us lot to admit to the benefits of limited screen time - mumsnet is indeed the 21st century 'mothers little helper' although gin is also required in times of extreme stress

hmc Sun 23-Feb-14 17:55:19

If we have other children over I will encourage them not to spend all their time exclusively with screens - but that is all it is - gentle encouragement and a suggestion that they might want to do something else. I am certainly not going to police and enforce it.

If another parent asked me to avoid screen time I would consider them a PITA and would not be issuing further invites

Spero Sun 23-Feb-14 18:13:46

I am not sure I would consider it 'rude' - I am sure you could ask very politely - but I would think you were precious and annoying and I would not invite your children to my house ever again.

mathanxiety Sun 23-Feb-14 19:48:23

Me too. My house, my choice. And don't go all po-faced if your child returns from mine with her nails done in pink either.

LEMmingaround Sun 23-Feb-14 19:50:41

Sounds like they had a great time actually and will think their friends parents are really cool smile

LEMmingaround Sun 23-Feb-14 19:55:20

But what is this Mine craft of which you all speak, i feel my DD (8) is missing out on something here...........

Aelfrith Sun 23-Feb-14 20:01:29

Minecraft is an app or PC game where stuff gets built and mined. And some dragon is fought apparently. As games go, it's quite good. Not too violent or gothic.

LEMmingaround Sun 23-Feb-14 20:31:51

oh, that sounds quite good - because it was called minecraft i assumed it was like "warcraft" i might take a look at this, thanks.

Spero Sun 23-Feb-14 20:34:53

I still remember and wake up screaming from nightmares about my canal boat trip with a four year old whose mother has very strict rules about 'screen time'.

Rules which frankly I would have abandoned after three hours stuck in a canal boat. No, he did not want to see the lovely aqueduct, in so far as you could discern anything through the driving rain. He wanted to play on the iPad.

It would have been much better to let him play on the bloody iPad than have him trying to throw himself off the back of the boat in his boredom and frustration.

Screens are not evil. Not much in moderation is harmful.

Mimishimi Tue 25-Feb-14 03:41:57

I'd feel annoyed if a mum kept dropping hints until I finally invited her kids over for a playdate (aka babysitting for holidays) and then moaned that all the kids did was watch TV. If I invited them myself of my own volition, then it might be a bit strange to have the TV going all the time unless the weather was bad. Generally I wouldn't accept kids over for 'playdates' (don't particularly like that term) unless the mum or dad were going to be there too. It's very interesting how the requests always seem to escalate in the holidays no?

claraschu Tue 25-Feb-14 04:07:45

I would be really annoyed by this too, OP. Kids are happier and have more fun if they do something more interesting than stare at a screen, and I am willing to take a bit of trouble to make it happen. You don't need rules about screens, just a few different tempting activities.

It is the kids who spend too much time on the screen who don't know how to play in any other way

Mimishimi Tue 25-Feb-14 04:47:02

Spero, it's awful of me but imagining a liitle boy repetitively trying to throw himself off the back of a boat made me laugh...a lot... blush

ComposHat Tue 25-Feb-14 04:57:25

What the fuck is a play date? Screentime?

Am I missing something here or does all this wankspeak boil down to: 'my kid went round their mate's house and played on the computer'

So what? It is the midst of winter and miserable outside.

What do want instead with their free time?

Them to work out a strategy to save the rainforest?
Learn the violin to concert standard?
Master euclidian geometry?

I'm guessing if they gone round to a friend's house, the last thing they want is adult orchestrated 'fun' because there is nothing more joyless rhan turning leisure time into a rwgimented activity.

mathanxiety Tue 25-Feb-14 06:27:24

Kids are happier and have more fun if they do something more interesting than stare at a screen

Whose kids would that be?

And who gets to clean up afterwards and comb glitter out of the cat's fur? Where do you do all the fun stuff in a small house and how do you keep the toddler from sucking down blue paint?

thewalrus Tue 25-Feb-14 07:41:56

OP, I wouldn't be thrilled, but I wouldn't dream of saying anything - primarily I'd be grateful she'd looked after my kids and they'd had a good time.
DD1 (6) invited a friend over recently - he brought his own iPad with him and spent the entire time (bar snack) playing on it extremely loudly in the middle of our living room while my kids watched (and weren't offered a turn). Eventually it ran out of battery and they had 10 minutes of playing (happily) together before his mum arrived. Thoughts on what I should do next time (what I did was rolled my eyes at DH a lot and suggested other things they might like to do occasionally, which I don't think was the best possible way to handle it).
I should add I'm not in a hurry for there to be a next time!

Spero Tue 25-Feb-14 09:26:20

O yes Mimishimi I can laugh about it NOW but I was failing to find the funny at the time. It's almost as if she would have preferred him to drown rather than have 'screen time' over his allotted 20 mins per day!

In the end I had to pick him up and deposit him back inside boat as 'asking him nicely' not to dance about on the very back end of the boat was having little effect either.

Rules and routines are great but sometimes you have to know when to break them.

Spero Tue 25-Feb-14 09:33:05

My daughter watches loads of TV. She also plays on a lap top and a tablet. Strangely she also manages to go outside and play and still seems to have an imagination. She is also doing fine at school.

Without 'screens' I couldn't parent. If you want to do it differently, fine. Don't let your children go to others homes where they might be corrupted by 'different' attitudes.

But maybe have a think about what messages you are giving by making something so rationed and hence so desirable.

Really interesting item on radio 4 yesterday about 9 year olds in an American school being left to get on with a maths lesson via tablet. They all laid on the floor with their own tablet and headphones and could work at their own pace, rewind and repeat as necessary. School says they have fantastic results.

But hang on, it's using a 'screen' so must be work of the devil?

It's 2014! Screens are going to be a massive part of your children's lives!

hmc Tue 25-Feb-14 09:57:00

Delightful post ComposHat - well done !


mercibucket Tue 25-Feb-14 10:30:49

minecraft is online lego with added zombies *but you dont have to have the zombies

and, yes, all this fuss about kids playing over at a friends house. let them do what they want. i can hear those helicopter blades whirring.

ComposHat Tue 25-Feb-14 10:50:04

Sorry hmc this thread is a lot of shite and a terrific fuss about going to play at a friend's house. If people are so highly strung that they feel the need to micromanage every second of their child's leisure time and won't allow them a few hours where they don't do anything constructive with an adult hovering over them, then it is them not the child who has a fucking problem.

Ubik1 Tue 25-Feb-14 11:14:56

my girls are desperate for Minecraft

It's at the point that their friends come round and gaze wistfully at Minecraft songs on Youtube (after some improving work on the viola, Mensa endorsed building blocks and classical music appreciation, natch)

Moshi Monsters and Bin Weevils do not cut it any longer, I'm afraid

hmc Tue 25-Feb-14 11:15:51

I don't disagree with the micro managing bit (and neither do most of the posters) - it was just the errm.... forthrightness with the way you put you put your point across. It was a bit much over my morning coffee whilst only still half awake (takes me a couple of hours to get going)!

Give me a warning next time so that I can gird my loins grin

Spero Tue 25-Feb-14 12:17:10

Sorry hmc but some of us do get a bit forthright because the whole thing is just so bloody exasperating.

TheToysAreALIVEITellThee Tue 25-Feb-14 12:41:01

When my kids go on a play date the bare minimum I expect is that they had fun. Did your kids have fun OP? Yes? Objective complete surely? confused

2rebecca Tue 25-Feb-14 13:57:10

If kids were old enough to come round and play with my kids (I never did playing with parents present) then it was up to them what they did as long as the house wasn't wrecked and the noise level was reasonable. Sometimes they played dens in the woods, sometimes they played in the garden, sometimes they watched TV and sometimes played on playstation/ xbox etc.
Now they are teenagers especially for my son it is nearly all staring at screens, but they're still interacting and competing and chatting.
Any kid whose mother complained wouldn't get invited again.

hermionepotter Tue 25-Feb-14 14:01:41

We live in a computer age
So much angst nowadays!. What's wrong with folk confused
Entertainment is for kids parties ie once a year. not every time kids come over, like a visiting head of state
Can't be good for the kids. Just let them chill out and be normal doing mindless things sometimes like normal people rather than this constant 'achievement' bullshit.

mathanxiety Tue 25-Feb-14 14:18:58

Spero, my DCs' textbooks have been online for three years now in all subjects except English (but the novels they are reading are all available on Kindle and often from the library, which facilitates online borrowing). In addition, the homework for the night is posted online on the school website. No need to lug heavy bags home from school. No excuses for missing homework. There are tutorials along with the maths and science books so they can refer back to any elements of a topic they didn't get.

Spero Tue 25-Feb-14 14:23:05

Sounds brilliant! So all information is up to date and easily accessible.

Yet I bet there will be parents reading this who don't think it's 'proper' learning because it involves a screen.

Would be fun to have Stone Age mumsnet wouldn't it? Some parents collapsing in horror because little Zod was drawing in charcoal on the cave wall instead of out chasing mammoths or other similarly healthy pursuits that may or may not involve puddles.

IdRatherPlayHereWithAllTheMadM Tue 25-Feb-14 14:25:22

constant 'achievement' bullshit

Totally agree this is helicopter parenting in the extreme

Aelfrith Tue 25-Feb-14 14:32:55

YY to the 'achievement madness'. I lurk a lot on the teen boards and since mine became teens I've lowered my expectations a lot! There's an unbelievable amount of pressure on children these days and the peer/media/exams pressure is intense for teenagers.

We'd help our DCs a lot if we let them really relax and have time to do nothing rather than pushing them into improving activities all the time. Which are often just to make us feel like we are being great parents offering them so many 'opportunities'.

Ubik1 Tue 25-Feb-14 15:10:52

But for primary school aged children there has to be some physical handling and experience of objects so that they can understand certain concepts - volume, quantity, mass for example.

but hell they get all that at school. home is for relaxing with your pals

mathanxiety Tue 25-Feb-14 15:31:35

Children aged 3 or 4 maybe? And they handle objects all the time -- if they eat, drink, put on their clothes and shoes, brush their teeth, play a bit with dolls (even pink ones) or blocks (even pink ones), books, markers, crayons, paper, toys in the bath, they are handling objects. Volume, quantity and mass, etc. can all be thoroughly understood once taught properly in maths class. You don't have to be absorbing basic concepts for years in order to gain a mental handle on the concepts. There are other skills and concepts to be tackled, and other foundation-laying to be done -- imo it is very important to have something in common with your peers.

It has been my observation that children of parents who are proscriptive about elements of life that other people find no harm in can become alienated from their parents and can even end up leading something of a double life once they are teens as they seek to live their lives around their parents' blind spots.

Spero Tue 25-Feb-14 15:44:56

I agree - my daughter was learning about volume and displacement every night in the bath! I do think it is very sad that there is such heightened anxiety about children and their 'achievements'.

One doctor friend of mine said recently that children will have to chose between being 'entrepreneurs' or 'serfs' ! he was very passionate and worried that all the old 'middle class' safe careers will vanish.

Well, maybe they will. But I don't think we are going to end up with such a stark choice for our children. And I certainly don't think that watching TV or playing on iPads will doom them to a certain life style.

In my experience - fairly limited to my friends and their children I grant you - the ones who are 'rationed' their screen times are the ones who seem to have the most unhealthy relationship with iPads, iPods, Xboxes etc. They always want to be on them and complain when they are not allowed. I wouldn't want my child playing for hours and hours - but unless she is ill she doesn't sit in front of a screen for hours anyway. She does something, gets bored, goes and does something else. I only 'ration' screen time in that I don't let her watch TV or play on iPad late into the night. She seems to have sorted out her own boundaries aged 9. And there are also lots of 'physical' things she likes doing. It was collecting Moshi monster cards and now bizarrely its pictures of footballers?

Is this a 'thing' now?

TamerB Tue 25-Feb-14 22:35:29

I agree with the 'double life' bit, mathsanxiety, you see it a lot.If the parent is too controlling there are 2 ways to go, rebellion or simply finding a way around it. I find that most go for the 'devious method', they play lip service to the parent and do the opposite out of sight. The parent ends up not really knowing the child because the child shows them what they want to see and are really someone else entirely!
Children are no different from adults in that most of us want time to do nothing, vegetate in front of a screen sometimes- especially after a busy day at work or school. Imagine how irritating it would be for you to meet a friend and have someone insisting you do something constructive- children are the same!

claraschu Wed 26-Feb-14 07:39:19

This has nothing to do with "improving " activities. I guess I just know a different world from almost everyone on this thread. I have three children, and they and their friends enjoyed things like playing with cars/ construction toys/ dressing up/ making dens in and out of the house/ hide and seek/ jumping on mats/ making potions// playing with giant cardboard boxes/ playing with various art materials. Of course if the weather was ok there was a much bigger range of things to do.

Having friends over was never a time to do something on a screen when they were little (mine are 12-18 now). It was the one or two kids who spent a huge amount of time watching TV who would come over and not know what else to do and would ask to watch something.

We do have quite a bit of room (because we live in the middle of nowhere) and a fairly messy house.

I think lots of parents can't be bothered with a bit of mess, and with the occasional quarrelling, when kids play in a more unstructured way.

I do think that kids who spend a lot of time in front of a screen miss out on a lot of fun. To me, screens are like junk food: easy for parents, addictive, a bit of a cop out.

I would never comment if another family chose to play on a computer for the three hours my kids were visiting, by the way. I would just thank them for the afternoon.

hermionepotter Wed 26-Feb-14 09:35:41

claraschu I think one of your answers is in your post there... if you don't have a big house or a gardet certain options, such as jumping on mats hmm or hide and seek or lots of messy art are ruled out.

Also, so what if parents can't always be bothered to lay on entertainment. I disagree that it's a 'cop out' its just real life. People have other things to do.

hermionepotter Wed 26-Feb-14 09:35:52


Ubik1 Wed 26-Feb-14 12:22:26

I also have three children. We don't have a garden. We live in a flat (I know, by mumsnet standards they are deprived)

It's not a case of 'can't be bothered' but more about space to play indoors, especially when the weather has been this bad for so long.

But it's blue skies today so we will be visiting the park after school smile

Spero Wed 26-Feb-14 13:20:39

Well aren't you lucky, those of you with massive houses and gardens and room for all your big cardboard boxes. Like to see you coming to a play date when I lived in my Brixton flat up three flights of stairs. Going to a park meant negotiating past all the various drug dealers and alcoholics on Brixton High street and getting the bus to Brockwell Park.

So you know what? If it was cold or raining I would put a DVD on.

Just what are you advocating for children who don't live in an Old Rectory with a few acres of grounds, I.e. Nearly everyone?

claraschu Wed 26-Feb-14 23:12:21

Sorry if I sounded like I was bragging. If you saw our house you definitely wouldn't admire it: believe me. We sleep on futons on the floor (these are our jumping mats), and things like large boxes and art supplies used to take over our house.

I grew up in a small fourth floor apartment in NY, without computers (obviously) or TV, and I guess I value the way we used to play 40 years ago. I do feel like children miss out on a lot because it is so easy to stick them in front of a screen.

Spero Thu 27-Feb-14 00:39:53

Ignore me, I am bitter. But I do remember vast tracts of boredom as a child and how much I loved our Atari games console. I think there is a risk we can over romanticise aspects of childhood. Everything in moderation.

mathanxiety Thu 27-Feb-14 00:43:34

I made a point of never entertaining any children including my own. I provided the wherewithal and that included a computer, games, and TV and art materials, lego, blocks, books by the thousand, craft kits, board games, bikes, skates, bats, balls, mitts, dolls, dollhouses, doll clothes, etc (lots of 'etc'). They chose what they would do. I still have most of the gorgeous beaded hair accessories DD1 made, and I wear them. I also have huge files of the artwork they all produced as well as the Boy Scout crafts DS made. And we still regale one another with chunks of Simpsons dialogue. Also the songs and plots of various children's programmes we all watched together when morning sickness made forays into the kitchen or outdoors into the small of exhaust fumes horrible.

Their outdoor options were limited in summer to the pool or the garden sprinkler thanks to the way the sun heated up the local playground equipment and because it's not fun to run around playing ballgames or even riding a bike or skating when it's unbearably humid and in the 90sF. You can't keep small children out in heat like that. In winter the playground wasn't much fun either because of serious cold, and biking and skating were out because of ice and snow and cold, and dark afternoons. Skating at the rink was expensive for a session for the number of DCs I had to pay for.

So yes, the TV and the computer are both cheap and handy and if you're paying for the heat or the AC anyway you might as well get the benefit of them. But they can also be enjoyed together and are not necessarily a matter of leaving the children to it on their own, nor are they necessarily more harmful than providing books and letting them read for hours during which they do not get exercise or interact with others.

Actually, since screen time is often shared by children, there is often more interaction between them than if someone is reading. There is a good deal of regulation of behaviour of the kind interactive play requires -- they establish rules such as no standing in front of the screen, no annoying tapping or humming or other noises, no asking questions constantly by people who can't follow the plot, no demanding a change of channel if everyone else is happy with what's on, etc. So there are social skills involved in TV watching, and also in everyone using an X Box or game console. The Wii is especially good for interactive play.

Spero Thu 27-Feb-14 01:03:06

Some of the nicest times I have had with my 9 year old recently have involved games on the iPad where we have to find clues and solve mysteries. We both enjoy this - I certainly enjoy it far more than 'imaginative play' with her toys which used to be acres of teeth gritting tedium.

But some seem to have a view that screens automatically equate to mindless consumption - I think they can often provoke and sustain interaction.

mathanxiety Thu 27-Feb-14 01:15:29

We had 'Oregon Trail' and 'Monkey Island' as well as the Sims and several more - they gave us hours of family enjoyment.

TamerB Thu 27-Feb-14 06:47:09

I really don't think that an organising mother is what children want on play dates. Mine were always successful in that no one wanted to go home at the end! I just left them to it and it depended on mood and weather, sometimes they were creative and inventive, sometimes they just went on the computer or watched TV - sometimes it was a mixture.
I can't see that it mattered- the important thing was that they sorted it out themselves - without adult interference or expectations.

changeforthebetter Thu 27-Feb-14 07:46:57

Oh dear! We had kids round to play yesterday. The TV went on and then the Wii. It was dark, cold, wet and the kids were tired. I would be grateful someone had looked after my kids for three hours (as long as it wasn't CoD or GTA5). You sound a bit bonkers precious.

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