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Or will my kid be socially inept if he doesn't have a better social life than me?

(16 Posts)
BertieBrabinger Wed 19-Nov-14 21:27:02

DS is 4. He's in preschool full-time. He has occasional (like twice a month) playdates with a couple of kids from his nursery. He also spends time with his little cousins (once a month) and has occasional playdates with our friends' children. He doesn't seem to have a problem playing nicely, behaves pretty well and is gregarious. I think that's plenty, and at weekends DH and I don't work and always try to get out and about and go swimming or to a museum or park and generally make it all about DS. He is an only child.

It strikes me that all the other children in his preschool have a playdate every other day, and his nursery have suggested he should be having more. The thing is that I work, full-time, (most of the other mums at his nursery don't) and there are only really three hours left in the day before he gets ready for bed. AIBU? Obviously, it's a long time ago since I was 4 years old, but I don't remember this massively engineered 'play dating' scene when I was a kid. It just tended to be playing with whoever was around, family members and such.

For the record, I go out about once a week, either with my DH or a mate for movie night. I am by no means a social animal, so maybe I'm missing something and should be doing more.

QTPie Wed 19-Nov-14 21:33:12

My DS is 4 (5 in January) and I think that things don't really start to take off, socially, until Reception starts.

When Reception starts, you tend to get "all class parties" (so lots!) and also more play dates (although not so much initially, since all of the kids are knackered).

At preschool, it tends to be that not all kids do the same days and also not all of the kids will go on to the same school. Kids are more engaged and parents are willing to invest more time and energy into play dates once real school starts.

Don't worry - very early days smile

Inboxer Wed 19-Nov-14 23:11:59

Oh God I hate all this play date crap!!! We used to just play in the street with the children who lived nearby and I know my mother would have had neither the time nor the inclination to micro manage my social life like that!!! I know things are different nowadays but I do think parental intervention in children's lives has taken on epic proportions and this enforced socialising just puts pressure on everyone.

Sounds like you're doing a great job so don't fall into the trap of doing things just because everyone else is. Follow your child's lead - if he wants more time with other children then fair enough but if he's sick of the sight of them by the end of the day then don't force it in him just to please others. I really doubt that he feels he's missing out and I bet his favourite time is his time with mum and dad!

amyhamster Wed 19-Nov-14 23:23:43

Oh yes honestly don't worry at all

Wait until he gets invited somewhere & then decide if you want to invite back

PecanNut Wed 19-Nov-14 23:26:44

Well, if he goes to preschool every day, then he is socialising with his peers every day so I shouldn't think he needs much more. You sound like sensible parents and don't need to change anything.

But if you do want to do more with him there are probably ways to do so.

Who looks after him after preschool and before you get home? If a childminder or nanny, do / can they take him to preschool activities.

You could look into doing a class e.g. swimming at the weekend if you felt like it.

It is handy to be at the school and get to know the other parents as over the years it is useful to have a support network to help each other out with collections / lifts etc. But as others have said, this doesn't really start properly until reception.

Actually I often invite round my DCs friends even though I know their parents work FT and therefore can't reciprocate, because it seems kind to include them.

AlpacaMyBags Wed 19-Nov-14 23:31:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

skylark2 Thu 20-Nov-14 08:17:23

"generally make it all about DS"

I think this is the main issue, or could potentially be. When is he getting experience of being in a family situation which isn't all about him? Do you see how this is different from "tended to be playing with whoever was around"?

That said, is this a nursery or a preschool? It seems very odd to me for so many kids in a nursery not to be there because their parents are at work. It's normally a tiny minority who are there for a reason other than childcare.

I worked from home while my kids were at primary school so they couldn't have kids back for playdates. DD is massively social. DS is a loner. To a huge extent, it's what the child is like.

jelliebelly Thu 20-Nov-14 08:22:23

If he us an only child are school suggesting he needs more interaction with other children? Seems odd if he's there all day - he's probably glad not to see his friends again afterwards!

smokinggnu Thu 20-Nov-14 09:12:03

Children tend to form close friendships from around 6-8 before that there is less 'depth' to them. Regular contact with a peer group is all they really need to develop social skills (average developmentwise). It's odd that the nursery are saying this, because he is engaging daily with children there in a relatively informal setting. If they have specific concerns about how he interacts they should raise those, not dictate how to raise him!

brandis Thu 20-Nov-14 09:43:38

OP, your child's social life is way richer than either of my two DCs have had as I work so cannot have their mates over for playdates after school. Occasionally they would come on weekends or DCs would be invited to their classmates' houses. From what I gather about the school day, they do have a lot of out of class interaction with their friends in school hours.

Also, in my experience, girls tend to do it more than boys. Please don't worry, you son seems to have plenty of contact with peers.

C4ro Thu 20-Nov-14 09:47:19

My 4.3 DD has 2 very good mates only. She sees one of them at Kindergarten each day and the other about every 4 weeks. It's enough. By luck not judgement all her best friends have both parents working too so at least they all understand the time and place hassles that brings. DD got invited to a couple of parties with non-working parent(s) and it was hard- 2pm midweek... Oh my, that doesn't work!

BertieBrabinger Thu 20-Nov-14 10:49:41

skylark2 I see how 'all about him' might seem - I just meant that we try to make weekends quality family time, sometimes just us three, sometimes other friends and family - but both DH and I have high pressure careers that often mean long hours and lots of travel (for example DH is out of the country all month, but is making an effort to return for weekends). So we keep weekends as sacrosanct as possible.

I'm just a bit worried that because I work, while I do try to go to parents' meet-ups, I can't do all of them, and as most of the other mums don't work they have a lot more time to ferry kids to each other's homes and also spend time with each other. It's banker land round here, which means lots of ladies with time on their hands. (They're all very sweet and friendly, I'm not dissing them!) It's just that so many of the mums are connecting as friends because they simply drop off and go for coffees and I can't do that. So i suppose they are organically play dating as they become friends anyway.

It's a pre-school (i.e. school hours) not a daycare place and finishes at 4. I too feel that he has all day with kids of his own age, and to then drag him round to people's houses afterwards seems a bit OTT.

I guess there are two things here - is my child missing out or is this level of play dating an anomaly because there is an unusually high proportion of SAHMs whose kids are at this nursery.

WD41 Thu 20-Nov-14 11:11:36

DD is 3.8 and in preschool full time. She's never had a play date.

She's an only child too, no cousins or friends children the same age. Basically she gets on well with the children at preschool but they are her only contact with other kids and I think that's fine and enough at her age, 3 hours a day.

I think your preschool are being a bit ridiculous.

BrainyMess Thu 20-Nov-14 11:27:41

Oh God I hate all this play date crap!!! We used to just play in the street with the children who lived nearby and I know my mother would have had neither the time nor the inclination to micro manage my social life like that!!!

grin <<applauds>>

DD is 7 and is going on her first playdate going round for tea to a friends for the first time this week.

DD mostly plays out with the kids on our ave.

Micromanaging a childs social life as some do cannot be healthy for the child surely.

OP your doing more than your duty. smile

BertieBrabinger Thu 20-Nov-14 12:02:39

OK, I'm feeling better now, thank you for your comments. Honestly, since DS started full time earlier this year, he is knackered by 6.30pm, so I think he is getting plenty of stimulation. Plus, I quite like taking the odd afternoon off for just us two, nothing more exciting than baking or drawing.

I shall stick with my go with the flow and consider playdates what happens when two kids just happen to play together in the park or because they are family or their parents are friends. I'm not a fan of social engineering!!

MillionPramMiles Thu 20-Nov-14 13:47:25

It depends on the child, dd is only 2.5 but I can already see she loves playing with other children and will often strike up friendships with similar age toddlers at parks, farms etc. I do make efforts to organise weekend playdates and to keep in touch with other parents at the nursery but only because I can see how much dd enjoys it.

Incidentally, there have posts on other threads about working parents feeling their children are missing out at schools where the majority of children have a SAHP. It's a valid concern, noone wants their child to miss out because they happen to go to work.
Playing out with neighbours kids on the street is a nice idea but isn't feasible if your neighbours are 25 yr olds and the street is full of traffic.

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