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To think 'playdates' are over-rated & stressful?!

(62 Posts)
tryhard Tue 27-Oct-15 22:34:22

This has been done to death I'm sure but I feel like a total fish out of water in RL so starting to wonder if AIBU? DS1 has just started reception, enjoys it, like the other kids etc. He's August-born so he's knackered at the end of the day, at weekends & this half term. The way I see it, he's getting plenty of stimulation & social interaction at school, home is for rest, peace & quiet time while he adjusts to full time education. I can only imagine that having another equally knackered 5 year old in my house, potentially without their parent, would be nothing short of awful. Yet it feels like everyone we know has a 'little friend' round for tea after school & is spending half term in eachothers' pockets. It seems so unnecessary. I am an introvert & I'm aware that I withdraw to recharge but still...do kids who are not yet 5 really need a busier social life than me? AIBU?

shutupanddance Tue 27-Oct-15 23:11:57

If hes too tired, hes too tired. I, too am an introvert but I do think its good to do a playdate now and again. I tend to do term time only.

EatShitDerek Tue 27-Oct-15 23:50:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MilkTwoSugarsThanks Wed 28-Oct-15 00:04:25

Personally I think it helps children form friendships, and becomes more important as they progress through primary school. You don't want your DS to feel "left out" as his classmates form closer bonds with children they do see after school.

Derek is right though - it's having a friend round to tea, not a 'play date'.

I'm an introvert too but I learnt to cope.

LuisCarol Wed 28-Oct-15 00:22:33

I'm an introvert who needs to withdraw to recharge, too, but I find either of my two having a friend round helps, because the friend keeps them busy and I can have a coffee in peace.

KatieLatie Wed 28-Oct-15 00:43:34

Love them, with the right kids (and mum), especially if it is nice enough for them to play in the garden...

Year 1 is easier than Reception - they are all a little more grown-up.

Won't make the mistake of inviting too many boys along again (I have one son): too boisterous... Can be quite lovely having girls over.

Am now careful to ask "who gets on with who": once invited two girl friends of DS's over to discover that they didn't really get on - there were a few uncomfortable moments (over-sensitive tears etc).

I feed them up and let them run around and jump on the (enclosed) trampoline. I enjoy a nice chat and coffee with the mum/s. Children normally go home in tears because they don't want to leave. DS loves having play dates and - being an only child - I think it is great for him.

ChipsandGuac Wed 28-Oct-15 00:58:10

Agree with EastShitDerek. At 5, it really is just getting to hang out with your mate after school. Just have one child over at a time and you'll be fine.

And, in half term, it's perfectly fine not to see anybody at all if that's what you want. But the odd playdate? It really is a good thing for your child to learn to socialise out of the school setting. They get to show off their favourite Lego set/car/whatever. It's a nice thing!

TheHouseOnTheLane Wed 28-Oct-15 01:25:27

YANBU. I kept them to a minimum when my DC were in the infants....and I mean once or twice a year!

As they grew and began to make real friendships...ie not the ones engineered by parents who liked one another....they began to arrange their own...they'd come up to me and ask "Can x come to play?" and they'd ask X's parents too.

These friendships are the best sort....the ones which grow organically and are not forced. Both my children (aged 11 and 7) have no problems making friends.

Senpai Wed 28-Oct-15 01:36:08

DD is still a toddler, I take her to the playground for social interactions with random kids when everyone is a friend by merit of playing on the same equipment.

Fratelli Wed 28-Oct-15 03:16:08

I hate the term play date. We never used it (I'm 25). As pps have said it was having a friend for tea. If your ds is too tired don't do it. But don't not do it because you think it's a hassle if he actually wants to.

KoalaDownUnder Wed 28-Oct-15 03:49:08

I detest the term 'play date', and I don't even have kids!

It's just 'going round to play'. Take the pressure off. If kids feel like playing with each other for a while, they do, and if they don't - they don't.

'Dates' are for adults.

TheDowagerCuntess Wed 28-Oct-15 04:11:36

You're an introvert, but what about him? If he is too, all good. Otherwise, at this age, they rely on parents to facilitate their social lives.

Some kids absolutely love having friends round to play, and while it's not always a barrell of laughs for the parent, it is nice to do it for the child if they enjoy it. And if other children are doing it, then your DC could (feasibly) be missing out.

Needanadulttotalkto Wed 28-Oct-15 04:14:28

I agree they're overrated when DC are still fairly young.... Except in summer holidays. Very useful then to break it up. As are holiday camps.

mathanxiety Wed 28-Oct-15 04:14:29

I don't think they have a useful function at age 4. YY to real friendships forming later.

If you're going to do it, limit it to two hours and do not have the parent over, or the children will run amok and you will feel uncomfortable trying to rein them in with another parent present. Do not put on any special entertainment or present any special food. And one child at a time.

I may well be an introvert but what I mostly am is someone who has no time for bratty children of other people. Don't be afraid to boss your guest around is my last piece of advice. If possible, rope them in to help set the table or some other useful task. They will love you for it.

attheendoftheday Wed 28-Oct-15 08:40:05

I'm an introvert, but I force myself to have people over, I can see that my dds aren't introverts! It's been great for building a network with other parents which can be very helpful.

TheMissingSock Wed 28-Oct-15 08:52:39

I always called it 'friend for tea'. With 3 dc already I can't say I've always relished the idea of more, but I accept its part of having kids.

Sleepovers though..blimey I've never enjoyed them. We've done them although mine are all teens now and aren't so bothered these days thankfully. Well two aren't, but one still wants them. I really don't like sleepovers. I feel invaded. There I said it! <collects award for most curmudgeonly mother>.

auntyclot Wed 28-Oct-15 08:55:51

I hate play dates but I do have them. I don't have them in the holidays, that is our family time. But during term time I do invite friends home for tea regularly because I think it helps the children with building friendships, they play differently one to one than in a class and it helps cement those links. They also really, really look forward to going to each others' houses and it helps me get to know the other mums. It's not for you, it's for your child and sometimes you have to push yourself a bit outside your own comfort zone.

Savagebeauty Wed 28-Oct-15 08:58:58

It's now you approach it. I did it as coming round for tea or coming round to play.
In the holidays or pre school, it was a reciprocal "I'll have yours for a morning, you have mine next week" which gave each Mum a break.
I was very strict too...no rampaging or bad behaviour tolerated. I enjoyed them....I didn't "do" things with them or entertained. That's what their friends were for.

tryhard Wed 28-Oct-15 22:02:54

How can you tell if your child is an extrovert or introvert at 4? And I mean in the true sense of each word, as in he would replenish his energy by being with people or by being alone? Obviously if he was asking for a friend to teac every week I'd do it without hesitation, but at the moment I'm not sure if it genuinely benefits the child or if our current culture simply suggests to be alone with your family is to be antisocial, it feels like the Facebook generation of parents need to be seen to be having friends, even when it comes to their kids?!

Vernonon Wed 28-Oct-15 22:10:21

In reception we only had friends round that dd knew from nursery. Had other play kids from y1 onwards because our school seems really sociable and I didn't want dd to be left out. I just keep them short and feed the kids early.

Macey78 Wed 28-Oct-15 22:20:49

I posted earlier in the week about play dates/ friend round for tea. I got some good tips on how to manage little ones. I still will not enjoy them but for some reason our DD likes to have others round I honestly wish she didn't! I can only facilitate them as I'm on maternity leave so know these will not be happening once I'm back at work so just putting up with them.

TRexingInSportsDirect Wed 28-Oct-15 22:22:56

You're not wrong OP, I could do without playdates for all the reasons you list! I'm an introvert too, and I work full time, and I don't want to look after someone else's kid or clean the house loads for the benefit of the dropping off/picking up parent. That shit is exhausting! We didn't do many playdates at all in reception, but dd said recently (yr1) that she didn't like school because sometimes she doesn't have anyone to play with. That really broke my heart. I want her to have friends and I feel guilty I'm not more involved with the other school mums so I'm not in a good position to help her. So since then I've been making a real effort and we've had a few friends over for playdates on the only day a week I can do it (due to work). I've found it awful but managed to smile though it! Dd has loved it and it's made it all worthwhile.

SelfRaisingFlour Wed 28-Oct-15 22:35:38

I like them. The kids are happy and playing with a friend. I don't invite badly behaved children so that's not an issue.

Children are with their friends at school, but can only play freely at playtime or after school. Why wouldn't you want to facilitate their friendships? You don't have to actively entertain them or get involved in their games.

tryhard Thu 29-Oct-15 07:26:03

Macey78 thank you I've just had a read through that thread, I agree with another poster from that thread, I figure he'll be starting cubs in Y1 & maybe another club like football, so he'll be mixing with kids there (some not from his school which I feel is important as it widens his circle) & to me with school on top of that, that's a lot of socialising at this age. I get the point that they only get to mix unsupervised in the playground, and ofcourse you want to facilitate friendships & once a month does sound manageable, but when I was little I remember those really solid friendships where I went over for tea & sleepovers happening around 7-8, 4 & 5 seems really young...if they're physically knackered after school do they really need the extra stimulation of a mate over for tea? Reading some of the stories on Macey78's thread, perhaps some of the really bad behaviour happens cos the kids are just too little to cope with playdates after school? A lot of people on that thread said it gets easier (& better for the kids cos you're not acting as referee, no tears at hometime etc) when they get older so why this sense that they must be socialising outside of school at 4 or they'll be missing out on forming friendships?

Narp Thu 29-Oct-15 07:28:00

I found it over-rated too, at this age. A short run around at the park after school often worked out better.

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