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Aibu to expect a play date in return for a play date?

(272 Posts)
Sarah0574 Sat 26-Nov-16 08:09:00

I have had loads of my DS's friends back to mine for play dates but I hardly ever get invitations back? why? I understand that some mums work late, use childcare, but surely they could spare a couple of hours at the weekend to reciprocate the arrangement? I feel it's common courtesy really. I'm just sick of it being so one sided. My son would love to be invited to his friends' houses. There is just one friend's family here that seems to appreciate that it should be a reciprocal arrangement.

NapQueen Sat 26-Nov-16 08:11:25


Whether or not dd is invited to a play date I would be very unwilling to host many in return.

Weekends aren't really play date days are they? They are for family time and clubs and catching up on the housework or slobbing round in pj's for half a day.

After school dd goes to the cm most days (I work shifts).

I'm always happy to meet up somewhere if parents are taking their dc to the park or soft play etc if I'm free, but hosting in my home involves too much hassle and logistics.

Pseudonym99 Sat 26-Nov-16 08:16:11

It's impossible for a lot of parents. The time just doesn't exist. And I'm sure the fact you think its reciprocal doesn't occur to many - have you told people you expect reciprocation?

Itsmytemporaryname Sat 26-Nov-16 08:17:22

I think it's rude to accept the invitation of you have no intention of reciprocating.
If you're aren't able to reciprocate you should at least have the decency to mention it and make some other effort.

I don't think weekends are some hallowed time. Why not allow play dates at weekend? It's s nice activity for kids, it's their weekend too!

Mari50 Sat 26-Nov-16 08:19:04

I hate play dates for entirely this reason, they are almost impossible to say no to once an invitation has been given (for fear of disappointing both younger parties) and there is the possible expectation of reciprocation. I'm a single mum and work full time, the last thing I want to do on my precious time off is host 'owed' play dates. I've done it out of politeness but every time DD is invited I inwardly groan. When I was young you just knocked on your friends door and asked if they were coming out to play. Play dates are a contrived pain in the ass. Sorry!

Trifleorbust Sat 26-Nov-16 08:20:31

Just the mums?

I don't think you can expect this as you don't know a lot about their circumstances.

NapQueen Sat 26-Nov-16 08:21:33

Agree with Mari it's a new phenomenon I just can't get on board with.

Yep weekends are my kids weekends too. They go to cinema, birthday parties, out to the beach or museums. They have a "tip all the Playmobil out on the floor and go mad" afternoon. All the stuff we can't fit in during the week.

I'm not trying to shoe horn in an hour or twos play with a kid they see every day 5 days a week.

Littledrummergirl Sat 26-Nov-16 08:22:46

Yabu. When my dc have their friends over it's so that they can spend time together and have fun.

If you give something-in this case time and space to facilitate friendship - it should be given freely and without expectation of anything in return.

Shenanagins Sat 26-Nov-16 08:23:19

Yabu a little although I can understand your frustration about the one-sidedness.

Both my and my dh work full-time with my dh often working away. Whilst play dates are lovely, the weekend is often the only time we get to spend any quality time with our children.

biscuitbadger Sat 26-Nov-16 08:27:29

We're in a similar situation OP. Most of my kids' friends go to after school club so parents aren't in a position to have mine over during the week. I think if the parents weren't working it would be reciprocated more.

I definitely don't expect weekend invites, I think that intrudes on family time.

I have to say, the kids find it hard that they don't get invited back much, and that they don't get to go to after school club with their friends...

Rockpebblestone Sat 26-Nov-16 08:29:02

Well I think you are not being unreasonable. I would say you shouldn't be too strict about turns though, people get busy. However children should be able to have their friends round on occasions, it is their home too!

RueDeDay Sat 26-Nov-16 08:29:04

YABU, and I say that as someone who hosts lots. When you extend an invite, it's just that - an invitation. I host when it suits me and DD, to enhance our lives, not out of obligation to do other kids/parents a favour.

I have one friend who invites me over to dinner loads... By your logic, I should stop going as I can't reciprocate hmm But she's inviting me because she wants me to come, I accept because I want to go, we both have a lovely time and everyone is happy. Same applies to playdate. Host what you want to host, be happy with your choices.

biscuitbadger Sat 26-Nov-16 08:29:55

It's not a new thing! The term 'play date' might be but 30 years ago I used to get invited for tea or a play after school, and my friends used to come over for tea too.

When we were older we'd knock and see if they were free, but I'm talking young primary school children here.

Notso Sat 26-Nov-16 08:34:47

YABU I found this really awkward with DD and DS1. They were getting invited loads by friends who were only children as fast as I'd invite them back they'd be invited again. For a few years I was either pregnant with high risk pregnancy or had a newborn or a baby and was pregnant again or had newborn and an under two. I found the whole thing exhausting and would dread them being invited to fiends houses because of the underlying expectation they would have to come back.
Now the younger two are at school I invite their friends to play because my children want to have a friend over not because I want a return invitation.

NavyandWhite Sat 26-Nov-16 08:34:48

I have learned that reciprocating play dates doesn't always follow for various reason. If DS wants some over and I'm not busy then I'll ask the parent. Don't expect an invitation back, most times there is one but occasionally I will have the same boy here for 3/4 times before DS is invited. That's fine.

Ladydepp Sat 26-Nov-16 08:36:28


What are parents meant to do if you invite their DC for a play date but they know they probably can't reciprocate? Are they meant to say no, possibly in front of their DC?

I invite children for play dates who my dc's want to play with. Normally this makes my life easier as my dc has someone to keep them occupied, I would never expect reciprocation. Some parents work, have younger dc's to look after, older dc's to chauffeur around or have lots of other reasons for not doing play dates.

KERALA1 Sat 26-Nov-16 08:38:42


Agree not a new concept - going to tea with pals a big deal in my early 80s childhood.

Dodgy logic there rue I would feel uncomfortable if friends were repeatedly hosting me and I never reciprocated.

itsmine Sat 26-Nov-16 08:46:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MamaLyon Sat 26-Nov-16 08:47:54


ukpor Sat 26-Nov-16 08:48:43

I think yabu. I work full time and use childcare but still make out two fridays each half term to have a play date at ours so it can be done. I don't expect people to reciprocate a) because it's up to the kids who they want to play with at home b) most parents don't see me at the gate to ask c) I can't honour 6 invites in a school year. With our two dates, there are 30 kids in his class two of whom are his best friends and others he plays with because their school encourages them all to play together- which I like. But for each play date 2 spaces are gone for his best friends and so I can only have one more so in a year I can only have 6 Kids. I don't expect 6 or 8 invites in return because there's no way we can honour them. We love having kids over some parents don't. It doesn't bother me as long as the kids have fun. I have plenty of space at home the kids can run freely however, I understand some people don't have that space.
You don't know peoples circumstances and expecting a play date just because you invited them is unreasonable.

WhooooAmI24601 Sat 26-Nov-16 08:50:24

YABU and YANBU. I don't keep track of who the DCs play with; if we're stuck I text friends to ask if they can have them for me, if friends are stuck they'll text and ask if we can have their DCs. It's not a balance sheet; the DCs play, the parents get an hour or two to do what they need to, nobody needs to 'owe' anyone.

However, the DCs have one friend who never invite them over and never return favours. On Bonfire Night she realised we were heading out and asked if her DC could come, only to not invite our DC to their Bonfire Night party (with friends) the following evening. I've stopped helping her out. You can't keep track of things, but if you're not willing to help others out at all there comes a time when they invites dry up.

AmberEars Sat 26-Nov-16 08:50:33

I agree with you that it is polite to reciprocate. However, some people don't reciprocate, and there's nothing you can do about it so you have to just accept it I'm afraid!

VintagePerfumista Sat 26-Nov-16 08:53:12

Totally U. Do you work full time OP?

But carry on, only invite the kids who invite you back.

It kind of weakens the friend pool though.

Also agree re the hideous "playdate" modern phenomenon. I refuse to even call it that, because it implies organisation on the scale of a UN meeting and I think that's where the whole MumZilla thing starts.

Seekingadvice123 Sat 26-Nov-16 08:53:47

The term play date really makes my teeth itch.... where the hell did it come from. Cant stand it.

Anyways..... agree with PP.
YAB a bit U given you are inviting kids over (your choice) but are miffed you dont get invites back. That is the choice of the other parents I guess.
Annoying for you on some levels but as has been pointed out, you dont know the circumstances of other parents.

Oriunda Sat 26-Nov-16 08:56:42

I'm a SAHM so have the luxury of being able to host play dates. My son is very social and always wants to see friends, so I usually plan 2 a week. One at my house and often the other we meet at playground and go for pizza. I don't expect reciprocation as a lot of the other parents work. I don't do play dates at weekends nor would I want my son to go to one.

I see the play dates as being for my son's benefit as he's the one who wants them, so stands to reason I need to host. Plus I get to sit on sofa with iPad whilst they get on playing = win for me.

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