To be getting frustrated about play dates not being reciprocated?(220 Posts)
DS (7) has a friend he adores. They live just around the corner. We are on friendly terms with the family.
I invite the friend for play dates fairly regularly, as DS and his friend love spending time together. They are usually only organised on the day, though, not planned in advance.
DS really loves going to their house, because it's not his so it's interesting! But, he very very rarely gets invited. When he's been there, there haven't been any issues that I'm aware of, he's been well behaved, and hasn't broken anything. Sometimes I'll ask the parents to have him if I can't get to school on time, and if they're free they say yes.
But, they just hardly ever offer off they're own back. I want my kids to feel this house is always open for friends, as mine wasn't when I was a child and I hated it. I've got older kids for who play dates are shared out pretty evenly amongst the families so no problems there.
AIBU unreasonable to be a bit put out?
I know it's a personal decision, they have a very lovely house (mines rather "lived in ) and kids running round may not be your thing.
But, I'm interested to know that if you're not big on play dates, excepting ill health, lack of time and issues with your home, why do you feel that way? I'm just curious and it might make me more understanding and less frustrated!
Some people just don't like having people over. I'm not great at having kids over because I don't know what they like, if they're happy, what to feed them. I find it stressful but I do it because my kids like it. But I'd rather not.
Don't invite him? We can't host because our house doesn't meet usual social norms, but this means my DC don't accept invitations either.
I have an older child with SEN, I don't want any younger children subject to his behaviour if he has a meltdown in their presence.
I’m not fond of children. I would and have returned at play date to be polite but I just would rather not. I much prefer meeting at the park or farm centre or somewhere where the children have something to do so that I don’t end up entertainingsomeone else’s child. It’s usually fine when it’s just mine because they don’t expect anything unreasonable but other people’s children tend to be needy or loud or whiny. It’s not something I would willingly deal with.
No sorry you are out of order, You invite the child because you want to have a welcome open house and pleasure for your child. You do not give in order to receive. The parent did not ask you to do this. If you want to invite them then do and enjoy it. Sometimes I feel like not accepting an invitation because I know there will be an expectation for a return match. I had ten years of this in the 70s with bloody dinner parties.
Do not mention to your child either
@Noahsarks don't you worry this will mean that your children end up left out? Only asking as I feel like this will be the case with ours- we're not exactly normal.
My DD has been asked for a few play dates, which she loves. But unfortunately I’m that family who don’t ask them back (as much as I’d like) due to very hectic and stressful job with long hours. I’ve often wondered whether my DDs friends parents wonder about this.
I have 4 DCs, one of whom is currently being assessed for ASD. We can often return playdates, but not always - especially if the child is quite high energy or if they are popular with multiple dcs and they squabble over who gets to play together. Or sometimes my most challenging child is having a tricky week and I don't want him to have a meltdown with another person's child in my care.
If they have a lovely house and if you have previously asked them for favours, maybe they feel like they've done their duty? Do they ever ask you to look after their DC in the morning, or is it a bit one sided?
I know it can be frustrating, but if other friends had more give and take, I'd let it go and accept their friendship as far as it goes, and if it still bothers you, find other families with an approach more like your own.
I don't invite other children over because i just don't like it. I don't feel like i can tell other children off so i just avoid it.
Luckily my children haven't asked, they are 5 and 7. I have a 10m old and we either get the bus or walk 30mins so i would struggle with bringing 4 kids home if i didn't have their parent with me too as we have to cross a busy road.
We've had a playdate a couple of times but the mum has been here. One person was fine as her son has the same temperament as my children and he was SO well behaved and polite.
Whereas another one was badly behaved and his mum didn't do anything. My children actually told me they didn't want him over again!
@Treaclesweet yes they are left out and don't have any friends at school. But arguably if I was hosting kids it would be worse because their parents would be seeing the inside of my house.
It's like not giving to receive , don't invite expecting the reciprocation.
My DD gets invited on play dates fairly often, I reciprocate when I can but tbh we have one afternoon a week when I collect her from school rather than clubs/childcare, and that afternoon is rather precious and I prefer to see out of school friends or we just chill out.
I'm quite up front with parents, weekends are better for play dates at mine!
WineIs buys a really obvious reason there for you not doing them, very easy for me to see and understand. Along with the poster with the child with SEN. I think here it's possibly more of just not wanting more kids in the house.
I won't stop inviting the child over because they both get lots of enjoyment out of it, why would I stop? I do see the point about not giving to receive so not expecting a reciprocal invite. But it won't stop me feeling a bit confused and miffed!
I don’t like having people in my home, some people are like that. I just find it awkward tbh and always feel a little on edge so if I can avoid it, I will.
Maybe they are just very busy or don't plan ahead much.
I'm intrigued to the posters who can't have people round as their homes don't meet social norms. What is happening in these houses??
@Treaclesweet and @NoahsArks how abnormal are your homes? So long as they're not actively dangerous (building sites? Chainsaw hobbyists?) or beyond filthy (in which case they should be cleaned for the sake of your own DCs) then I'd strongly encourage you to accept invitations for your own DCs and reciprocate if possible. It's remarkable how unjudgmental most children are, at least before puberty. We have a very foreign style house and most visiting kids think it's interesting. My DC's have been on playdates to houses where there are families of 4 in small 2 bed flats, another very grand house where my son excitedly revealed that [child's] mummy makes her daddy sleep on the sofa every night, one with spiders as pets, and all kinds of family set ups. The only one I've ever been not thrilled about with was when 5 year old, asthmatic DS1 came home reeking of the parents' cigarette smoke. Otherwise I'm just so grateful for you looking after my child, and your child for being a nice friend that we're all very unfussed!
You are the one out of order! The other parents are happy to accept invitations, the children are happy to play together. It's not unreasonable at all to return the favour.
It makes perfect sense that it's not always one child who has to share his toys and his parents to host.
If you don't want to reciprocate diner parties, don't accept them, or invite the others once in a restaurant and you're done.
My home is always very messy and disorganised, lots of stuff that needs to be replaced. DH and I are just awful at getting stuff done. I figure I'll just be known as the one with "that" kind of house and need to be at peace with it.
My parents would not let another child over our threshold when I was growing up and it was horrid. Luckily people where kind and i spent a lot of time at other people's houses, but I always felt bad and the odd one out. Hence me being very open for play dates now.
I am very curious, what is a house that doesn't meet usual social norms?
And more importantly, is it a house where you are happy to live (then fine, as long as it's safe and suitable for your children) or are you embarrassed?
@NoahsArk if someone was kind enough to invite my child over for a play date the last thing on my mind would be judging the inside of their home.
I am not a neat freak (but luckily DH is!) but having had a bout of such severe ill health that I could barely pour myself a glass of water let alone clean a home I don’t judge. You never know what another is enduring.
Some people just don't like hosting playdates. Other people's children are hard work, even the good well behaved ones.
Some children don't particularly like playdates at their own house. My don't really. They want to go to other people's houses (because they have iPads and Xboxes and whatnot!).
We do host occasionally, if my DC ask for it and sometimes out of a sense of 'oh we better reciprocate', but rarely.
If my DC had a friend who invited them over regularly I wouldn't reciprocate more than very occasionally. I don't want to and my DC aren't fussed!
But you can of course feel as miffed and confused as you like. They're your emotions, do what you want with them!
No furniture??? At all? Why?!
No worktops? Where do your kids sleep? No toys?
It's absolutely none of my business but that is so intriguing
NoahsArk ok so that's quite unusual! Can I ask why? You don't have to answer
I don't have furniture!
I can't see that being an issue for any 10 year old, at most they would be interested by a different lifestyle. Wouldn't be an issue for me either, I might not let them go for a sleepover, it depends, but otherwise that's not a problem.
I have always hated hosting playdates. I'm always on edge whenever I have other people's children in the house. Kids we've had over always seem to lack boundaries and I find it very hard to bite my tongue. I also hate the changed behaviour in my own children - their personalities completely change. Of course I will do it from time to time begrudgingly but if I can avoid it, I will. Working full-time is a bonus here!
I still think you can have kids over though! They'll do exactly what yours do.
Hide and seek won't be much fun though
I didn't say they didn't have toys. We have a fitted kitchen - is that what you mean by worktops?
I think it is odd to be miffed over it. It sounds like you’re putting your own issues from your past on them.
Tbh, I wouldn’t think to ask a parent if their child could come over. I don’t know what their schedules are and such. If the children had a convo beforehand and asked permission and such yes, but out of the blue no. I wasn’t raised to invite myself into other people’s home. You had to be invited.
There are a lot like this OP, in fact more like this than those who reciprocate.
A lot of parents work and either can't be arsed, or don't have the time. Some are crap at looking after kids, and some just don't want to.
I think if you are never going to reciprocate or at least take them to a park to play, you shouldn't accept invitations from others.
Ours used to be open house from about 3.15 until around 8pm at some times. I feel sorry for kids whose parents can't be bothered, and even sadder for those whose parents don't because hey live in a show house.
"Sometimes I will ask the parents to have him if I can't get to school on time"...? Why would you do this op? Could that not be a tad annoying for them? Perhaps that's put them off getting overly invested in having him over?
Phoenix my kids would have friends over daily given the choice, it's them that ask if they can invite x y and z, no one invites themselves over?
I hate hosting playdates. I have 4dc already, add another 1 or 2 in and it just feels mad. Saying that, I do host and make a point of inviting their friends over. Once a month or so I will pick them up from school together. They don't have friends where we live as it's an older street and I think it's important for them to play outside of school. I think it's just manners to return the invite.
@TabbyMumz to put into context I've asked maybe three times in two years, and they have asked the same favour of me probably equal amount of times. I said that to put into context that they have had nice play dates there as well as here. Yours is the second post that seems to imply some CF behaviour from me, for asking what I think is a reasonable and pretty normal favour? What do people do if they can't get to school at pick up for whatever reason?!
It doesn't really matter if you dislike playdates, you have them for your kids, not for you!
It's rude to accept invitations and never return the favour, even if they are a pain in the backside. Working full time is not a valid excuse, sorry, we all manage. You can invite the kids on weekends, at half term, offer to take the friend with you if you go out at some point.
If your child hates them, of course don't force them though!
My social anxiety makes me feel weird about having kids over (and their parents collecting them). Nothing personal about the kids/families but I like to keep the rest of the world (including my own friends) on the other side of my front door as much as possible.
Does that help at all?
I didn't mean to imply c.f. behaviour, just asked why as it's not something I've ever had to do. I had a child minder where I dropped off at on my way to work, and she took them to school. I only had children over for tea a couple of times as I work full time and would have had to take holiday to do it. The kids did plenty of activities out if school though so they had plenty of friends there . I don't think playdates are the be all and end all.
I don't offer because our cat brought fleas in. Not telling all and sundry that though...
My DD gets invited on play dates often but working Full Time means i cant reciprocate as often.
I also very much dislike having other children in my home and it makes me feel uncomfortable BUT growing up i would never have anyone over (nor was i allowed at other peoples houses) and i want my DD to feel like its her home to and she can have friends so i disguise it very well.
Im also a great believer in kids making their own fun and also playing on their own from time to time. I once knew a mum who pretty much managed her childs diary and made sure she always had friends over etc...poor kid didnt know how to handle being on her own or entertaining herself.
DS1 has a friend who is an only child. His mum frequently asks for DS1 to go over to their house because the boys play well together and it keeps her DS out of her hair and lets her get stuff done.
I don't often invite her DS back to ours (avoid it, tbh) - mostly because I don't like hosting but also because of DS2, who is 5 years younger. It's better now DS2 is older and can join in with their games without being a real PITA, but when he was smaller, it was really hard for him to have his brother and his brother's best friend pretty much ignoring him and telling him to go away (I didn't allow this to happen, but it still did sometimes before I heard it and told them it wasn't fair). It wasn't nice for this to happen to him in his own home, so I avoided having DS1's friend as much as possible.
Maybe something like that going on with them?
My cat got fleas we treated cat and house...? No more fleas
I don’t at the moment as we are far out of catchment area and 3 of my boys share a very tiny room and it’s all quite chaotic - technically homeless and waiting for a house. The place we are in is fine just very small and kids don’t have a decent area to play. It’s rubbish but hope it won’t be for long as they need friends to come
Room to play etc. I don’t always feel comfortable with loads of kids in my house as I already have 4 of my own but it’s not every night
DH and I both work from home. We don't do impromptu play dates, but try to plan them in advance - when it's convenient.
There are a lot of reasons for not reciprocating play-dates.
Some people have reasons. Some people are just life’s takers. I think it models good social behaviour that you host and are hosted. Awkward for your child if it’s always one way from 8ish onwards they notice
If you just do what you are comfortable with and don't expect or judge others for not being the same as you then there's no problem.
There can be many different reasons people don't want to invite a child or children round for playdates.
I have four kids, all quite close in age and DS1 has ASD, and he can be quite intense if something in our routine changes.
Luckily my kids all get along very well and play together so we don't need much interaction from the outside world.
The main reason we don't do play dates though is I can't stand the other school mums. They are so clicky, I never hang around long enough. I even drive to school so that I don't have to hang around and can just wave and smile from my car. The thought of having to talk to them or invite them into my home makes me a tad stressed!
We do have a wide circle of good friends outside of the kids school though and regularly host get togethers so no one is missing out.
That’s what’s I said.
If the kids have talked about it and had asked for permission and such I would check with parents and sort it from there. I wouldn’t just invite said child over to play with mine unless it was brought up or said parent needed help. Plus, I’m more likely to take said kids to the park vs my own house seeing how hyper kids are after school. I rather then expend that energy outside vs inside my home.
To add, I have always been clear with all three of my DC that play dates needed to be planned and that impromptu requests would earn them the look, (before I worked from home, I had a job that involved commuting and a lot of overnight travel).
Other people's children asking for play-dates is guaranteed to piss me off.
I may suggest to one of my DC that they invite a friend over if another one already has a friend coming over. Then they don't bother each other and it's easier for me. Otherwise they are arranged amongst themselves. I do say no if I know I don't have enough food to feed a group, or of the house is looking particularly awful at that time
Oh, I've had this...
Only with a few parents but still it can be annoying. One DM I know her flat is tiny and she can't cope with mess if there's a playdate unless she's warned well in advance and can tidy etc but she's still not comfy with it.
Another DM - no idea why but she never invites my DD back for playdates and I've been there when DD is there so I know it isn't her behaviour. However, her house is perfect, expensive and she comes across as a bit snobby and it's not just me she's snubbed re playdate reciprocation!
My DM years ago when I was a toddler used to invite other mums over for playdates - sort of an unofficial Mum and Toddler Group (back in the days when these groups were rare apart from Busy Bee club and Playgroup) - apparently the mums would go off and leave the DC with her for hours - playdates or unofficial childcare? and though some reciprocated, some didn't.
I wouldn't do as my DM did though, just nuts!
This is such a helpful thread for me to read! I've recently
Moved back to my home
Country and find that parents here hardly ever return okay date invitations. We are currently living at my parents house and things are in no way tidy or simple but I guess I'm
Quite easy going and very anxious to make friends for my DC's here so invite lots of kids over but they hardly ever reciprocate. I've been quite upset and annoyed about it, and attributed it to the culture in this country, as my London mummy friends would always reciprocate. But from
Reading this thread I understand that many people have various reasons for not wanting/having the option to have people over, and that perhaps the situation is London was the unusual one, likely because there's so many people there that you end up only socialising with the Ones truly similar to you and very sociable, whereas in a smaller town your kids play w children from
V different backgrounds and whose parents may have different situations and social norms
There's a theme in a lot of adult scenarios it seems where we are all a bit entitled without realising.we think someone else is being impolite when its actually us!
I'm not saying you are rude, but maybe that sense of entitlement is in play leaving you feeling annoyed. (i have done this too! ) I would just work on being able to do something nice for your child and potentially theirs, without expecting anything at all in return. And without feeling miffed about it.
They don't owe you anything, it is your choice to do this, just enjoy it. I know no end of women who go nuclear if they give someone a present and they don't get one back. Its insane and really is something a lot dont even realise they are doing.
There are so so many reasons why people might not want to reciprocate
1. Jobs, busy lives, activities, hobbies
2. Might be introverted, shy or private people, enjoy their downtime as a family, evenings are to recouperate after a busy day
3.They are aware it can start up a potentially never ending back and forth of 'polite' 'returning the favour' some people then start expecting it in an entitled way, start pushing for more favours etc etc. They might have had a bad experience before.
4. Looking after ill family, are ill themselves or any number of things a neighbour wouldnt know about.
5.they don't like people in their home.
6.they dont like all other children. I know loads of people who love and like their own children but don't enjoy others
7.house isn't child friendly for other children, pets - scared cats, excitable dogs etc
8. They just dont want to.
None of which make them rude.
Al1cedowntherabbithole - I'm exactly the same with my DD and with her friends re planning for playdates, as I can potentially WFH 2 days a week so can arrange a playdate round that, but other times I'm running back from work, she's at childminder's or her DF (my DH) helps out as he WFH one day a week too.
Impromptu playdates I've told her - I simply can't do - unless it's with childminder dropping her off or with childminder's DC or other charges etc.
Londonmamabychance - I live in SE London though and not all mums here reciprocate by any stretch... some do, some don't.
It's basic good manners to return an invite, but I never invite expecting it to be reciprocal, so I don't feel miffed if my child doesn't get a return invite. I do agree though, that you should stop accepting invites if you never have the intention of ever returning them!
Londonmamabychance - I live on outskirts of SE London though - we have lots of different people to us and some are sociable and some not so sociable.
It does depend when people are around though - one DM friend of mine doesn't work Mondays to Wednesdays so she's around for playdates, the other days she works (apart from Sunday) so in theory she could do playdates but she's often returning from work. Neighbour DM next door is a SAHM so potentially has lots of time for her DCs (3) playdates. other neighbour DM - sometimes WFH but relies on childcare afterschool so has to slot in with that or her WFH days.
Starray - I've had toomanykidsnotenough
I had this too with my eldest child. Everyone seemed to come here for playdate but she never got invited back. It was werid. One mum used to drop off the invited girl AND her little sister and shoot off, saying, "you don't mind do you?! " This was so annoying as I actually had to watch them play because of the little one's age! This mum used to pick up an hour late too! Another mum used to keep suggesting a trip miles somewhere, instead of having mine back at her place. It turned out that mum has OCD with cleaning so didnt want extra children in her house. In the end I stopped inviting her friends over because its hard work and it wasn't being reciprocated. My children see their friends in school and play with each other nicely at home.
Maybe these people feel they do enough by babysitting your child when you can't get to school on time op. At least you get to chose when/if you have their son over.,unlike them. I'd be grateful for the free childcare if I were you.
There are so many reasons as have already been mentioned.
For me I can get quite self conscious of the state of the house as can be really messy. So I wouldn't invite a DS friend on spur of the moment if I the house was a state as I'd be embarrassed in case the child would report back that it smelt funny, we didn't do washing up, big granny pants were on the lounge radiator, the sofa had cat fluff all over etc...
However, for some DS friends if I've been to their house and is of a similar tidiness/ messy standard then I wouldn't worry!
I also work from home and sometimes I'm just too busy and while I'll let my own DS sit in front of TV after school while I work, I wouldn't attempt to concentrate on work while responsible for another child.
Also, some of DS friends who he'd really like to have over to play never can because they have after school clubs almost every day. The only way it works is to organise a weekend/ holiday play date way in advance and plan around it... So obviously that doesn't end up happening often!
Some people just don't like other people's kids in their house. I don't like taking responsibility for other people's kids, and I can't relax when they're in the house! Perhaps their house isn't very child safe or they have a dog who is funny with other people?
Do the parents work full time?
Maybe they want their evenings and weekends to be family only, or want to lounge around in their pjs. I enjoyed play dates more when I was part time as I had more time to clean up, chat to them at pick up etc.
Kids playing together are usually noisy and excitable, what are your son and friend like at your house? If his parents are trying to work from home or study or have a baby that might be why.
Does the friend value the friendship as much as your son? That could be another reason he's not inviting him back.
I think it's unreasonable to expect regular play dates or an open door policy, it's such a personal thing. Some families are just more private than others. The important thing is the boys enjoying playing, and you're happy to facilitate this at your house. Nobody should feel under obligation.
I bloody hate play dates! I have 4DC, single mother who works full time. If someone invites my Dc to theirs that’s THEIR choice, I don’t want to look after and entertain someone else kid, I’m friggin kanckered!
I don’t mind if the odd play date isn’t reciprocated, but I have a friend who i met through a baby group and has a same age dc as my eldest who is now is juniors and she hasn’t reciprocated in about 4 years now. She says her dc like to get out and about - er right, because mine love sitting at home whilst other children play with their toys .
This used to happen to us a lot and I became quite paranoid about it for a while. Couldn’t understand it because my kids were lovely (of course they were ). I’d worry we’d done something to offend them, but the next time we invited their child over, they would say yes please and later tell me what a lovely time they’d had, but again rarely a return invite.
I finally concluded that there wasn’t anything wrong, their lives were probably far busier than mine and I stopped wasting time worrying about it. If they continue to accept your invitations it’s unlikely to be a deliberate snub.
Does your DC have other friends he has playdate with? Does the other boy?
DD used to have a friend that invited her round lots (friend struggled with friendship issues and her mum knew that DD was one person she consistently go on with). We invited her back, of course, but she was one of many friends that we cycled through so it was no where like as frequently.
I'm stressed about this already and my son is only three. I'm a single parent in a tiny one bedroom flat and my son sleeps in my bed. There's nowhere for another child to come over and play. I don't drive either so would find taking another child on the bus very hard. Does this mean my son shouldn't go to another persons house?
There are some legitimate reasons; homelessness, disability/ special needs etc. Just not liking it, finding it ‘awkward’, having siblings and working are not really valid excuses not to reciprocate. We had a non reciprocated relationship b/w my daughter and a friend. It included the friend coming to ours for sleepovers/ meals/ play dates which were almost completely unreciprocated. In the end I choose to really cut down on play dates with this friend.
As a child our house was open to having friends around and it was nice not to have to worry about it. I remember lots of friends never really having friends over and always being at our house! You're doing what you can to bring your child up in a nice atmosphere. You can't force them to do the same. It would be a shame to close off your home to friends because it isn't reciprocal.
Our home has always been a revolving door everyone welcome. However, I appreciate it is not something everyone enjoys. I have never worried about parents who do not reciprocate, kept, pasta, baked beans, fish fingers, mini pizzas etc. in for unexpected little and then not so little guests as the years rolled on. I only banned one teenager not because he went mental pulled down curtains and got aggressive but because he refused to apologise after a party they had.
If it makes your children happy then that is all that matters imo.
YADNBU OP, and chances are that those who say you are, are the very ones who don't reciprocate either.
No bullshit excuses. It's rude to accept invitations, but never pay back.
As I have explained below, there have been maybe three occasions in three years where I've asked if they can look after my son for a short while after school as will not be able to get there on time. They have asked me the same favour the same amount of times. They were allowed do say no, they didn't. How is that free babysitting or rudely inviting my child over to their house?! Seriously, what do others do if they find themselves in this situation? Things happen, people help each other out. Isn't that normal?!
Apart from the comments about me being rude about asking the odd favour (which is also asked by them), this thread has been interesting and has given me food for though. For those that have asked, the friends DM is a SAHM, they have a 15yo who has no special needs and is a very lovely girl.
My dd is an only and so I have always encouraged her to invite people round for that reason. Our house is very small and a bit messy.
It isn't always reciprocated but I always think "Fuck 'em, if my dd wants people over to hang out or whatever, I'll go with that". One of her friends' mums is on her own without a car and not much spare cash at all. I try and tell the mum that I don't really care and it's all about them hanging out , building friendships and doing stuff together that counts.
Some very odd responses on here. If people can't get over having someone else's child in their house for a couple of hours, then how do they navigate life in general?
It's rude to always expect to take on the burden.
Other parents might be just as socially awkward, hate their house being messed up, have a busy life with full time job and others.
No one likes other people's children, do they?
They still make an effort for their kids. There are some valid reasons, but otherwise it's just lazy to expect other people to deal with the mess so you keep your clean and quiet house whilst your child is messing up someone's else house
If you don't like playdates, the least you can do is not always accept invitations, don't have them at all. But now because YOUR child would be penalised, you think it's unfair - you have no problem of making it unfair for another kid.
@RedSkyLastNight he does have other friends he has play dates with, yes. Not sure how often the friend invites other children over. I don't think I need to worry about DS's friendships, he seems happy with his little group at school. He and this other boy are official "best friends", though (I've been informed by both them and the other DM, as well as being able to see the bromance blossom!)
I am not keen on it to be honest. I feel in edge, we havent much space for one thing. But i prefer to offer to take them to the park.
My children have had some friends like that, where their friends have always come to our house, but rarely or never invited back. They have had other friends whose parents have scrupulously reciprocated every playdate, and others, especially as they got older, where they were always in and out of each others' houses. My preference has always been for more informal arrangements, rather than formal playdates scheduled in advance.
I was never particularly bothered if they were at ours more often than theirs. If I was home I was always happy to have other children round, especially if they were polite and played well with my children.
But at some stage each of my dc have been upset about some friend who never (or rarely) invited them round to theirs, and that has always been difficult, even when I have a fair idea why they haven't been invited back (e.g. parents juggling long hours at work).
Is your ds upset about not being invited back to his friend's? If he is, see what you can do to initiate some return playdates (not always easy, but in your case the other parents seem open to requests). If he is not bothered, it may just be a matter of his friend preferring your house with the relaxed atmosphere and other children around, and unless you mind, don't worry about it.
I think it IS rude if it is a case of not liking other children, not wanting to be bothered, not wanting a mess etc.
Why would this kind of person accept an invite for their dc to go to a play date? Because it is nice, sociable, socialising skills opportunity, an opportunity to make their own dc happy. Possibly also to get some downtime from parenting.
So to accept, knowing all of these benefits, it is really selfish not to do the same in their own home. Basically, their dc are getting the social benefits you don't want to give them, because of someone else's effort.
Having said that, I am always up for my dc bringing friends home as it keeps them out of my hair and means I don't have to entertain them myself.
YADNBU OP, and chances are that those who say you are, are the very ones who don't reciprocate either.No bullshit excuses. It's rude to accept invitations, but never pay back
You have no idea whether those saying BU are people who don't reciprocate. Maybe many of them are less Judgemental and don't invite people expecting it's paid back.
If you think about it, an invite is not kind if it comes with conditions of reciprocation and another consideration is the child. There are many reasons that child's parent doesn't do the same as you.
I rarely have children come here for a play date unless they come with their parents for a coffee in the holidays because I have three children so no room in the car. I try to avoid weekend things, including parties if I can, because that's the only time we get as a whole family.
Of course it doesn’t. Reasonable people will understand completely: it’s the friendship that matters, not where it plays out. If you feel awkward that it seems one-sided, maybe explain your situation and contribute towards meals, take some nice snacks for the children or a small token gift for their host.
All sounds very regimented.
Don’t they just knock for each other and go out and play?
7 seems much too old for play dates, I thought play dates were more for an age where children can’t organize things for themselves 2 to 5ish
Margot33...*One mum used to drop off the invited girl AND her little sister and shoot off, saying, "you don't mind do you?!* Yes, I had that too, with a particularly thick-skinned parent. I would invite the daughter and BOTH daughter and not potty-trained son would also come along. Had to make clear after a couple of times that I would only be taking one!
@Fairyflaps he's always desperate to go and play there. Someone else's house is always more interesting! No idea how to engineer a play date there though without seeming rude
It annoys me when people expect it back. I also prefer it to be occasional and like seeing my kids after school! Some mums were mithering to have my kids 3 x a week!
I find it chaos when other kids come and stressful. Some mums ask kids as they find it easier. Also costs in buying foods they like. When you have a large family the dynamics can be awkward too.
We live in NL where playdates are always happening. Nowadays (DD is 8), they will check in for a drink and a snack, but they are outdoors on their bikes/rollerskates/football/games on school playground etc. It's only dropping of the playdate back home where I get involved. At weekends there are 11 of them all playing outside - kids go home to fetch a snack and they all share them between them. Sometimes I might pop out with a big bowl of popcorn for them all. It's quite relaxed TBH, much more now they're all a bit older and I'm not that worried about them wrecking our house. Our door is always ajar when they're out, so are the other parent's front doors.
Wow, I’m seriously impressed with children who can organise things for themselves when they’re 5 😳
@YogaWannabe nope, kids around here wouldn't do that until they are year 5ish (big city, fairly busy).
Some parents feign that they are 'so upset for their children' that they have been 'forced' to cut down on play dates if its never or hardly ever reciprocated. But why? Why are you owed something?
Its nothing to do with their children, it doesnt affect them-it makes them happy if anythinf, but is its the adults themselves they are sad for, not their kids. Because their TRUE motivation isn't for their child to have a nice time, play with friends in a safe environment etc, but to get a 'YOU now owe me 3 hours child free because i want to get rid of my kid because i gave you this' privelege' last week' situation that didn't work out in their favour.
Its purely selfish and not 'for the kids' - thats where i call bullshit in many cases. Yes its nice to have a break but either pay for it or don't have children if you are eternally wanting to get rid of them and get annoyed when you can't!
I still don't accept it, Limensoda. Really, those parents should just step up. It's a playdate, not a bloody dinner party.
If it's just called "asking Tommy if he wants to come round this afternoon" it saves all this angst.
When I was a child, one of my friends wasn't allowed to play inside the house (never found out why) so we'd just play at mine, or the other girl's.
These days it's a bloody military operation, complete with perceived offence around every corner.
There is a reward when you have a more open home. When they grow up go to uni. and are spread to the four winds, your DC`s get to keep in touch and they sit at your table once again and stay close to your family. Fast forward a few years or more, you get to meet their partners, their babies, because they drop in when visiting their own families.
I smile when they visit my DC`s now married for the weekend, go out and about and tell their partners what a great childhood they had.
It does pay forward.
@OfficeSlave not in my case. I have friends with kids that would happily take mine for a few hours if I wanted / needed child free time. And I reciprocate. If DS is at this friend's house, there's a big chance I still won't be childfree!
Some people might not like having kids or guests come over. It could be the mess or some other issue. For example, I suffer from a phobia and am not keen on children coming to the house always because of germs - specifically any kind of tummy bug. I know its irrational etc...but if I did not have this phobia, I would be inviting kids over all the time. In fact, I did used to do this, until one mom came with her two kids and announced the baby had a tummy bug - after they were already in the house playing. I was SO annoyed. Luckily my kids never caught that bug...but the poor girl had watery poo that went down her legs, through her pants etc during the play date. After that, I got turned off from inviting other kids, as parents are not always considerate when it comes to their children having bugs and spreading them! I would never send a child for a play date if they are sick or recently sick with a tummy bug, as I would not want others to catch it. Anyway, I still do play dates...but more like once a month and usually prefer to meet in parks in the mean time. But I do invite for play dates on occasion, because my kids love them and like you say, its important to reciprocate.
OfficeSlave I've always thought that as well, that it's basically a swap of babysitting. And as I have twins, it is utterly shite for me. usually only one of the kids gets invited, which is fair enough they don't come as a pair, but then a) the one who doesn't get invited is miffed and b) they have lost their playmate for the afternoon so I have to get right into playing with them instead of admiring the odd show every hour or so and getting on with my laundry. And then I have to host the kid back, and then whichever of them isn't that fussed about playing with her (sometimes the one that invited the kid!) will come and bother me, make me play games instead of folding towels etc. Luckily my kids are 6 and the kids round here are generally pretty
feral free range so we'll probably be out of the play date stage soon.
@Noahsarks I'm so intrigued by this! Why don't you have furniture?
Sometimes I have been able to engineer it by asking if they can have my dc for me as a favour, but though you will get an occasional return visit that way, it doesn't change things long term.
I'm glad that my dc are older now (early teens), and negotiate all this crap for themselves.
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