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to think that 5 is too young for after-school playdates?

(81 Posts)
Pendulum Sat 07-Nov-09 10:55:49

I'm not talking about meeting up with ol, "known them since 6 months old" friends, but rather about "DD seems to be making a new friend at school, better have them over to play" occasions.

Left to my own devices it wouldn't have occurred to me to start these so early, but DD has been invited to other people's houses a number of times so naturally I have invited these children back.

On almost every occasion the child and DD have disagreed over what to play with and retreated to different parts of the house, leaving me to flit between them giving DD swift --kicks up the backside-- pep talks about how to behave with guests, and jollying along the friend (usually a virtual stranger) so she doesn't get too freaked out. I often get the feeling that DD would actually prefer to be on her own although she claims not to want the friend to leave at the end.

So -AIBU to think that they are a bit young for this type of socialising, especially after school when they are tired? I wonder how many of us are doing it so that our DCs don't get left out, rather than because they actually enjoy these occasions.

Pendulum Sat 07-Nov-09 10:58:19

Damn- why don't my strikeouts ever work??

CarGirl Sat 07-Nov-09 11:01:20

No, mine started school at just 4 and I allowed them to both go on & have over playdates with children they didn't really know before school. Don't see the big deal that's how they work out whether they do really enjoy playing together or not.

It's also nice to put a name to face IMO.

I haven't really encountered the sort of problems you're describing though. My dc go away and play with friends, the occasional upset (certainly not with every playdate) that I help them sort out, feed them and then they get collected.

fortyplus Sat 07-Nov-09 11:01:35

You need to be a little more proactive - invite the 'friend' but don't just leave them to their own devices. Do something with them - get some pizza bases and let them put their own toppings on for example. You are there to keep the peace, they are absorbed in an activity and the sharing of a fun experience will help forge some sort of relationship.

But I say all this as someone who was full time sahm and often had kids back after school as a favour to other mums - so mine had to get along with children that they hadn't even chosen to invite back!

Your dd will become more confident and sociable as a result of the after school experiences - it's worth your while investing your time in them.

DoingTheBestICan Sat 07-Nov-09 11:03:16

Pendulum - you need to put the -- at the -- beginning -- & the end of each word,without the space i have used (hope that makes sense)

CarGirl Sat 07-Nov-09 11:04:04

I was wondering is your dd an only or eldest? I've got 4 dds so they're very used to sharing and compromise and mum taking no nonsense with them if they're being unreasonable. Plus play date can always go and play with another sister.......

Only rule I really have is that everyone is allowed to join in if they want to.

IdrisTheDragon Sat 07-Nov-09 11:04:08

I think having too many playdates is probably a bad idea - maybe one every week or two?

I may have been lucky with the children DS and DD have had over to play but there aren't normally any major problems.

Bucharest Sat 07-Nov-09 11:05:38

I have done them with dd since she was 4 (and getting home at 4.30) but only once a month or so. (and then another month to put all the toys back in their boxes grin)

Morloth Sat 07-Nov-09 11:08:23

I hope not, DS has been doing these since starting Reception at 4pm.

I just leave them to sort it out, once a fortnight or so he either goes for a visit or someone comes here.

We are lucky though our school is only until 12pm on Fridays, so it allows for lunch/early afternoon playdates - so they are not overtired.

Pendulum Sat 07-Nov-09 11:12:01

Interesting fortyplus- I have tried to do craft activities, decorating fairy cakes etc with varying degrees of success. CarGirl, do you take this pro-active approach to your DCs' playdates as well?

Part of the prob I think is that I am not v confident with other people's children- I think this is because I WOH for most of the week so do not spend much time in a child-centred environment. I feel a bit like an impostor doing the Blue Peter act (although I am quite happy doing it with my own DCs).

I also have a very demanding 2 year old who will not allow me to focus on the older ones for any material length of time.

When they fall out and I have to perform the mediation role, and the toddler is screaming in my ear, I feel as if my head is going to explode.

I hope no-one on here knows who I am, otherwise DD has no hope of any future playdates. grin

ImaburningHEIFERgy Sat 07-Nov-09 11:15:30

I have experienced the same as you Pedulum and have to admit I do think it is because DD is an only.

Don't have the same problems at other peoples houses (at least not when I have been there too) grin

Good suggestion re being involved. I guess I have been thinking that having a friend over let me off the hook for a while, when maybe it would have been better to join in a little.

I really think it depends on the child involved, some slip into playdates more easily than others, also some invitees are easier than others.

What works for us, is let them play on their own for a while, if things start to get a little heated then intervene and suggest a short snack break/help make pizzas/ read a story/put some music on. Try doing something that involves the toddler too, mine hates being left out. grin

inchhighprivateeye Sat 07-Nov-09 11:36:36

It sounds like the issue is more about how your DD behaves with guests than anything else. Agree with other posters that 5 is generaly fine for after school play dates, but not every child enjoys them. My DS is v shy, so hates going to friends' houses if there is a loud older brother as he's quite scared of big kids.

Maybe it would work better if you ask your DD who she wants to come back to play, rather than doing in the reactive way you've been doing so far.

diddl Sat 07-Nov-09 11:52:12

When you have a child over, is your daughter requesting it?

But 5,absolutely not too young!

jellybeans Sat 07-Nov-09 12:03:17

I think it depends on the child, 5 was fine for my DDs but my DS were too young at that age. They are twins and very boistrous and I can't let them anywhere they may be allowed to roam the streets or with people far more relaxed than me (they have had a few bad accidents being rowdy) With people I know will watch them all the time I am OK.

ABetaDad Sat 07-Nov-09 12:10:15

I just do not think a 5 yr old has the social skills to think 'ooh lets have a playdate'.

Lets be honest, parents of your DDs friends are instigating the invites and you are reciprocating. The DCs involved in ths process are in effect having playdates imposed on them and DD does not like or want or request it.

Morloth Sat 07-Nov-09 12:22:41

ABetaDad the kids in my DS's class regularly ask each other for playdates, they usually hit us Mums up with the request as they come out of school together.

Plonker Sat 07-Nov-09 12:27:24

Not too young, no ...but God do I hate playdates!

princessmel Sat 07-Nov-09 12:29:08

I don't agree ABetaDad. My dd (4yrs) and ds (6yrs) often tell me who they want to have over to play. Recently dd informed me that she wanted to go to one of the little boys in her class's house for a play!! I barely know the mother and dd would remind me to arrange it everytime we saw her. I did and I went too and she had a lovely time.

Ds says 'Please can we have xyz round for tea' or 'can I go to xyz for tea' most weeks!!

As for doing things with them, I don't, I let them get on with it.

MrsGravy Sat 07-Nov-09 12:31:15

Well ABetaDad my almost 5 year old DD must be very advanced then grin. She asks every single day to bring a friend back with her. Obviously she doesn't use the word playdate though. I tend to invite people back every couple of weeks or so...I can't be bothered to do them anymore frequently than that. She doesn't do any extra curricular activities outside of school so I 'm happy for her to meet up with her friends outside of school from time to time.

To the OP though, I can well imagine that it's too much for some children of this age though, plenty are exhausted after a long day at school and having another child round playing with their things is just too much. If I were you I'd knock them on the head or at least cut back on them. Maybe meet up at the park instead or something? I don't think 'playdates' should be seen at mandatory at this age, if they're not fun for the kids what's the point in them?

ChunkyKitKat Sat 07-Nov-09 12:36:47

It's fine IMO to have playdates at 5, just depends on the child. Agree with Bucharest once a month is OK or one every couple of weeks.

Also staying for tea after school is a long time, my 7 ds's friends are collected after an hour and a half, long enough for them after school.

It helps them with their social skills, maybe just for 45 minutes for some, so don't agree with ABetaDad.

MollieO Sat 07-Nov-09 12:41:59

My ds has been arranging his own playdates since he was just turned 4. I am used to getting emails from other parents telling me what he's arranged! He has also been known to organise his own sleepovers. Seems entirely normal to me.

Pendulum Sat 07-Nov-09 12:44:42

Hmmm, I think it's a bit more complicated than that, a BetaDad. DD does ask to have these girls over, and sometimes they do muddle along quite happily. However, I do think she likes the idea of having x over after school more than the reality of having to accommodate an extra person's wishes when they get here.

I take people's point that maybe tea as well is just too long, and I think I agree. That's the way it seems to get done around here for some reason.

Plonker, please do elaborate on your loathing of playdates, I am feeling like a minority of one here!

Plonker Sat 07-Nov-09 12:49:20

Nothing to elaborate on really Pendulum - I'm just a miserable grumpy ole cow wink

ABetaDad Sat 07-Nov-09 12:56:08

Pendulum - I loathe them as well.

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