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Playdates-Must we?

(14 Posts)
Habanera Wed 24-Nov-10 11:50:54

Yesterday we had dd2's almost 8 yr old friend round for the second time. DD2 has been asking for any of three particular children to visit after school and I managed to find one free, (given over two weeks notice and a cancellation!).

DD2 was thrilled, ran all the way home, and DD1 aged 10 did her good sport routine, chatting and helping. I got a little easy cookery kit for them to do with me, we made the cakes and then had some hot food while icing set, followed by DVD of visitors choice. I knew this girl is not an eater and DD2 a few months ago came back ravenous from her house as was offered only one pea and 1/8th fish finger (she said methinks a slight exaggeration).

I made one of my usual playdate teas, hot dogs in buns, ketchup if wanted, baked beans or sweetcorn, followed by Mr Kiplings, water to drink. (I knew there was no point trying fruit). I'm not bothered about whether they eat, we all have a meal later when DH gets in anyway, but mine often are hungry after school so demand something.

I got: "I ALWAYS have this at your house." (oops I forgot I guess) "NO". to all veg (fine, expected), "yes" to ketchup, and it took about 45 minutes to eat 2/3rds of small hot dog in bun (fine but used up a lot of playdate) My greedies had long scoffed and gone back to decorate their cakes leaving guest alone-she was free to leave it but kept coming back to nibble (HAH you DO eat you little divil). She then complained the water was too warm-DD1 pointedly said, THANK YOU mum, you are really working hard! as I scuttled back and forth with suitably chilled water. She suspiciously eyed the Kipling (pink and yellow, lots of icing, my kids' eyes light up) and said "oh, alright." It took her another 40 minutes to eat that.

When mum came to collect, we had a brief chat ended by hysterics as DD2 had accidentally bumped visitor-HUGE drama, "I'm BLEEEDING!" (not) cue hysterical sobs.

The previous playdate she scraped knee and her mum had to come to the house to comfort her, but persuaded her to stay.

Afterwards DD2 said visitor wasn't really her friend at all and why hadn't I had one of the other two round instead. DD1 thinks DD2s friends are awful spoiled crybabies and says why do we have to have any of them round at all.

What is the point of doing this playdate stuff, do you think? I thought they would make friends, not decide they weren't worth having. It's such an effort to arrange too.

purplepidjin Wed 24-Nov-10 13:04:19

Sounds like the kid equivalent of the friend who is fine to chat to when you bump into them in the supermarket queue but you wouldn't want to go for lunch with them afterwards! And DD2 has just discovered this

Maybe have a chat with the mums of the other two girls and find out if they have had the same experience. You may also find that the other mum has already spoken to them about the "awful" time her darling spoiled brat little princess had at your house wink

Habanera Wed 24-Nov-10 14:32:50

I seem to have committed to having another one in a couple of weeks. Will try the one who's never been at all, rather than the one who insisted on imprisoning the dog under the bed and throwing every single one of dd2s belongings into a pile in the middle of her room before flouncing off to a music lesson, and disloyally changing to another best friend at school the next day, to dd2's dismay.

DD1 is definitely having one of her nice sensible friends over first; she and I had a laugh! Ten is a better age (from my point of view!). No need to organise activity - dog will be treated nicely, food if provided will be either eaten or politely declined.

And if dd1 gets too superior I'll remind her of the playdate she spent lying face down in the garden wailing in temper age 5 while I did a puzzle with her friend. Who still visits and is her best friend!

InVinoFerretsAss Wed 24-Nov-10 14:37:55

I am not a big fan of playdates. I had one of DDs little friends over the other day, made a big effort with dress up clothes, cakes and a lovely tea. The next day my DD was in tears because "X doesn't want to play with me any more". The teacher has actually had to step in because this little girl (5) is now being so horrible to my DD!!

Little shit. Feel like going round there and asking for my cakes back!!

GooseyLoosey Wed 24-Nov-10 14:38:13

You don't need to organise an activity at 7/8. dd is 6 and I would not dream of organising activities for her and her friends. They amuse themselves in dd's room.

There is one of them I cannot bear to watch eat, so as a "special treat", when she is round, I make a picnic and let dd take a picnic blanket up to her room and they can eat it there (its only things like carrot stick, cucumger, ham, cheese and rolls so they can't do too much damage). I don't have to engage with them and they have more fun. Win-win.

Wordsonascreen Wed 24-Nov-10 14:38:17

You are doing too much

8 year olds do not need activities.

Say hello
Chuck a few cakes at them and some squash

Only interfere if you need to take them to A and E.

HopeForTheBestExpectTheWorst Wed 24-Nov-10 14:43:15

I also thought that the older they got, the less you had to do?
Not that I do anything activities even now (ds is 3.8 and they usually just play!)

Acinonyx Wed 24-Nov-10 15:22:28

I never do activities for playdates and dd is 5. Food is often a troublesome area and I make no apologies for giving almost always the same dinner - whatever seems to be the best compromise solution. The food issues wouldn't bother me (I'd just carry on and ignore it - lots of kids are slow and faddy, er, like mine....). But not playing well together would really put me off.

I have had occasional playdates that don't seem to work well - we don't do those again. But I have one that is starting to cause me some hassle - where friend routinely brings sibs too but then the sibs don't play together - it's like having 100 dc in the house. Unsure how best to tackle that as dd is very fond of that friend and they do play well together.

purplepidjin Wed 24-Nov-10 16:42:42

Habanera, it sounds like DD1 is right! Is your DD inviting the "popular" (spoiled, demanding, rude and used to getting their own way at home, then the nice girls at school pander to them...) ones round so that she can be in the "in" group? There must be nice, normal maybe quieter children in her class she can play with?

SkyBluePearl Wed 24-Nov-10 17:38:51

I don't entertain when my sons friends come round. They have a snack, play imaginative games and then they might eat tea with us. I offer them our normal food and if they dont like it thats fine. The only thing i dislike is rudeness and bad behaviour. We have had lots play dates and only 3 children have been vile.

SkyBluePearl Wed 24-Nov-10 17:40:43

ps.i think it takes time to work out which chldren are the nicest ones to invite round. I tend not to invite the naughty ones for a second visit.

Poppyella Wed 24-Nov-10 19:13:50

We have play dates almost every time the kids have no activity such as swimming or cubs. To me, a 'play date' is far too formal, it's just 'can so and so come round for tea'. I say yes or no, depending who and what mood I'm in lol and they just get on with it.

Boys - football, wii, rugby, lego etc

Girls - teachers, mummys and daddys, dressing up etc.

I wouldn't DREAM of organising anything at their ages (6 & 9), they need to play by themselves with no grown up intervention - they get enough of that at school - unless of course,as someone else posted, you need to go to A&E!!!

IMHO - don't bother so much and then you won't feel let down by the lovely little brats!

crazygracieuk Thu 25-Nov-10 12:33:51

I never do activities with my 4/7/9 year olds. I let them run around and do what they fancy and they come to me if they want a drink/food/spider taken out of the trampoline netting...

I think that everyone has a playdate from hell story to share. When my 7 year old dd last had a playdate, her friend ended up playing with 9 year old ds instead!!

Dancergirl Thu 25-Nov-10 15:01:05

Yup, completely agree. The whole point of playdates is YOU can have some peace and quiet while your child and guest play together.

Don't worry about food too much - make fish fingers/pasta/baked potatoes with various accompaniments and either they eat it or they don't. Job done smile

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