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Play dates - all new to me. Opinions sought please!

(18 Posts)
sandyballs Mon 24-Jan-05 10:14:27

My two DDs (almost 4) are very friendly with a little girl at their nursery and they talk about her at home quite a lot. I don't know the girl or her mother but last week the girls mother came over and introduced herself and invited my two over for lunch and to play later this week. She said she would pick all three of them up from nursery, take them to her place for lunch/play and then I could pick mine up later in the afternoon.

Now, I'm really pleased that they've been invited out and it's great that this woman is making an effort like this but I feel a bit wary of letting my two go off with a complete stranger, in her car and to her house. I know absolutely nothing about the family. Is this the usual way play dates are done, or do the mums normally get to know one another, meeting up with the kids before they go on their own? I'm not even sure that one of my girls would like it, she's quite nervous around new people. On the other hand a whole morning and afternoon to myself sounds bliss .

I'm interested to hear others experiences of play dates.

weightwatchingwaterwitch Mon 24-Jan-05 10:20:06

It is the way play dates seem to be done, in all the places I've lived anyway, sandyballs. If you think your girls will be worried then you could invite yourself too, the other mother should understand. Or you could just ask her to ring you if they seem upset. I always used to invite mothers too when I invited children for tea (ds was prob a bit older though, about 5 and at school) and they always looked horrified and said NO thanks very hurriedly!

trefusis Mon 24-Jan-05 10:21:21

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Fennel Mon 24-Jan-05 10:21:49

usually with my dds (who are 3 and 4) the first playdate is with a parent staying, say for a couple of hours, and then the second date might be without parent staying - by then you'll have been able to suss out the family, and they'll have been able to check you out too.

weightwatchingwaterwitch Mon 24-Jan-05 10:22:02

So I think it's acceptable to invite yourself too if you're remotely worried (because you don't know her OR because you think your dds will be upset) and if you'd rather get to know her first. I think women mostly trust other women and that's probably why we all don't worry about this too much. Don't forget to reciprocate too, this could work out as a very nice arrangement for both of you!

trefusis Mon 24-Jan-05 10:22:39

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RTKangaMummy Mon 24-Jan-05 10:22:40

sorry cant remember

but how about chatting to the mum at nursery and seeing what opinion you make of her

what about car seats will she have them?

does she have enough room in car?

what about inviting her dd to you first then you can see what she is like?

or invite the mum for coffee while they are at nursery?

weightwatchingwaterwitch Mon 24-Jan-05 10:24:07

trefusis, my ds was older when this started though and I suppose I usually knew of the other mother because I lived in such a small place at the time. When he was younger I certainly would have gone with him at least the first time.

binkie Mon 24-Jan-05 10:26:00

Depends on children, but I didn't do solo playdates (without parent/nanny) till after age 4 - similar idea to deciding what age you'd leave them at a party - and even then it still depends on how confident I feel about the other family. Till then, I would go too, or meet somewhere all together. If they're having a lovely time I might vanish for half an hour but still be close by (leave mobile no) - then if all goes well maybe solo next time - and so on.

I expect this other mother has older children too so is used to things having become more casual?

marialuisa Mon 24-Jan-05 10:26:18

DD is the same age as your girls and her playdates are all without parents. That said, most mums have met briefly at parties and the school gates. TBH I'm not sure we would stand up to close scrutiny! DD has been in childcare since she was 6 months old so I think I'm quite laissez-faire about this sort of thing, if she wants to go, I let her.

mrsflowerpot Mon 24-Jan-05 10:30:47

DS is this age and is going on his first playdate this week - apart from the odd afternoon with people we've known since baby group which doesn't feel the same. I don't know the mum particularly well, although we've had the boys in the same pre-school and nursery for a year now. She doesn't seem to be expecting me to stay with them, which I feel a bit funny about, but I'm taking the line that if ds is happy to be left then I will, it's only for an hour or two. But if he's at all hesitant then I'll invite myself in. Just wish I'd got in there first with the invitation, as I'd have asked her to come for a coffee while they played. But she has other kids and I don't, so maybe like you say she's just used to it.

Donbean Mon 24-Jan-05 10:31:23

In my experience with these things i actually know the parents very very well and they always accompany the child or i stay with ds. (he is only 18 months) and i would not accept an invitation for ds to some ones home unless i knew them well im afraid. Very kind and all that but im just not comfortable with the thought.

MadameButterfly Mon 24-Jan-05 10:43:02

Hi there,
My dd is 2.5 and she had a friend from playgroup round on Friday to play. I only know the mum to talk to at playgroup, but my dd gets on well with hers as there is only a couple of days between their birthday. Last Tuesday she mantioned that she could not get her DD into the playgroup on Friday and had no one to look after her while she went to work. Her inlaws normally do it, but they are on holiday atm. I therefore offered to look after her as it would be company for my DD as we dousually do not do anything on a Friday.

The girls had great fun playing together with all my DD's toys, playdough, dolls etc and I even made lunch for mum when she came to pick DD up.

My advice is, suggest that you stay with your DDs for a bit to make sure they settle in ok and you could then get to know the mum.

sandyballs Mon 24-Jan-05 10:55:08

Thanks for all your messages - I knew I could rely on Mumsnet!!

You're right - this lady does have older children, so I suppose she is more relaxed about these things than I am as my two are my only children.

I thought about dropping them off myself and staying for a while but I know that my shy girl wouldn't let me leave!! I think she might be better if I'm not there - she has her sister with her after all! I think I'll make a point of chatting a lot with the other mum this week and then make a decision by Friday, based on what my girls are feeling about it all - if they're happy to go I will probably let them, and reciprocate in a few weeks time, of course! Like WWWW says, it could work out to be a great arrangement for everyone and possibly make my shy girl a bit more confident without her mum!

lulupop Mon 24-Jan-05 11:01:31

sandyballs, when my ds started nursery last sept, I also found myself in this situation. he has a friend in his class and though I know the mum, we're not friends or anything. what we do is, either her son comes to me, or mine goes to her, BEFORE nursery, and we have play at home then lunch and take them to school. Then each child's own mum picks him up.

In fact that's where ds is right now, and it is lovely to have the extra couple of hours to get on with things (or to fritter away on MN!)

leglebegle Mon 24-Jan-05 11:15:07

No, I wouldn't let mine go to a strangers house to be honest. All play dates at my house have included the parent unless I know them particularly well ie. they are a friend. The mother might seem nice enough but you don't know the father/boyfriend, and you should go IMO.

ourdarling Mon 24-Jan-05 12:53:33

Since starting school my dd (4.6) has been invited to various parties and a few playdates. In all cases l have also gone along for my own peace of mind, because so far it has been the first visit to a strangers household. For second visits etc,. l will ask dd if she would like to be collected later.

ourdarling Mon 24-Jan-05 12:54:02

Since starting school my dd (4.6) has been invited to various parties and a few playdates. In all cases l have also gone along for my own peace of mind, because so far it has been the first visit to a strangers household. For second visits etc,. l will ask dd if she would like to be collected later.

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