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Those with older only children, did you find the social aspect of having one child got easier as they got older?

(23 Posts)
navelgazer Sun 14-Dec-08 17:33:24

I'm really struggling with this aspect tbh - no cousins remotely near DD's age (5), only one friend with child age 4 to meet up with. Have tried valiantly to fix up playdates but it feels like an upward struggle as they are rarely returned or people say they'll ring and don't etc. I won't give up on the playdates but it does stress me out sometimes. Does it get easier as they get older and can sort out their own social life? There are plenty of children who want to play with DD, it's just the arrangements with the parents that fall through. (Arranged for neighbours DD to come round today and they were just out when we knocked -all day!) At what age does it get easier?

Earlybird Sun 14-Dec-08 17:41:54

I have a dd who is almost 8. I find that I do a tremendous amount of playdate arranging/hosting, and the majority of playdates are at my instigation. Some people reciprocate, but many don't.

Life gets more complicated/frantic with more than one child, and I think many people find it difficult to juggle. Don't take it personally, and keep inviting. Also, confirm arrangements the day before/morning of so that there is no chance of conflicting schedules or a faulty memory.

Overmydeadbody Sun 14-Dec-08 17:45:22

I thought you meant my social life lol, which has obviously got easier as DS has got older and can come out with me and stay out for longer and be well behaved etc!

I do organise a lot of pladates for him, and have is friends over often, some parents reciprocate, some don't, I don't think it is because DS is an only child though...

navelgazer Sun 14-Dec-08 19:05:30

earlybird and overmydeadbody, just out of interest, how often do your children get to play with other children, on a weekly basis and in holidays eg xmas

Earlybird Sun 14-Dec-08 19:45:25

Outside of school, dd does some activities with others - swim class, and some organised sports. I think it is good for her to be physically active, and also good to be part of a team where the focus is on the group rather than the individual. She will be doing a group art class after Christmas.

She has playdates on average twice a week (once a weekend and one during the week). Over the holidays, she is enrolled in a 3 day holiday 'camp'.

Whenever we host a playdate where the guest is particularly bossy and/or inflexible (often another only child), I make a point of discussing with dd how it feels to be on the 'receiving' end of that sort of bossiness so she can recognise that behaviour and hopefully not act that way herself.

I think with an 'only', you need to make plans, or you (and they) can go stir crazy. Try to find the balance between doing enough to keep things interesting, and having enough 'down time' to rest and relax.

BoccaDellaNativita Mon 15-Dec-08 09:52:12

For us, the playdate thing got very much easier when our daughter moved to a school slightly closer to home. All the children live very near to the school and this one seems to have much more of a playdate culture (if there is such a thing) than the previous one. She now gets more invitations than we can manage, as there are other things like ballet and after-school clubs - and some plain down-time - to fit in.

navelgazer Mon 15-Dec-08 10:17:46

Earlybird, I hear what you say about bossiness except in our case it's our DD that's the bossy one -fine at others houses but VERY bossy at ours.

Bocca, we are quite near to the school and live in the same road as some of the children (long road) but there appears to be not much of a, as you say, playdate culture around here.

I do find arranging her social life a bit fraught, I'm fairly sociable but have never been one to initiate social gatherings much and I seem to be getting a lot of knock backs. It's hard not to take it personal but I am trying to develop a thick skin

BoccaDellaNativita Mon 15-Dec-08 10:22:37

navelgazer - I found it a similar struggle at the last school. How old is your daughter? Maybe things like ballet, gymnastics, Rainbows or Brownies would be a better option, as they offer the opportunity to make new friends (and you don't have to host it)?

navelgazer Mon 15-Dec-08 10:28:43

Bocca yes that's my new year's resolution. She says she wants to go with a friend but as there's often a waiting list for these things and her school friend's parents are not very forthcoming I think I'm just going to try to push her along a bit. She is a bit shy but makes friends fairly easy when she has the opportunity.

BoccaDellaNativita Mon 15-Dec-08 10:51:18

That sounds like a good plan! When we started enrolling in these kinds of activity, we found that we knew some of the children there already. For example, we enrolled in one totally new activity to find one girl from her old school and one from the new, so that helped to break the ice!

Good luck grin!

DeckHallsWithFIMBOughsofHolly Mon 15-Dec-08 10:55:59

My dd is 10 and playdates have kind of sloped off now. She occassionally has friends round for tea but she does a lot of after school clubs and sees them there mainly.

Ds is 5 and started reception in September, his class doesn't really seem to do playdates and tbh I would need to fit them in around dd's social activities so it wouldn't always work out. He will be starting Beavers in 2009.

navelgazer Mon 15-Dec-08 13:56:55

By after school clubs do you mean like a creche for children who's parents are at work?

BoccaDellaNativita Mon 15-Dec-08 15:51:33

In my case I mean both sorts. My daughter does some after-school sports and arts activities which the school runs and - after she changed schools midday through a term - those really helped her get to know her new schoolmates. She also goes to the creche sort of after school club on days when I'm at work.

RebeccaX Wed 17-Dec-08 06:28:19

Do people use the terms "playdate" and "down time" in RL?

BlueCowNowIsLowingAndDCAwake Wed 17-Dec-08 06:49:58

Not a mum of 'onlies', but I would say that once your child is settled in school, the opportunity for come-home-for-tea is huge, but it does need lots of planning. Although by eg year 3 my dd is planning her own (Alice has ballet on Thurs, but Bella is free then, and I want Clarice on Fri...). I do think it's true that we mums of many sometimes forget the onlies, as ours play all together, and we only need one child to come back after school to make us feel sociable, rather than one invited child each.

I'm always amazed at the capacity of my dc to want to go and play with the same children they've been playing with all day in school! For mine, school is the only place they have children home from, never brownies/ ballet/ swimming etc though I think that's more to do with me, as I see the mums on a much more regular basis.

BoccaDellaNativita Wed 17-Dec-08 10:36:52

RebeccaX - No, personally I don't, but I used them here in reply to others who had used them. It's a useful shorthand. We all (I think) know what it means.

navelgazer Wed 17-Dec-08 13:59:33

Thanks to everyone. (I never use the term playdate in RL personally but it seems to be a shorthand here as BoccaDellaNativita says)

MoominMymbleandMy Thu 18-Dec-08 03:41:02

I sort of have two 'onlies' (nine-year age gap) and I think it is much easier once they get to school because it's simpler to just collect them at the gate rather than have parents make a special trip to deposit them.

Don't be hurt at people forgetting. With number 2 our once immaculately organised life is chaotic. If I don't mark things on the calendar immediately they are forgotten.
And then I don't always remember to look at the calendar.

Which is why I'm typing at this mad hour. I'm waiting to take the Chocolate Brownies for the class party out of the oven. I only remembered when I was going to bed.

navelgazer Fri 19-Dec-08 21:02:33

Moomin, cooking brownies at 3am!!!!

I do get hurt, probably I can't imagine how hard it is with more kids- will give myself a stern talking to next time. Some of the parents have only one kid though and just don't seem interested in meeting up, they just seem to stick to their family-cousins etc.

MoominMymbleandMy Sat 20-Dec-08 01:32:48

Yep navelgazer, double batch and they scoffed the lot. I thought I might get one back!

You don't need a stern talking-to. It is very painful to feel your child is/might be lonely.

Some parents just are a bit useless and will only stick to their own circle. And some are just disorganised - like me at the moment.

The other posters' suggestions about activities and classes are good too.

Two of the nicest people I know, and two of my daughter's longterm friends were acquired at a toddler gym class. The class is long forgotten and we don't get to see each other as often as we did, but when we do we, and the children, can just pick up straightaway.

navelgazer Sat 20-Dec-08 14:58:30

Moomin, posting again in the middle of the night,do you ever sleep!

Thanks, your post was really kind

MoominMymbleandMy Sun 21-Dec-08 01:28:27

Hi navelgazer, I was waiting for the washing machine to finish so I could put the nappies on the airing rack.

Which is exactly what I'm doing now.

And I always, always regret it when the alarm clock and/or baby wake me much too early the next day.

Vampire would probably be a better nickname than Moomin.

Podrick Tue 23-Dec-08 19:28:54

I am a working mum with one child and I am happy with a couple of playdates per half term; more in the holidays. In an ideal world I might have one a week. If I were a SAHM possibly even 2 a week.

This works out fine for my dd, who is generally happy, confident and well-liked at school, with good social skills. Are you setting yourself unduly high targets of numbers of playdates or is the desire for more coming from your dd? Some kids are much more into playdates than others ime. My dd likes time to chill at home, and to hang out with just me and dp or with my parents a lot.

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