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Play date problems - home and away (DS 3.25)

(6 Posts)
QTPie Fri 10-May-13 18:29:17


I am not sure what I am looking for - help? Reassurance that it will pass?

DS is 3.25 and started preschool just after Easter. We have had play dates (at home and away) since birth - mainly NCT friends.

Recently play dates have started to get awkward:
- at home he has started to "play up" (demanding lots of snacks, demanding cbeebies, not interested in playing and throwing tantrums.... NONE of which he normally does if there isn't a play date - he looses all ability to be reasoned with). This feels very uncomfortable. This may be partly my fault: I had the in-laws here for about 5 weeks and we didn't host play dates during that period - so think that he got "out of the habit".
- at other people's homes he tends to want to get all of their toys out, isn't particularly gentle with them and - today - was helping himself to any good that he could find (discarded snack on a table and kept finding boys of biscuits on the floor). I do feed him and actually fed him 3 biscuits on the way to the play date in the hope that he wouldn't start demanding food. Plus there is the general "tug of war" over toys (probably not uncommon with 3 year olds and, to be fair, often it isn't DS who starts the tug of war...). Things are fairly "ok" within our NCT group, but I feel very worried about going to homes that have a big tradition of being neat, gentle and tidy with toys.

Play dates at the park work fairly well, although DS is always on his own agenda and the play dates are not to sociable ( for the kids or us mums...). Unfortunately the weather is rather more "off" than "on" at the moment.

I think that play dates are important and nice for DS (although not convinced at the moment - he really doesn't like hosting!) and for me. I also think that we will get more invitations since he is getting into preschool...

Any reassurance/advice. I have a horrible feeling that I need to get stricter with DS during play dates (both home and away): that maybe he is trying to take advantage of distractions and me not really wanting him playing up....

beachesandbuckets Fri 10-May-13 18:38:59

Your ds is still very young, I think that children that age aren't good at sharing. I wouldn't mind toddlers taking out the toys but maybe encourage him to help to help tidy up at the end. I would stop giving him biscuits on way to playdates, its rewarding him for acting up later. My ds (5) has only started proper playdates now he has started school and we are developing an established group of friends. Try to relax although I remember worrying too when ds was that age! X

kilo Fri 10-May-13 20:02:01

I don't have much advice to offer but am encouraged by reading your post as I could have written it myself! My 3.5 DS is behaving in exactly the same way at the moment, it's horrible especially as he has previously been sociable, but it makes me think that it must be a developmental thing as your DS behaviour sounds similar. My current theory is that DS is feeling shy and not too confident (not sure why, prob just a stage), I didn't think this at first because sometimes he can be unusually aggressive, but I think all the snacks/tv/ bad behaviour are a way of getting support and connection with me (maybe?). He actually told me the other day he was feeling shy before we went to see his cousin and we talked about how it was ok and he could just be quiet and tell her he was shy but it wasn't ok to shout/whine for snacks. It worked and I did the same pep talk the next day which also worked. However that's only based on two occasions, and with my DS whenever I think I've got something cracked it usually turns out I haven't! Boys can be complicated sensitive little sausages...

QTPie Fri 10-May-13 20:53:05

Beaches, play dates are after his afternoon nap and he traditionally has a snack after his nap. So it is pretty much impossible to not give him one (either at home or out). If we are at someone else's house is a devil for asking for snacks (he does ask nicely, but I hate to impose - to the extent that he does... He acts like he doesn't get fed at home...).

You are right, I really shouldn't worry too much. But a couple of occasions have worried me. We visited old friends last Summer (a couple of hours drive for here - we happened o be in the area). They have two daughters and more toys than an over stocked ToysRUs.... DS was like a "kid in a toy shop" - into everything! I tried to stop him, they said "oh don't worry", but sometimes you just know it isn't being well appreciated... sad. I also remember another mum (who we haven't been on a play date with) saying how horrified she was when a little boy visited and went through her son's toys and things like a whirlwind (apparently her son really looks after his toys and keeps them neat and tidy...). Although I have no problem with visiting kids going through all of DS's toys and making a mess at all, it makes me realise that not all parents are quite so understanding...

Kilo - thanks for posting. Glad that I am not alone. You know, you could be right. The latest (amd most disastrous) home play date was with people we don't know so well (a boy from DS's old gym class, his younger brother and Mum). I did wonder about extending play dates outside of our current immediate circle, but they are such lovely people. DS napped late and woke to find "relatively strange" people in his house and playing with his toys.... Probably an unsettling combination. DS (normally aka "toddler alpha male") has been showing signs of shyness recently: he must be working through some things.

DS is very complicated: very independent and confident, yet a big mummy's boy at the same time... He does love all of my attention and maybe not too keen on sharing it.

Kilo, if our are anywhere near me,maybe we should meet for a play date: our DS's can cause all kinds of havoc, but at least we have today sympathy with each other grin

CreatureRetorts Fri 10-May-13 21:13:26

Sounds like my ds. I hate playdates quite frankly. Your ds goes to preschool so he can socialise that way.

When ds has playdates over here, they pull out all the toys etc so don't worry about that. Just tidy up at the end.

Maybe he picks up on your tension and worry and plays up. Can you relax a bit?

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sat 11-May-13 00:54:56

Having been down a similar route to you at the moment with DD1, I have not bothered at all with DD2...apart from one special friend when she began reception in Sept. She's the most socially balanced child ever...she's popular and happy and her lack of playdates has not affected her at all! Lots of mates and lots of invitations to parties.

I feel they are blinking pointless unless it's close family (cousins) or neighbours who know you well.

Give the playdates a rest and your DS too! grin

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