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Dilemma with child coming to play after school

(21 Posts)
QuintessentialShadow Thu 01-Oct-09 08:50:41

My son is 4, and has two friends in his class. One is John and one is Ralph to make it easier to follow.

My son and John were friends, and would often come to play at eachothers houses after preschool. Ralph joined this spring, and he and John took to eachother first, as my son did not want to play with John as he was "a baby". I was trying to encourage all three to play together. Now the three boys are playing fairly well together. Some days one of them is excluded, the next they exclude another one, so it is a little fractious at times.

Johns mum called me last week and told me her son had told them that he and Ralph and come up with a game where they were promising eachother presents if they were not playing with my son. She seemed to be handling this sensibly, called me to let me know, and told me she had spoken to her son about how wrong this is.

Anyhow, Ralph has never been home to our house, and I thought maybe it would make them gel a bit more if I invited him. I spoke to Ralphs mum and we arranged that he should come on monday.

BUT, and here is the big but. When Johns mum has my son over, she always also include Ralph. Her husband is very hands on, they have 5 children, so they are not really worried about managing. I have always told her wow you are brave having so many kids in at the same time.

I dont feel confident to do that, and now I wonder if it is WRONG of me to exclude John?

I dont really want all three at my house because I wanted my son to have a chance to get to know Ralph better, and as there has been problems recently with Ralph and John excluding my son, I thought it migt balance it out a bit.

But now I worry that my son might not be invited to Johns next time......

Gosh, what to do

FlamingoBingo Thu 01-Oct-09 08:57:06

call john's mum and say what you've said here end/or ask her advice. she seems v sensible.

stuffitllllama Thu 01-Oct-09 09:01:52

I can see your point of view, in that three can be a little stickier than two. The thing is, John's mum doesn't have three, she has eight, so much more of a bundle playdate with less obvious "leaving out" opportunities.

Why not invite them both as an experiment but have something lined up for them to play, eg obstacle course or scavenger hunt or treasure hunt to be completed as a team, so that you forestall any "leaving out" opportunities. And see how it goes from there.

stuffitllllama Thu 01-Oct-09 09:02:30

or does she have seven when altogether?

<counts on fingers>

Invite John on Tuesday? And if you are worried, let John's mother know that you are trying to let your son and Ralph get to know each other a bit better as you think this may help with the underlying tensions.

seeker Thu 01-Oct-09 09:10:20

My ds is in a 3 as well - and it sounds a bit the same. One of them is quite controlling of the friendship, and all 3 mothers concerned are aware and try to manage it as well as possible.

I've solved the problem (to my satisfaction at least!) by inviting all three over regularly - maybe once every two weeks or so, and having each of the other two over separately in between. If you see what I mean! And I do actually say to them "X is coming to tea with ds tonight, then all of you next Thursday. Then we'll make a day for Y to come" There's no sense of being left out because they know what's happening.

QuintessentialShadow Thu 01-Oct-09 09:10:43

She has five including her husbands son by another woman, born two days before their own son, and 2 with her husband, and 2 from her husbands previous marriage, the sixth does not live with them. In fact, the other 4 year old lives with his mum most of the time, but they are close... I am confused.

So, the last time she had invited my son, Ralph and a girl from their class, so they were 7 with the kids who lives permanently at the house. But two are bit older. Younger sister is just 2. My head hurts.

They seem to have a knack with children than me and my dh seem to lack...

I guess I could cope with 3....

QuintessentialShadow Thu 01-Oct-09 09:13:08

Awww, the three of them with their class just passed my house, they are headed up the mountain for lunch outdoors it seems. The weather is quite nice.

potoftea Thu 01-Oct-09 09:18:15

You don't have to have all 3 at once if you feel it's too much to cope with.
But do say it to John's mother why you are doing this, and be sure to arrange a date for him to come over later in the week if possible.

But please tell the mother why you are leaving him out. Some of us mothers would obsess over this wondering why our little darling was left out of a playdate. blush

PVish Thu 01-Oct-09 09:20:42

oh dont be sucha wuss! one 4 year old and you ase stressing?

seeker Thu 01-Oct-09 09:23:22

Oh, sorry - I didn't read your post properly. What potoftea said.

But in my experience, it doesn't really matter how many you have over (within reason). Once you've invited one, you might as well invite both!

QuintessentialShadow Thu 01-Oct-09 09:28:12

I am stressing because it does not seem long ago that I had invited John over to play with my son, I had prepared a lovely picnic to take into the woods by our house, and we were promptly joined by two other girls from their class who live on our street, and we went back to ours to bake cupcakes, and then my oldest came home from school with a mate, and then my mind just sort of melted....

Trying to get 4 4 year olds to bake cupcakes and share the workload between them, is not easy.

Maybe I was too ambitious. Maybe I should have left those two little girls out, but I couldnt. And they were very well behaved.

Maybe it would be good for me to see for myself the dynamics between all three?

FourArms Thu 01-Oct-09 09:33:43

The baking is the problem. When there are lots of kids here, I just referee any major disputes. Other than that I leave them to get on with it and provide drinks and snacks when required. If they can all be kicked out in the garden, so much the better.

Bramshott Thu 01-Oct-09 09:35:17

Dynamics between three friends are difficult because there's always the possibility of someone being 'left out'. It sounds to me that you are doing exactly the right thing. My DD is friends with two girls in her class and having them over individually works a lot better than having the three of them all together with the endless 'point-scoring' that involves!

Doodlez Thu 01-Oct-09 09:37:10

Three very rarely works well IME, Quint.

Two children - good.

Four children - good.

Three - not so good!

My DS is/was in a group of three and we split them up regularly and had the three of them together regularly. It did dilute the whole dynamic quite a bit.

As someone suggested, speak to John's mum and explain your plan. John will be fine about it, especially if he knows he will get his own invite in a week or so.

QuintessentialShadow Thu 01-Oct-09 09:38:45

Or, I could borrow Emma from across the road. She is in their class, but 5 years old, and very sweet and sensible. That way there will be 4.....

<shudder>

QuintessentialShadow Thu 01-Oct-09 09:40:19

No.

That will be too much. I have too much to do with work at the moment to do a 4 kid stint at home.

I am however going to make a halloween party this year, so will have plenty of opportunity to do many kids.

Doodlez Thu 01-Oct-09 10:05:03

Qunit, we are just talking about a two hour play-date here, right? Like after school and all sent home at 6pm?

QuintessentialShadow Thu 01-Oct-09 10:08:53

You are right.

I shall invite them both. Get it over with.

QuintessentialShadow Thu 01-Oct-09 10:09:37

And maybe ask if Emma wants to join them. She is so lovely.

I wish I had a little girl, too. grin

QuintessentialShadow Thu 01-Oct-09 10:09:59

Will send johns mum a text.

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