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What happens about 'play dates'?

(39 Posts)
Lucy7400 Mon 06-Mar-17 14:01:26

I know they won't be called 'play dates' in secondary school but you know what I mean. Kids coming back to your house and vice versa.

DD starts secondary school in September. Of course that will mean the end of standing in the playground. (Hoorah!). But that also means no more getting to know parents. So, what happens when they want to go to someone's house? Do the kids just organise it and I step back or do we get the parents number to check details and hope we ascertain any weirdness via a short text message confused. What about sleep overs? DD only goes to families we know at the moment but this won't be possible next year.

bonbonours Mon 06-Mar-17 14:03:45

I don't know but I am dreading this next year too, dd1 going to random people's houses etc. I guess number one rule is always have your phone and call immediately if you feel uncomfortable with anything.

NerrSnerr Mon 06-Mar-17 14:08:35

When I was at secondary school parents didn't get involved. We'd just go and play at a friends, if it was walking distance we'd be told when to get home, or if in another village we'd figure out which parent would drop us back/ pick us up. Calling another parent to get to know them would have been odd, but don't know if that's changed nowadays.

ChicRock Mon 06-Mar-17 14:13:10

DS has never done a sleepover so that's not a problem for us.

In terms of 'play dates' they arrange it amongst themselves and I use common sense in setting some boundaries- so for example I wouldn't allow DS to go and spend a whole day at a friend's house because I know if he had a friend over here for 8 hours I'd find it too much, but a few hours is ok.

He has set times that he has to be home, and likewise I have no qualms about saying "right boys, it's getting late, your parents must be wondering where you are, time to go home - I'll drop you off/can you call your folks to come and collect you".

If he has a friend over and it's teatime I'll ask the friend if they'd like to stay and eat with us, if it's convenient for us, but will tell them to text their parents and let them know.

There is one mum who keeps texting and calling me to arrange for us "to meet up with the boys" and quite frankly it's starting to get on my nerves, plus if I mention it to DS he's like hmmconfused. I thought maybe she was wanting to make friends so invited her over for a coffee or to go out for a drink but nope - she wants a primary school style "play date".

PatriciaHolm Mon 06-Mar-17 14:13:22

DD just tends to ring me and say " can I go to X's house" - so far it's mostly been parents I've met briefly, one wasn't. She always has her phone and I would normally then go pick her up, and say hi to the parents then.

Lucy7400 Mon 06-Mar-17 14:15:54

Ok. This really is going to be a whole new world.confused Although I am sick to death of the playground politics so not all bad.

themanonthecycle Mon 06-Mar-17 14:22:52

It is frightening - they arrange it all themselves. But they have phones so you are in contact and we all use the find friends function so we (the 4 of us) can all see where each other is all the time.

However I have made it very clear that they can text/call at any point if they feel uncomfortable for whatever reason and one of us will go get them immediately.

BackforGood Mon 06-Mar-17 14:42:27

They arrange it all themselves, but, by then they tend to have phones so it is a bit of a safety net.
When dc used to come here, if I was in, I'd always just ask them if their parents knew where they were, and I'd also instill in my dc it was important to let me know where they were - ie, not just 'I've gone to Jack's', but the address, if it was someone I didn't know, or there were 7 Jacks he was mates with.

golfbuggy Mon 06-Mar-17 14:45:40

DS texts "Going to Toby's house"
You text "Who is Toby, where does he live?"
DS texts "Friend, dunno, what time do I need to be home?"

Half the time they just meet up randomnly in the park/outside school though.

Primaryteach87 Mon 06-Mar-17 14:49:29

My parents were always very good about having friends over and would not be embarrassing but were 'present'. This meant they got to know a lot more about my friends/their families/our lives than other parents who had less of an open doors policy. So that would be my top tip.

BackforGood Mon 06-Mar-17 14:52:34

Geography also comes into it though - much more likely to drop in on a mate that lives down the road from the school over one who lives 2 miles away.

Dancergirl Mon 06-Mar-17 14:55:07

The kids organise it themselves. You just need to know the address and time to pick up if they need picking up.

Don't check with parents or try and take over the arranging, they will be mortified!

Why are you dreading it bonbon? It's just a natural step to growing up.

Rockpebblestone Mon 06-Mar-17 14:56:49


Rockpebblestone Mon 06-Mar-17 14:58:34


Rockpebblestone Mon 06-Mar-17 15:08:06

Try again! Screen jittery.

I think it depends on the indivdual parents and children. I text to invite DC's friends round and visa versa. Tbh it involves the parents as we often will feed the DC too. The DC usually discuss what they are planning between themselves at school though.

bonbonours Mon 06-Mar-17 16:48:19

Dancergirl, I suppose the reason I'm dreading it is up until now I have always known the parents of kids whose house she would be visiting and also known the kids. If they are arranging it themselves I won't know if the other kids parents are actually going to be there or not. My dd will be just 11 when she starts secondary. Although she is pretty sensible and has stayed home alone for about an hour, I know a lot of kids her age who I wouldn't trust to be sensible if home alone, and I worry she may be drawn into something silly/dangerous if the other person is doing so. E.g. she is not allowed to cook at home alone, but another family may have different ideas or child may not abide by rules they've been set. If I don't know the kids I have no idea what kind of person they are and just because an 11 year old thinks someone they've met at school seems nice isn't necessarily a good indicator of their character.

Also I wouldn't have a problem with her spending a few hours (or a sleepover) at someone's house if the parents are going to be there but not if they aren't going to be. And I'm supposed to take the word of an 11 year old I've never met on the subject without checking with the parents?

There's a balance between being embarrassing and making sure your child is safe. Just because they started secondary school doesn't make them an adult, nor does it mean they necessarily make safe or sensible decisions or judgments. I can't see that having brief contact with the parents of a child you've never met is excessive at this age.

Rockpebblestone Mon 06-Mar-17 17:08:28

Regarding new friends, whose parents you don't know, you can give your dd a note with your contact details on saying you'd like to arrange for their DC to visit you and if they could please contact you so you can arrange this.

At this stage, when you don't know new families, I think it is easiest. Then just take things from there. You get to see/speak to the parents briefly then. I don't think they'd think badly of it as they are all at a new school. Sensible really because you don't know how mature the children are or if they've any additional needs - you don't necessarily have to ask but it gives the parents a chance to tell you about anything you should know if their child was to visit.

BackforGood Mon 06-Mar-17 17:57:12

What you need to do though, is to work with your dd to think about what she would do in scenario X, Y, or Z.
You meeting the parents for 10 mins - or even an hour - isn't going to tell you that she will or won't be 'safe', what you need to do is to equip her with the skills to 'get out of' any situation she feels uncomfortable in, and the confidence / self-esteem to not just follow peer pressure, and to know how to say no.

Oh, and knowing how to cook at 11 is neither silly nor dangerous. It's normal.

GreenGinger2 Mon 06-Mar-17 17:59:25

Well they spend 40 minutes travelling on a bus to a city and all day at school without you so why the angst? They're 11/12 and upwards,not babies. They choose their friends not you,that is the whole point.

I always get my DC to get the friend's mum to send me a text,they take their phone so I'm in contact at all times.

The last few years I've been teaching them to make sensible choices and keep safe so know I can rely on them. I am a 20 minute car journey away.

Children need independence and to take risks to build resilience which is crucial for good mental health.

At secondary you don't get to organise anything so to be frank your main worry is that they are managing the transition ok and making friends. Year 7 can be hard. Getting invited to sleepovers is the least of your worries.

Heifer Mon 06-Mar-17 18:57:09

Got to admit that when DD went into Yr 7 and got invited to someones house I didn't know - I asked for the Mums mobile number so I could call and introduce myself etc - found that I wasn't the only one doing it and most were relieved that we were actually all thinking the same thing - ie didn't want them going off to random peoples houses that we didn't know.
Met the Mum or Dad everytime we took DD to their house, and them to us, so got to know them a bit that way. By the time sleepovers start you know the parents enough to feel ok about it all.

Not all parents are like this - but the new friends that DD made all had similar boundries.

Now she is in Yr8 she gets invited to peoples parties that I don't really know but we make sure we take her and chat to a parent when we drop them off. I still wouldn't let her go to a sleepover at someones house I didn't know. I don't need to be friends with the parents but I need to know them a little.

It's in a few years time I'm not looking forward to - when I'm not sure if the parents are actually going to be home when the kids come round....

AuntieStella Mon 06-Mar-17 19:06:46

You have to cross your fingers and hope that the household is fairly normal. Which almost all of them are.

Also worth going to PTA introductory drinks or any 'welcome new parents' events (especially if based on the class not the whole year group) and then later anything else for parents, just so you can at least have a vague idea of who's who.

bonbonours Mon 06-Mar-17 19:10:24

Backforgood, yes obviously it is vital to talk things through with DD but I don't think it's unreasonable to also have some contact, albeit limited with the parents of the other child.

I do encourage DD to learn to cook, I just don't allow her to do it when she's alone in the house, since I'm not confident in her ability to do it safely without supervision, or to know what to do if something caught fire. I certainly wouldn't trust an unknown 11 year old to cook safely in a house unsupervised by any adult.

AtiaoftheJulii Mon 06-Mar-17 19:13:03

We live quite far from school, so I did the note thing at first with dd - "dd would like to invite X for tea, these are the dates which would be ok for me, let me know if any suit you. Here's my mobile number, we'll drop X home afterwards." Seemed to work ok and not be too horrifically embarrassing.

ohforfoxsake Mon 06-Mar-17 19:51:21

I sometimes contact a parent of a friend I don't know, just to make contact really. Ds1 is 15 and I do it, mainly because there are sleepovers, parties and alcohol on occasion. It doesn't bother me, but I want the parents to have my number and vice versa.

Dd1 is in year 7. She had a couple of new friends, there's a social group of year 7 mums and a Whatsapp group.

My general rule is to text the parent out of politeness whatever age. I don't feel the need to meet them but if their kid is at mine, I like them to have my number.

Crumbs1 Mon 06-Mar-17 20:19:27

From comprehensive, we had children back home all the time - large family so always food and company. I got to know lots of the parents and remain friends even though eldest left school 7 years ago. It was still collecting from friends houses/parties/school trips and lift sharing for activities like orchestra and plays etc. Parents inevitably came in for a cup of tea and chat.
From boarding itbwas more formalised as we lived so far apart, so planned events in house. Then weekend swapping and sports collecting/touchline conversations.

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