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Play dates - anyone else's child never invited?

63 replies

FallingStar21 · 24/01/2024 06:54

Just seeking other parents' experiences and opinions. DS is 7, likeable enough to have several good friends and invited to many classmates' birthday parties. He loves play dates, so we've been inviting his friends over. Problem is, he is never invited back - apart from once, to a friend's house after friend had come to ours many times and we'd taken him on a family day out (I can't help but think the mum was just feeling guilty at this point). Another friend has also been over lots, but parents never offered a play date at their house. These are his closest friends but we have invited others too (albeit not so many times), who also never reciprocated. I know that people don't owe us anything and life is busy, etc. It's just that I know how much my DS would love to be invited (from things he's said) and I feel sorry for him. Personally, I also can't imagine accepting invites continuously from the same people but never offering to host.
So I am trying to understand if that's fairly common or have we just not found the right friends/parents for mutual playdates?
And what are your experiences?

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

70 votes. Final results.

You are being unreasonable
You are NOT being unreasonable
PurpleNarwhale · 24/01/2024 06:58

It will depend on the family's circumstances.

They might not want people to see their house.
They might struggle to find downtime with their kid if they work so prioritise weekend time as family time.

Noicant · 24/01/2024 06:59

I think people are just busy, I invited one child after two playdates at their home but honestly I have very little downtime and they are the only family that have invited us. We have done quite a few meetups at parks etc which I think people find easier because they don’t have to hide the laundry pile before someone comes around.

We are still pretty busy on weekends (out of the house or doing something that really needs to be done in the home but mostly out). People with multiple children will also be spending weekends juggling various parties, clubs, family etc.

dottymac · 24/01/2024 07:37

Since my kids were born (oldest 10) playdates 9 times out of 19 happen at my house. My kids want to see their friends so I invite them to play/have dinner/sleep over regularly. There is rarely an invite back, and my children do notice this disparity. This is all different children aswell so not just the same mum not inviting back. I have found that people mainly just don't want the hassle and mess at their own house (but are happy for me to take all that on time and time again 🤷) it's annoying but I'll keep going because otherwise my 2 miss out, despite how thoughtless other parents can be.

SparkleyMud · 24/01/2024 07:40

I hate having play dates in my house. I prefer to take them to the park in the spring and summer. It's definitely not a reflection of my child not liking his friends enough. I just don't have the motivation, time and energy to do it now.

FallingStar21 · 24/01/2024 09:06

@dottymac Thank you for sharing. I suspect you're right, people just don't want the hassle of it in their own homes but happy to send their kids to others'. And I have taken the same approach as you, for the sake of my DS. But like you say, it can become tiring and he has started to notice.

I get what others are saying, but you don't need an immaculate house for a child guest, they don't care. And if the reason is family time, then surely they would be spending it with their child, not sending them away?
But maybe people are just not so keen after a long week or have a lot of other things going on.

@SparkleyMud I agree, in good weather going to the park is perfect but we don't get invited to this kind of play dates either.

OP posts:
LadyChilli · 24/01/2024 09:36

I get what others are saying, but you don't need an immaculate house for a child guest, they don't care.

It's the mess they make rather than tidying in advance that puts me off. I find kids expect to go in every room playing things like hide and seek, so every bed is messed up, every cupboard opened, not unusual to find skid marks in my en suite etc.

My DS rarely gets invited on playdate ls and I don't do much inviting now either. Also we're busy. Every spare minute is filled with clubs or seeing family so it's tricky to find time spare.

cheezncrackers · 24/01/2024 09:40

It's hard when your DC wants to go to others' houses, but an invite is never forthcoming, despite that DC having been to yours. My DS used to ask me to ask the parents if he could go to their house, but of course you can't do that and I had to gently explain that you can't invite yourself to other people's houses!

Whsthappensnow · 24/01/2024 09:45

I have 2 DC. My son is 7 my daughter is 9. Neither of them are invited for play dates anywhere.

I live in a town centre and a couple of times if there's events in town people will want to park at my house and then all back to mine afterwards. Its never reciprocated.

When I feel like doing something with other mums and kids I'll post on social media saying does anyone fancy doing this. Sometimes they do sometimes they don't.

It's my son's birthday in half term and birthday parties are when they all tend to get together but the invites are a bit thin on the ground now and some people have told me they're not bothering anymore so I might make the next one the last one. Dd's best friend has asked if she can come over after the party. It will be the 3rd time we've hosted her and we've not had an invite to thiers.

I am ott with the hospitality though because I'm still fairly new to the area.

MumHereAgain2023 · 24/01/2024 10:24

I have to say I find other kids annoying Xmas Blush so don't really do play dates. Happy to go to a park but having other dc in your home is just painful.

GertrudePerkinsPaperyThing · 24/01/2024 10:28

Not very often. I think some parents just can’t bring themselves to do play dates! I don’t really love doing them, dread them when they’re coming up, although it’s usually fine once the child is here. It’s the thought of it.

Thats said, I’m the person who does actually do them because my son loves them so much. So you have to just do it, don’t you?

GETTINGLIKEMYMOTHER · 24/01/2024 10:32

A dd had this, with a child who’d been for play dates many times, but hers was never invited back.
Eventually she was sufficiently annoyed to ask the other mother (politely enough) why.
She fully admitted that it was basically because she just couldn’t be arsed.

Newnamesameoldlurker · 24/01/2024 10:33

It's not you OP- like pp I am also always the one inviting others for playdates. For a while I stopped and waited to be invited back to make it reciprocal, but it didn't happen and my DC got upset that playdates weren't happening. As per pp its also not just one mum in my case but many. I hate always having to be the one to arrange and host them but I'll do it for my DC's sake.

Talkwhilstyouwalk · 24/01/2024 10:38

It's tricky, we used to do a lot of play dates in year 1 and 2 but now that dd is in year 3 we've done far fewer because she does different sports/activities every evening except Wednesday and needs some down time as well.

So it could be that people are just busy but I agree that after going to someone else's more than a couple of times it is time to reciprocate!!

Isthisit2 · 24/01/2024 10:53

I don’t get this either op ,I have three kids and genuinely love having their friends over and do it often if my kids want. I don’t mind really if they invite back tbh and kids are happy to see them here .
I do think parents of multiple kids can be hugely busy with different activities at the weekend . Does your dc have siblings? The reason I ask (also I really don’t agree with this btw as I don’t see play-dates as childcare ) is that I think parents of multiple dcs can be well aware that a play date for someone with 1 child means hours of time “off” or a break which can be nice tbh 😂 and not for them the other way …. I’ve actually heard several parents of multiples comment on it so if they have siblings invite them too! It’s something that did occur once to my dh and I as a parents of an only dropped off and said they were going for brunch in town and we were like “oh yea you’re free now”…… But it was fleeting and we are more than happy to keep inviting as our dcs enjoy it .
I get thought that inviting a sibling might not work and you shouldn’t have to blah blah but could be nice. I actually do invite siblings but no one’s ever going to have my three over tbh 😂 But it can work well and gives the parents an actual break .
That’s just something I’ve come across and heard mentioned by other parents . I’d keep inviting people if your son enjoys it.

TerroristToddler · 24/01/2024 11:54

My DS (also 7!) very very very rarely invited to playdates and we also never invite anyone here tbh.

Both me and DH work FT, so DS is at after-school club most nights until 5:30ish and at grandparents' the other evening. This just leaves the weekend.... except the weekend is filled with swimming lessons for DS and his little brother, seeing family, doing the household jobs that I haven't had a chance to do all week whilst working. And also trying to fit in some fun family time with the kids too.

Put simply, we just don't have the time.

Even if DS is invited to a playdate in the week it is actually a pain for us as playdates tend to end at 5ish but I'm not able to collect him till 5:30 earliest (so have to leave work earlier than usual), plus we end up paying for his afterschool club spot which he then doesn't attend etc.

ComtesseDeSpair · 24/01/2024 11:59

I think it’s a bit unreasonable to expect invitations back tbh. If you want reciprocal play dates / childcare then you need to establish with the other children’s parents that this is your aim and gauge whether they are interested in taking turns. Otherwise, you voluntarily inviting other children to your house shouldn’t come with a sense of obligation for people who don’t have time or don’t want other children in their house to offer an invitation back.

YouJustDoYou · 24/01/2024 12:03

My middle one (9) has only been invited to one once, but she's not bothered. We tend to do parks where possible. They've had horrible experiences with other kids coming over to our houses and so they're not really "into" house vists etc.

JustMarriedBecca · 24/01/2024 12:03

People work. I have one night a week where the kids can have playdates. It also depends on the Year group I think. My daughter's year, no one has playdates anymore. My son (younger) is somewhere or has people here 3 times this week 🙈
Playdates also decrease along with party invites as they get older.
I'd not worry

OnlyFoolsnMothers · 24/01/2024 12:10

Ive hosted a few play dates and less than half have reciprocated - nothing to do with my child. I think it’s a combo of parents not wanting to host/ filling their weekends with extra curricular activities.
I think it’s sad as my child going to other peoples homes is a bit of a life skill.

jarwoo · 24/01/2024 12:14

We don't host playdates - I can't be dealing with the hassle of having people over. We prioritise family time and clubs too (clubs 5 days a week for one child or another, so only weekends are free but we have family activities booked months in advance). I wouldn't mind meeting in parks, but it often leads to an expectation of being invited back to someone's house. But we wouldn't repeatedly accept playdate offers knowing we wouldn't reciprocate, that would feel rude.

noooooooo · 24/01/2024 12:19

I used to be the one who hosted all the time but I got fed up with it. As other PPs have said, some people can’t be arsed (like anyone can) or are too busy (understandable). I am more inclined now to invite my youngest DD’s friends to activities she’d already be doing, like a game of badminton or offer to take them round the shops and have a milkshake (only if I’m going anyway). Works quite well because it’s a novelty. Agree hosting and being a guest are life skills, we’re all getting weirder 🤪

Lifeisapeach · 24/01/2024 12:27

I’m not a play date mum and I openly admit it to the people who have my kids over on occasion.

husband and I work full time and rarely home before 6pm. Evenings can then be filled with chores or clubs. Weekends again can be filled with clubs and in the odd event we have a free day/evening we spend it ourselves or with family and close friends and their kids.

If I was a Sahm or part time (or have less kids… we have 3!) things would be different. My kids still get invited places and we have sleepovers on birthdays and stuff but play dates are just not the norm for us and that’s ok.

I wonder if those up for play dates have less children, or work less than those not doing play dates?

Hooplahooping · 24/01/2024 12:30

I think a lot of people are embarrassed about the state of their houses / don’t feel confident about hosting.

I grew up in a home where it was modelled to me continuously how to entertain / look after people in my space. I therefore feel pretty relaxed about it, have go to activities / snacks / systems to keep things tidy.

I am also lucky enough to have a nice house, and I care about interiors a lot so even when it’s a bit untidy it still looks well put together.

I know when I was renting during a renovation project and my rental space was quite chaotic I felt horrible about it + didn’t want to invite people over unless I knew them really well already.

I definitely wouldn’t take it personally. But do keep hosting - it’s such a gift to your children to instill in them an ability to open their home and be comfortable and generous with their space.

Perhapsanorhertimewouldbebetter · 24/01/2024 12:32

I remember one girl in my son's class who used to come and let us know when she was available to come to our house - he'd been to hers a few times, with and without me, so we had over a few times (even though weren't overly keen). She was such hard work though and DS always found her a little challenging, so we gradually stopped accepting offers! DS preferred to play with friends at the park, at the pool, at other random events outside the home, girls or boys.

OnlyFoolsnMothers · 24/01/2024 12:41

I wonder if those up for play dates have less children, or work less than those not doing play dates? probably a bit- I would say I think a lot of parents fill their children’s days with too many clubs, imo to avoid the downtime they have to entertain them.

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