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Playdates.....does anyone else worry about leaving kids with complete strangers?

99 replies

neverknowinglyunderdressed · 09/01/2009 16:54

I've got twins who are comming up to 5. They started school in the summer in a new area so we dont know anyone.

We have had one school friend here so far, once. He happened to be son of the mum i am most friendly with. Her husband is a teacher so i think that kinda allayed my fears.

Today 3 diff sets of parents asked if my kids could come over for a play date. One in particular was quite pushy so i said yes. I dont know her or her husband at all. I feel weird about letting a stranger pick them up from school and take them to her house. I know my DH feels the same way.

The arrangment is for Monday after school. Am i being silly?

OP posts:
abigproblem · 09/01/2009 16:59

i feel the way you do but my kids love playdates so i let them go

Hulababy · 09/01/2009 17:01

You do get used to it.

The first few times then yes, it does feel odd. But other than going with them, which def round here isn't the done thing, or banning them, which I doubt the children would be happy about, there is no way round it.

I think many people feel this way initially though.

Fimbo · 09/01/2009 17:01

I always used to go on the playdate too when my dd was that age. I just used the excuse she was a bit shy of strangers. Nobody minded and was actually a good way of making new friends yourself.

nailpolish · 09/01/2009 17:02

let them go but phone her half an hour after she picks them up

go earlier than arranged and have a cup of tea and a chat with her


ask if you can come along too for the first time. make an excuse that your children prefer it.

nailpolish · 09/01/2009 17:03

maybe not phone but send a text

i do - just say "how is dd getting on?" or whatever

neverknowinglyunderdressed · 09/01/2009 17:35

This is making me feel slightly better. One of the parents was a dad. Seems contrary to all parenting wisdom to let them go off with strange man!

OP posts:
EggheadHilary · 09/01/2009 20:07

To begin with I would go but then ds1 was in a preschool setting when we went to someone else's house for lunch.

When he started reception he got a best friend and he was invited for tea, I just made it clear that I expected to be told who would be there at the house and luckily the Mum told me that she had looked into being a childminder so both her and her husband had been CRB checked.

I also talked to her quite a lot in the playground so felt like I knew her a bit better.

Don't we al constantly leave our children with strangers, I mean teachers are total strangers!

27 · 09/01/2009 20:11

I dont think you are unreasonable to think about this. I wouldnt let them go to the house of someone I didnt know reasonably well.

I think if you feel unconfortable about it then call off the playdate and say one of the kids is a bit ill or something. You might feel more comfortable doing it later on when you know the parents better.

If the parent has a job that I know means an enhanced disclosure I do find that reassuring.

ClementFreudsGreatestAdmirer · 09/01/2009 20:13

i just get to know the parents in the playground and ask to come with her due to shyness. also when i'm inviting for the first time i always offer for the mum/dad to come too. is good fun!

Katiestar · 09/01/2009 20:13

EggheadBetty- Ah but were they telling the truth? If they were child axe-murderers looking for their next victims wouldn't they spin a line like that ?

tigermoth · 09/01/2009 20:25

Playdates with barely known families are part of school life, yet I can totally see why you'd feel a bit odd about it if it is new to you.

Can you say that your twins may take a while to settle so can you stay for the first 10 mins just to make sure they know the house rules?

If you don't feel comfortable with being that obvious, when you drop off your twins, linger in the hallway and chat for a few minutes with the host parents- give them some info like 'just letting you know that ds had a cold last week, he's better now, but still has a bit of a cough and dd hates anything containing cheese.' etc or the gambit 'What do you think of their class teacher?' is a surefire way to get a conversation started.

IME any parent who is happy to host a playdate with an unknown child would want to get to know their parents a little and take the opportunity to talk to you.

If they are not interested in doing this, bad luck! But you have a right to ask questions - what the children will be doing, if the host parent is intending to feed them, so don't be put off.

magicfarawaytree · 09/01/2009 20:42

i never let my child go to another parents house by themselves at that age. I always made sure the asker knew that I would be coming too. - 'love to..' 'that would be lovely, would you like us to bring anything with us.....

AnneOfAvonlea · 10/01/2009 19:55

My DD has been on several playdates. I have been there too . It has been a good way of making some new friends. Eventually I will let her go on her own but not yet.

HaventSleptForAYear · 10/01/2009 19:59

It never occured to me to be nervous about this kind of thing til I started reading mn...

Plus you have twins so they can stick together and will be more than fine.

SummerNights · 10/01/2009 21:58

I don't think I would let mine go with complete strangers - luckily I got to know most parents of their friends well enough early on either by inviting them home, or in the playground with the kids playing together after school.

Definitly go with them the first time - the parent should not be surprised and it will give you a chance to get to know them. When you see her in the morning on Monday just tell her that is what you prefer, maybe say one of the twins has been a bit under the weather or something if she seems a bit surprised?

Have fun!

seeker · 10/01/2009 22:09

"This is making me feel slightly better. One of the parents was a dad. Seems contrary to all parenting wisdom to let them go off with strange man!"

I was going to comment on this, but I find that words fail me.

gladders · 12/01/2009 11:01

erm. am confused. these people are parents of your children's friends and you are concerned they might be what exactly?
where will this all end? will we all have to be CRB checked and get some kind of public liability insurance before inviting our kids friends back for tea?????

NotADragonOfSoup · 12/01/2009 11:11

Really, some of you really need to take a step back and stop being so paranoid. I bet the parents would be delighted to know you think they are likely to, I don't know, murder your child whilst they are on a playdate at their house

I went on DS1's 1st playdate only becasue the mother invited me as well. I would never take it upon myself to go along otherwise when the invite is clearly only for my child. the last thing I would want when going through the Friend For Tea nightmare is the other parent hanging around TBH.

CatMandu · 12/01/2009 11:21

What gladders said - you're all totally ott.

throckenholt · 12/01/2009 11:26

a dad at school pickup means he is a hands on dad - I would think that a positive thing .

If I was being really wavery I would say - they are a bit nervous with new people and places - would it be ok with you if I dropped them off the first time - that way you get to take them and know where they are going and meet the people there.

HaventSleptForAYear · 12/01/2009 12:40

Phew - some others who are as "negligent" as me about this sort of thing.

Heifer · 12/01/2009 12:56

No I wouldn't let DD (just 5) go to someones house that I don't know and I wouldn't invite someones child round to ours that I didnt know.

At DDs school the invites tend to be between the mums that have gotten to know eachother first in the playground, and the invite is to both child and parents.

Now after a few months of knowing these people I would happily have the child over on their own, but still wouldn't invite children whose parents I haven't chatted to.

If DD wanted someone to go over who I hadn't met then I would ask the mum if she wanted to come around for a coffee after school and then the children can play and I can get to know the mum.

When I refuse to let DD go to someones house I don't know, it is not because I think they will murder/hurt her, but I want to know that they have similar rules, outlook to me as I have to be able to trust the parent, to know that she will be looking after MY DD properly.

Tis the same with birthday parties, I was quite shocked that a couple of parents just left their 4/5 year old with me, when I had never spoken to them before. I would never do that.

gladders · 12/01/2009 13:08

so heifer, if they come over for coffee and turn out to not have the same outlook as you, do you then stop your child from going over there??

the OP set the scenario that she received the invitations from the parents - so presumably she does at least recognise them.

these are people with children in your dc's class, am still struggling to know what could go so badly wrong in an hour or so after school?

Heifer · 12/01/2009 13:16

There is certainly one child in DDs class that I would not let DD go back to without me being there. That is the truth. If she got an invite then I would seriously have to consider declining or if DD REALLY wanted to be friends with the child then I would say that DD wanted me to be there, so would it be ok for me to stay..

I don't mean a slightly different out look to mine, but there are some people who parent badly and I don't want DD to be looked after by these people.

And as for what can possible happen in a couple of hours, well I don't want DD to watch unsuitable dvds, play unsuitable play station games, hear the parents swear, have people smoking around her, letting her playing outside in the street/playground without supervision etc. there are loads of things. She is only 5, not old enough to look after herself so I want to know that someone else is.

Oh and yes she is my PFB and an only child to boot...

aideesmum · 12/01/2009 14:00

Call me paranoid if you like but I wouldn't let my child go to anyones house where I don't know the parents. DS will only be 4 when he starts school in September 2009. I would go along for the first few visits until I'm happy to leave him there.
that people do when their children are so young.

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