Post # 1
My fiance and I always talk about how different playdates are now from when we were children. “Playdate” meant dropping your child off at a friends home for the afternoon, and then picking them up at the end.
Now parents almost always stay for the duration. In our experience anyway. Which makes playdates much more complicated because I feel the need to entertain the adult. Sometimes its nice and I make a friend. But often times it is simply awkward.
Even at Birthday Parties every single parent stays for the duration.
We are comfortable dropping our daughter off as long as we know the parents, have their phone number, etc. Our little one is very independent an does not get any sort of separation anxiety. But we often will just stay the whole play date because we don’t want to be judged as “neglectful” lol. Same goes for Birthday parties. (Our little girl is 6 btw.)
I like to think we are offering the other parents the favor of a free afternoon when inviting their child over for a play date, But I gues this just isn’t the way to world works anymore!
What are your experiences with this? Do you drop your child off, or stay the whole time? Do you stay the whole time simply because you don’t wan to look like a “bad parent?”
Post # 3
I’m not a parent yet but I never imagined that if two kids wanted to play at 6 years old the parents all had to hang out. Strange! I’d be like, you can drop them off and go away now thanks lol
Post # 4
@MsJ2theZ: In our area that is the expectation. You don’t technically have to “hang out.” But I feel weird having another adult sitting on my couch reading a book while I work in the office.
It is a big inconvinience for sure at times and makes me not want to have playdates with certain friends of our little girl. Which is horrible, I know! But I’d be lying if I said it didn’t
Post # 5
@freshflowers: I feel you! My son is 6 and I have just started doing the drop off at parties thing. I admit I only did it when i realized other parents were doing it because I didn’t want to be looked down on as a Bad Mom for not staying. At 5 I wouldn’t have, but at 6 I think the time is starting where each kid doesn’t need their parent right on top of them for things to go smoothly. Also? I have my own friends and don’t wanna be forced to chit chat with some random Mom. I work long hours, I want to spend my free time with my actual friends and family.
Post # 6
@mixtapehearts: Oh gosh. The things we do to not look like “bad moms”
The other thing is, I know and trust the other parents at our school to help out our little girl if she gets a bloody nose or something at a birthday party. I really do. They are all nice enough people that I know on a semi-personal level.
It takes a village to raise a child, right?
But its a parenting choice, like anything else.
Post # 7
My parents always stayed when I was a kid. Even during my first couple years of high school, they wouldn’t drop me off somewhere unless they came in and met the parents. They were pretty overprotective.
Post # 8
Depends on the age. Baby/Preschool…stay and socialize. School age….drop off.
Post # 9
When they’re little, sure stay. I get that. But at 6? Yeah, no. As long as you know the parents and know that they’re decent people, I think it’s fine to drop them off. Maybe they also think it’s a bit silly but dont’ want you to judge them for not staying! lol. I would probably just say something when I invite their kid over, “Hey Mary, you know, if you have something you’d like to get done I don’t mind if you just drop Suzy off.” Hopefully it will start a pattern where you can do the same thing.
Post # 10
@freshflowers: No we don’t hang out, for our area a play date is so the parent of the child being dropped off can go do something here or there.
Post # 11
@Mrs.LemonDrop: I have had that thought too. That all the parents are sitting there thinking the same thing and wishing they could leave. Maybe one day I will muster u the courage and just mention it.
But I really think that the parents at our school really do WANT to stay. We drop the hints when we invite them that they can go run an errand or something, but they still show up!
We go to a very small private school, so I am sure that has an influence.
Post # 12
@freshflowers: I stay usually but only because my son is 16 months old and can’t really talk for himself yet. Besides, who wants to change other people’s kid’s diapers lol. Once in a while one of our group of friends will watch the kids while the other goes out, but that’s not really a “playdate” persay. When he is older, guessing around 3-4, I will be happy to drop him off as long as I know the parents.
Post # 13
@freshflowers: At 6-7 is about when the staying stopped. I’m not at all surprised that most parents stayed for a 6 year old’s birthday party.
Post # 14
@freshflowers: I don’t have any kids yet, but I feel like there is a difference between a “playdate” and “having a friend over to play”. To me playdate implies it’s a get together for kids and parents, where having a friend over to play is just the child. Maybe just changing the wording when inviting them over instead of “I was wondering if you were available for a playdate” you could say “DD was wondering if ____ could come over and play today”. To me that is the equivalent of a wedding invitation only addressed to the parents instead of “& family”…
But like others have said, it makes sense for the parents to slowly stop hanging out once their child gets to a certain age.
Post # 15
Isn’t the point of a playdate to have the child learn to socialize with other kids outside of a structured environment? Why would parents hover for something like that? Babies, I get, but older than 3 or 4?
I never liked parents staying for birthday parties either, unless the kids were too young to behave.
Post # 16
When I was young, we “had friends over to play” and that meant they got dropped off. Right now, I stay (my little guy is 1.5), but I also occasionally make arrangements to drop him off so I can go to work for a bit, and then do the same for their kiddo later in the week so mom has some time off. But we don’t call that a playdate.
Once my kiddo is 4 or 5, I’ll probably leave most of the time. I think it’s important for him to solve problems without my assistance, as long as there is SOME adult there to help. I think once the kid is completely verbal, drop-off play is great. On the other hand, if I really like the mom, we might still plan a playdate together to chat.
ETA: The trend of staying at birthday parties is something I’ve watched develop. Starting in high school, I hosted BDP at a nonprofit that I now run. Any parties for kids ages 3/4 and up used to mostly be drop-off (other than family of the birthday kid). Now even 6 year-old parties tend to have parents hanging around. I would like to see that trend reverse. BDPs have become more about parents than the kids these days. (Obviously there are exceptions).