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Playdate Etiquette?

My niece is 5yo. She had a playdate the other day with a little girl from her school. The little girls mother just dropped her off and left for a few hours to do errands. All went well, but now it's my niece's turn to go to the little girls house. My sister-in-law, however, does not want to simply drop her off and leave. How should she tell the other little girls mom that my niece can come over to play, but that she, my sister-in-law, will be staying too?

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Asked by cindycindy at 4:26 PM on Apr. 16, 2010 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Level 1 (3 Credits)
Answers (11)
  • tell her just that... that if the girls will be playing together frequently, she would like to stay and get to know the mom before she leaves her alone there

    Answer by peanutsmommy1 at 4:27 PM on Apr. 16, 2010

  • once they're older a kid going to a friend's house isn't a playdate anymore....

    we've had many kids over and none of the parents.

    if you invite her for coffee, then its obviously mom and kid invited.

    but no, moms don't get to go with their older kids.

    Answer by Anonymous at 4:29 PM on Apr. 16, 2010

  • I agree just tell her. My daughter has a BDay party and when I called the little girls mom I asked her if she wanted any help supervising or if any other mothers were going to stay and she said whatever made me more comfortable.
    (Being 38.5 weeks pregnant I'll go back and get her rather than stay) :)
    Parents should be considerate of other parents feeling and comfort levels.

    Answer by southernstyle88 at 4:36 PM on Apr. 16, 2010

  • Thank you, these answers are very helpful. I'll talk to my sister-in-law and let her know what everyone thinks.

    Answer by cindycindy at 4:37 PM on Apr. 16, 2010

  • I guess she could ask, but then the other mother will sort of have to be ready to "entertain" her rather than just having your niece over to play, maybe they should just play at your SILs house for now?

    Answer by 6IrishKiddos at 11:30 PM on Apr. 16, 2010

  • She should ask nicely if it's OK if she stays the first time. Just say that her daughter sometimes gets uncomfortable in strange places. I would keep it short the first time and then let the girl go alone after that unless of course they really hit it off and the other mom starts inviting her round for coffee. Having a kid over is entirely different from having a kid and a mom over. I don't mind my son having friends over because it's actually a little easier for me since they occupy each other and I can get other stuff done. If a mom stays you sit around drinking coffee which is all well and good if that's what you want to do but not great if you have a busy schedule that day.

    Answer by RhondaVeggie at 6:59 PM on Apr. 17, 2010

  • I expect if my child has a play date that the other parent is staying as well. I am not a free baby sitter. I am also not the one who needs to correct the other child if his or her behavior is a little off that day. If this were me I would just call the other parent and tell them I am staying to watch how my child interacts with her child. Plus I like to take pictures of my child with his friends. I make it clear I do not post them on FB or any other place. I even give copies of them to the other parent. I have never had any parent who just dropped of the kid and left. How interesting.  I would have to say if that were me I wouldn't pursue another play date with this child.  Maybe the kid is an excellent child but I have to have a responsible parent too.


    Answer by frogdawg at 10:27 PM on Apr. 17, 2010

  • I agree with letting the parent know that you'd like to stay to help your daughter be comfortable. I don't think grade school is necessarily the time for unsupervised first visits, at least not knowing that I can be there for my daughter. I think I'd like to get to know them a little bit better than "our girls go to school together" first as well.

    Answer by tyheamma at 12:46 AM on Apr. 18, 2010

  • frogdawg, how old is your child? I am assuming quite young, because I cannot fathom having the parents over each time my daughter plays. However, she is 8. When she was 5ish, I would definitely stay for a while the first few times to make sure DD was comfortable and make sure I got to know the parents, but always left after 30 minutes or so. Once I knew and trusted the parents, I was comfortable dropping DD off at a friend's house for a few hours and having children dropped off at my house. Staying was always for my benefit and not hers. She has always been independent, but I am very careful about who my daughter spends time with. I still make sure to meet and converse with the parents of any new friends DD makes.

    OP, your sister should just tell the other parent that her daughter sometimes gets uncomfortable in new places and she would like to stay to keep an eye on her for awhile.

    Answer by Kylie819 at 2:05 PM on Apr. 18, 2010

  • There is a vast difference in having a child over to play with your child and being expected to interact with the mother of that child for the duration of the playtime! Does that mean the two mothers would have to enjoy each other's company as well? I could see this for preschool age children, but not beyond that. If the mom wants to get to know the other mother before dropping her child off, then she should invite her over for coffee or tea and just get comfortable that way. It is more awkward to invite herself over to the other mother's house.

    Answer by BJoan at 3:32 PM on Apr. 18, 2010

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