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Play dates for elementary school age kids

I have a 1st grader and it seems that we are always being asked to go somewhere for a play date and/or to host a play date at our home. I am a single full-time working mom and I don't think that it's necessary to have play dates during the week. When I get home I have plenty to with making dinner, doing homework, spending quality time with my son, bath time, reading and then bedtime. He spends Saturdays with his dad and I plan fun activities for he and I on Sundays. At the age of 7 I don't feel that it's necessary to have extra child socializing time when I barely get to spend enough time with him. How do other working 1st grade moms feel about this topic?

Am I depriving my son from forming friendships after school? One mom told me that I am too strict in not allowing my son to have play dates after school and on the weekends. I feel that the time I do have with him should be time he and I spend together.

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Asked by mimintony at 9:30 PM on May. 16, 2010 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

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Answers (9)
  • This is interesting. I have this trouble too, usually from parents with only kids. I understand their need to have their child play but I am with you. My kids are too darn tired and scheduled with enough things that their down time is essential. Not to mention, I hate playdates: house gets destroyed, bad manners, snack after snack, usually you have to intervene and make sure everyone is being nice. I don't know. I have well behaved kids and maybe I am asking too much from other kids, but I've had enough to know I don't like them. Maybe I started playdates too young. I find my son gets burned out in the middle of a playdate. Other parents around me have insisted on at least two hours to three for a playdate. For our family it is WAY too long. I'm for an hour and a half. Anyway, I don't think you aren't socializing your son at this age. When they find the kid they really wanna play with, you'll be more keen and skip the many.

    Answer by jeanclaudia at 9:52 PM on May. 16, 2010

  • I never do that many play dates! I would not mind if he had more just doesn't seem to work out with schedules and life. He just recently had a play date with like 4 friends but before them it was a while ago.

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:12 AM on May. 17, 2010

  • my daughter has never had a play date with a friend from school...ever!!!! shes been in school for 3 years!! so im a lil jealous!

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:14 AM on May. 17, 2010

  • Play dates stress me out. My daughter is almost 6 and she's only had two. I don't know what to expect when she goes into grade one but she'll see her friends at recess and lunch so I won't be doing playdates during the week. I'm thinking maybe one or two weekends a month, if we're not busy doing family stuff.

    Answer by drpepper73 at 10:08 AM on May. 17, 2010

  • "Extra" social time? Schools are NOT social gatherings. The kids are there to learn and spend majority of their day not being able to be "social" with their classmates. Social time has been in many cases restricted to outside recess time only. Children often get in trouble for talking to their classmates during class time or even in the hallways. Some schools even prohibit talking in the cafeteria during lunch time, because the kid only have 20 min. to actually eat; so they want them eating not talking. With that said, I understand the strain it is on you to to establish outside school activities AND have quality time with your child. The first priority is time with you! So way to go! I would however allow at least one play date per month. It doesn't have to be weekly or anymore then the once a month. That way he can get REAL social time with his friends every now and then! Is once a month doable?

    Answer by SAHMinIL2 at 12:16 PM on May. 17, 2010

  • We are kind of the opposite. We enjoy playdates. We virtual school and they are great way for the kids to spend time with the friends they make in the classes but really only get to talk with in the chat pod before the lesson starts or as pen and phone pals.. If your kid is okay with it I wouldn't stress what other parents say. If he wants it then maybe once or twice a month on the weekends. It might give you some needed me time as well.

    Answer by Liansmommie at 4:23 AM on May. 20, 2010

  • I know how you feel because I have 3 children at totally different age levels, a toddler, preschooler and 3rd grader. I also work full time and my husband works 3 jobs and is often not home for days at a time. Even when he is home I get ZERO help with the kids. Its hard. I would get home at 5 and the kids would be crying to eat already. We would eat and be done by 6 maybe, then homework would take another hour and by 7 its often dark out. Because I worked full time I didnt get to go to all the schools functions and meet other moms. My older son did miss out on a lot! Now that Im home on an extended maternity leave I see all the things the other kids do and the moms all know each other from kindergarten on, so its kind of cliquish. Now my son does Kung Fu, Garden Club etc that he couldnt do while I was working and hes loving it. I feel bad that I have to go back to work in September, but you do what you gotta do :(

    Answer by FDNYwife at 6:57 AM on May. 20, 2010

  • I think it is really important for kids to have friends over to their homes to play one on one at times....I agree it doesn't have to be excessive, though! Think about it from the kids' point of view.....this is something they really need to do! You can find a happy medium....compromise....maybe a "playdate" ( I never got into that word, personally, prefer to call it "having a friend over") once or twice a month...whatever works for you. But, it is important so don't overlook it altogether!

    Answer by BJoan at 8:09 AM on May. 20, 2010

  • Are you kidding me ? I can't believe that you all think that allowing your child to have one play date a month is generous on your part. I understand if you work full time. Your kids are probably in after school care and have been playing all afternoon. And when you work full time, family time is such a rare commodity. But if you are not working full time, you need to think about a few things. Do you physically run around with your child every day ? Do you play imaginary games with your child every day ? Because if you are not you are depriving them of things that only other children can give them. And I personally think this should happen on a daily basis. When I was a kid all I had to do was walk out my front door, every day !, and I would play. Not all day, just maybe for an hour or so. And I had three siblings. Open your childrens world. Have a playdate, ohh....once a week. And during the summer maybe everyday. 60 mins !

    Answer by SuesTheBoss at 12:37 AM on Jul. 31, 2011

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