Etiquette for playdates--some questions
It says something about our changing times that this post even exists. Back in the day, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, kids could just wander around their neighborhoods and find other kids. It was not unusual to just show up at a friend's house to play without any phone calls or pre-arrangement being done by parents. Summer days were spent wearing bathing suits traveling from one house with a pool another as beverages (and parental patience) were exhausted, all with the call, "Be home when the streetlights come on." The next time my mom sits down for coffee with one of my friends' moms in the kitchen while we play Barbies will be the first, and I'm 36.
But now, it must be done. Since this is kind of a new thing for me, I'm not sure how to go about this. It's rough, you know? Finding kids isn't as easy as it once was. Finding kids you like is harder still. Finding kids you like that get along with your own is beyond tough. I don't want my kids to miss out on friends because I forgot to bring a snack, you know?
So, here I go in no particular order.
Who arranges it? Mom to mom, or do the kids call each other? How old is a child before circumstances transition from all parental arrangement to kids? Does anyone just show up asking "Can Susie come out to play?" without calling anymore? What if you have someone over and they never invite you, or vice versa?
Where do they take place? Does it alternate? Does it depend? I mean, if one is allergic to dogs and the other has one, it's obvious. Same goes for apartment living versus 2100 square feet and a backyard... mostly. Are they initially at some common ground like a park? What if the kids--or parents--are just getting to know each other?
Does Mom have to stick around? What about siblings coming along? If your oldest is close in age to their youngest, what do you do? How many visits transpire before a child can be dropped off, and does that count as babysitting? Should the visiting child bring snacks to share or is any feeding up to the host?
How long is a typical visit? If it's a 15-minute ride over, an hour is barely time to turn around especially in the winter when you're talking boots and coats and all. But three seems a bit much and probably would include a meal, which presumes some warning for the meal preparer. I wouldn't want to send a kid home to eat, or put off our meal, when Mom is thinking it was a lunch date.
How do you other moms find friends for your kids? Like I said, it's hard. Don't tell me it's the fault of homeschooling, either. Just because the pool is bigger doesn't mean the water's any better.
Comments are open. Thank you!