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When did playdates stop including both parents?

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
My dd is 4 and she has now been invited to 4 playdates in which it is either implicitly stated or implied that they just want her to come alond (and not her parents). These are all kids from dd's school and I've met all of the parents. She's gone to that school for 2 years now, and I see the parents at various drop-off and pick-up times, school parties, soccer games, etc. However, I don't really feel like I know them well enough to just drop off my child to play without me being there. I've never been to any of their homes. I guess that is the major thing. My DH says I should be proactive and invite them over first, but I guess I have some social anxieties. Plus-I'm afraid that just means they'll drop their kids off (which I don't really mind), but that won't help me with getting to know the parents any better. It's not that I think any of these people are bad people or anything. I just don't really know them.

So, how old were your children when you started dropping them off at friends' houses to play? How well did you know that parents? Any suggestions on how to handle these situations?
post #2 of 37
Why not invite the family over for a dinner so that you can meet them & see the kids playing together?
post #3 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by WifeMomChiro View Post
So, how old were your children when you started dropping them off at friends' houses to play? How well did you know that parents? Any suggestions on how to handle these situations?
Age four seems young to me.
My daughter was invited without me or her brother last year at age five. I was a wreck. It turned out fine and I now know the mother well. I was honest with the mother that I was nervous and I was able to visit with her on the phone prior to the date and at her house at the end of the play time. Since then, my children have been at neighbors' houses a couple of times to play without my attendance and at this point I worry more that they will not be on their best behavior. So, it is not a common occurrence for us yet at age 6. We’ve still never dropped off for a birthday party but I believe many parties become drop-off type around age five.
post #4 of 37
Unless we were friends and wanted to hang out, I dropped my kids off at 4. Some parents I didn't know super well, but we were all at the same little preschool and I felt comfortable with all of them. To be honest, I wasn't all that interested in getting to know the other parents beyond the basics. I wasn't looking for more friends myself and was just happy that ds was having some fun social time. He thought it was super grown-up to go on playdates without me and loved it.
post #5 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbsam View Post
We’ve still never dropped off for a birthday party but I believe many parties become drop-off type around age five.
Don't tell me that! Seriously, the 5-year-old b-day parties start the next two weekends. One invitation said that parents are welcome to stay and play. The other did not. DD was so excited about both parties, so I RSVPed yes to both of them. Those are not the playdate invites btw.

Sweetpea- I should go ahead and admit that my #1 social anxiety is cooking food for people (other than family).

I appreciate the input. I guess part of this is that I don't really want/need more time away from my dd because I already work all week away from her. I don't want to limit her socially though, because I've never made friends easily and she seems to be quite the social butterfly.
post #6 of 37
Until I was old enough to figure out how to get to a safe phone to call for help (e.g. 12 or so), I never went to a house alone until my parents had visited it and felt okay with the adults in the family.

ETA: that means I was dropped off at playdates with some families by age 2 and my dad came with me to a birthday party when I was 10.
post #7 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by WifeMomChiro View Post
Don't tell me that! Seriously, the 5-year-old b-day parties start the next two weekends. One invitation said that parents are welcome to stay and play. The other did not. DD was so excited about both parties, so I RSVPed yes to both of them. Those are not the playdate invites btw.
The last few parties we've been to most parents dropped off. But a few parents, like me, stayed. I actually w/h dropped off at one of them which was at a house near ours but my children asked me to stay.
post #8 of 37
It depends on how well you know the family. The only people DS has playdates with are kids we know really really well. I drop him off, and he's only just 3. That will probably change as he gets older, but for right now he has playdates with my bff's son and one of the daycare kids.
post #9 of 37
I do think age 4 is rather young. Maybe though, this is because at 4, my son still wasn't happy about me leaving either! He has only just turned 5 and I still don't think he is cool with that idea.

However - I think people tend to think that once they are school age (and in school), that this is an acceptable thing to do. Perhaps because they suddenly have many more friends that they didn't have before and you don't necissarily want to be friends with the parents - but your children are friends....as before, when they were toddlers - your childrens friends tended be those children that were children of your friends. When we had babies/toddlers - we got together with our friends who had children and our children learned to play that way...whilst now, at this age, most children are in school and are making friends without us being there. Does that make sense?
post #10 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by zinemama View Post
Unless we were friends and wanted to hang out, I dropped my kids off at 4. Some parents I didn't know super well, but we were all at the same little preschool and I felt comfortable with all of them. To be honest, I wasn't all that interested in getting to know the other parents beyond the basics. I wasn't looking for more friends myself and was just happy that ds was having some fun social time. He thought it was super grown-up to go on playdates without me and loved it.
This, although I was certainly open to friendships if they developed naturally.

If I have kids over, I certainly supervise but, by age four, I also want to do my own thing and keep an eye on the kids, not entertain or make small talk with another parent for several hours.

I always wonder what it is parents are afraid will happen at another kid's house. (seriously . .. no snark ... . )
post #11 of 37
My youngest son was in the 4s class at preschool last year and I trusted all the other parents. It was his 2nd year there and we knew everyone pretty well. We did drop-off playdates and also sometimes hung out just for the mom socialization.
I can't remember when my oldest started having drop-off playdates; at 5 he definitely was going over to play at his friends' houses in the neighborhood. He didn't go to preschool so there wasn't much opportunity for that sort of friendship before then.
post #12 of 37
I would be happy enough to have left my four year old for a play-date. I find four to be quite different from three and pretty independent. I wouldn't leave my almost three year old yet unless I knew the people - it can be harder for her to communicate and she requires a lot more supervision.

I think the reason five year olds get dropped off more is that most are pretty independent. They can usually go to school all day, take direction from other adults, use the toilet, express their needs, and they know the basic rules of social behavior.

I know planning a birthday party for kids and parents at that age would seem like a lot more work. Since their could be more kids it would get really crowded, and I'd feel I had to have to feed the parents as well.

I had the opposite experience - I took my kids to a birthday where the email invite said parents could stay or drop off. I planned to go get a few groceries. But when I left I met the dad coming home and chatted, and the more I thought, the more it seemed like they really expected me to stay. So I ended up going back right after I got my essentials and found all the other parents there. I felt kind of silly.
post #13 of 37
Here's how I look at it:

I just figure I am always welcome if someone is inviting my child over or to a party. If it's a kids party, I wouldn't expect any accomodation (like grown up food) for me--but if my child was shy or having a bad day I would think the host parent would want me there to help.

Plus, I usually stay at parties because I want to get to know the other parents. DD's in kindy this year--once I've put the time in to get to now parents, I will feel fine dropping her off at their homes, but it is a process!

If it's a playdate, and someone's inviting my child over and I'm not familiar/not comfortable I might just try to switch the venue to my house, a park, or a playspace. You can always say "why don't you come over here, we can have a cup of tea or coffee and the girls can play..."

My 5 year old is pretty independent. Her school had Fall Festival this weekend, and I volunteered for two hours. I was worried about how I would handle DD while I was volunteering but she ran around the fair and playground with her friends for two hours. I honestly could not keep up and just kept an eye on her from afar. She would have been absolutely fine without me there at all, I think! And then yesterday she was at our neighbors for a few hours without me and she was fine. So she's ready--it's more about my comfort level with the hosts.
post #14 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by WifeMomChiro View Post
So, how old were your children when you started dropping them off at friends' houses to play? How well did you know that parents? Any suggestions on how to handle these situations?
Age 4/5. My son is the youngest in his class (he turned 4 in July) and it seems to have become expected over the past few months that any sort of playdates are dropoffs.

Birthday parties, it depends on what it is. The birthday party at the pumpkin patch was expected to be a dropoff (or the parents had to pay their own entry fee) while the bowling one was not.
post #15 of 37
Around here, the norm seems to be kindergarten.

Right now my DD is 3, and tbh the only kids I'd have over for a playdate are ones that I click with the parents. At some point, that doesn't really cut it though: the kids want THEIR friends and don't really care who I'm friends with. Right now, honestly, playdates are a pain in the butt. I have to make sure my house is company ready, run around after my younger child, and don't have time to make a real dinner because I'm making chit chat with another adult. I'm really looking forward to when playdates become a way for my kids to amuse themselves while I have some time to do other things and play with my other kids.
post #16 of 37
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input. I think it must be very independent for each family. As far as the b-day parties go, they are at two different inflatable play places. I would actually like to get to know the parents better and stay to chat. The one this weekend is the one that doesn't say anything about parents staying. I guess I will just play it by ear and see if parents stick around. If not, I guess I will run to Target next door and try not to think about it. I'm actually less worried at a play place than I would be at someone's house.

FWIW- My daughter is in a private Kindergarten program this year, so I think a lot of the parents are already thinking of their kids as being older.
post #17 of 37
if you want to get to know the parents then its upto you to organise something. the best i have found is playdates after school. one on one with each family.

by end of K kids were going to each others houses and bday parties alone. by then we had interacted with enough parents to 'know inherently' that the houses were safe for us to go alone even though i did not know the families intimately. dd is in 3rd grade and i still trust the parents without knowing them intimately. in fact dd has gone for sleepovers and then we've gotten to know the parents.

to each his own. i know there is still a child in dd's other 3rd grade class who is not allowed alone at playdates or even go for many playdates.

but no we did not do alone till almost end of K. and some till 1st or 2nd. depended on the child. my independent dd wanted to go by herself. not her friend. however at K no parent invited a child alone. you could choose to drop them but no it was not expected that the parent wouldnt stay.
post #18 of 37
I agree that 5+ seems to be the norm for drop-off playdates and birthday parties. Of course you shouldn't do something you aren't comfortable with - but I'd find a way to communicate with the parents, get to know them, ease your fears, etc., b/c it's coming sooner than later, yk? Unless you wanna be that parent that still hangs out for parties your 11 yr old is invited to. Not saying that is always an awful idea, but it's definitely not the norm, and I can't imagine not having something else I want to be doing, and my DD not being independent enough to be okay w/o me for a couple hours, at that point.
post #19 of 37
I always dropped my daughter off for playdates without me. But, I did know the parents. I made sure she could swim before dropping her off anywhere alone though.

I never left her at birthday parties alone, and I always helped at the parties. My dd wasn't very outgoing, so a large party made her uncomfortable. Plus, I feel like it's nice to stay and be helpful.
post #20 of 37
~4.5 is the norm here. as long as the kids are independent with toileting and not needing mama all the time. The pd's aren't that long - 2-3 hrs. No, I don't have the expectation for the other parent to stay nor do I wish it. We jokingly refer to these playdates as 'babysitting by playdate' - kids are busy, moms get to do other kids, the other mom gets to run around and do errands, everyone's happy. I've not had anything go amiss or wierd with 2 kids starting pds at this age.
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