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#1 of 37 Old 10-04-2010, 12:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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?

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#2 of 37 Old 10-04-2010, 12:31 AM
 
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Why not invite the family over for a dinner so that you can meet them & see the kids playing together?
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#3 of 37 Old 10-04-2010, 12:39 AM
 
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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.
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#4 of 37 Old 10-04-2010, 12:41 AM
 
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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.
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#5 of 37 Old 10-04-2010, 01:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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#6 of 37 Old 10-04-2010, 01:16 AM
 
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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.
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#7 of 37 Old 10-04-2010, 01:23 AM
 
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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.
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#8 of 37 Old 10-04-2010, 08:36 AM
 
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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.

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#9 of 37 Old 10-04-2010, 08:48 AM
 
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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?

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#10 of 37 Old 10-04-2010, 08:48 AM
 
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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 ... . )
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#11 of 37 Old 10-04-2010, 09:27 AM
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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.
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#12 of 37 Old 10-04-2010, 09:58 AM
 
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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.

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#13 of 37 Old 10-04-2010, 10:22 AM
 
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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.
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#14 of 37 Old 10-04-2010, 10:44 AM
 
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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.
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#15 of 37 Old 10-04-2010, 10:55 AM
 
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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.

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#16 of 37 Old 10-04-2010, 11:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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#17 of 37 Old 10-04-2010, 11:46 AM
 
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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.

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#18 of 37 Old 10-04-2010, 01:05 PM
 
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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.

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#19 of 37 Old 10-04-2010, 01:10 PM
 
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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.
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#20 of 37 Old 10-04-2010, 01:14 PM
 
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~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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#21 of 37 Old 10-04-2010, 01:19 PM
 
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Also. If I needed to get some housework done, I would "Borrow" a kid or two so my child would play with her friend and leave me alone so I could get stuff done.

I certainly didn't want the parents hanging around unless they were willing to grab a rag and help me.
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#22 of 37 Old 10-04-2010, 03:45 PM
 
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I should go ahead and admit that my #1 social anxiety is cooking food for people (other than family).
OP, this is tangential, but I just wanted to tell you that I have huge anxiety issues around this as well. I thought I was the only one!!!!
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#23 of 37 Old 10-04-2010, 04:28 PM
 
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I think at 4ish 5ish most kids are ok without their parents with them on a playdate.
In my case though, i would want to be there on the first couple of playdates. Its not that Im not afraid of leaving my newly 5yo alone with friends. Im not so much concerned about the other parents either. Its more than im interested to get to know ds' friends, and getting to know him with his friends.
I dont care particularly whether i get to know the other parents. We either have chemistry or we dont....

the whole.... 'Hold Onto Your Kids' thing....
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#24 of 37 Old 10-04-2010, 04:49 PM
 
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I'm probably weird but I'm iffy about leaving my *six* year old with strangers (to me), and even have some issues with it when it comes to DH's parents. That may be because of a bad experience when she was 4 or 5 and DH's mother let her -- and DD couldn't swim independently -- out in the ocean while she (grandma) stayed on shore! This did not sit well with me at all.

I've only recently started sending DD into public restrooms alone, though. I was coming into the stall with her when she was four (to help with clothing, mostly), and at 5, I would wait inside the restroom but outside the stall.

Maybe I'm just a clingy mom :P

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#25 of 37 Old 10-04-2010, 05:10 PM
 
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Uhhhm, my DD is almost 8 and I still don't like leaving her with "strangers". Most of her playdates are here. Or with families that we know. And I always go into the public restroom with her (I wait outside the stall). It is really difficult for me to leave her with people that I don't know well.

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#26 of 37 Old 10-04-2010, 06:49 PM
 
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We did drop off "play dates" starting around 18 months! Although I guess then you just call it having friends babysit. That's what I think of often for playdates. Ds is 3yo and on days we don't have childcare arranged and we need it, we say we are going to "find him a playdate." Which means get a friend with a similar aged child to babysit him.

Also there are definitely kids who I would have over my house for a playdate when i need to get stuff done because my kid and that kid play so well together I barely need to supervise.

But ds is only 3 and goes to a co-op preschool, so I do *know* most of the families of his friends and most/all of his really good friends I was friends with their parents before he was even born.
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#27 of 37 Old 10-04-2010, 07:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the input. It has made me evaluate what my concerns are with each individual family a little bit. I recognize that most of this is my issue, but I'm glad I'm not alone.

I got a text yesterday asking her to come over to play and that one probably would have been OK because I've met both parents and the siblings on several occasions. I think I would be pretty comfortable with that family because they all have a good "vibe" but I didn't see the text until too late.

One mom sent a note home with Lexi and I've never actually had a conversation with her because her English is rough. They all speak Hebrew & French, but their dd who is in my dd's class has picked up English. I will definitely have to get to know them better before I will feel comfortable with that one. I just don't know them at all and I'm afraid Lexi won't understand anything they say to her (because I barely understand her in casual hallway talk).

One other mother is single and really admitted that she wants time away from her daughter (while I don't really need that), so I will call her and offer to keep her dd sometime. She actually doesn't go to that school anymore, so dd will be excited to see her.

The other one is tricky and sort of a long story. Her ds has behavioral difficulties and I've talked to my dd about how to model the correct behavior for him instead of avoiding him like the other kids tend to do. He has sort of latched on to her, and his mom really loves my dd. I'm not really sure I can handle him though. I don't know. I'm going on a field trip with the class next week, so I guess we'll see how that goes before I invite him over.

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#28 of 37 Old 10-04-2010, 07:48 PM
 
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I can't really think of a time when someone I didn't really know invited my kids over for a playdate. But they were going to playdates alone from the time they were two. By their 4th birthday party I was expecting parents to drop off. I did not have time or money to entertain parents (and their other kids). Even teaching Sunday school this weekend I was annoyed at the parents who stayed. I wanted to tell them to leave because they were so in the way and making my job more difficult than the kids were. Their kids were totally fine and we are fine with kids going back to their parents. When I invited kids over for playdates it was so I could get some stuff done while my child and their child went off to play. It would have totally ruined it for me if the mom stuck around and expected to me to drop what I was doing and chit chat. I mean that was the whole point of the playdate. So I could have some free time while my child had someone to play with. (this worked out at my house or friends house)

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#29 of 37 Old 10-04-2010, 08:54 PM
 
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OP, this is tangential, but I just wanted to tell you that I have huge anxiety issues around this as well. I thought I was the only one!!!!
I like to cook, but if I am feeling overwhelmed, yet still want to host something, I just invite them over for pizza - and I make a salad.
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#30 of 37 Old 10-04-2010, 11:24 PM
 
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I just wanted to clarify that although my DDs started independent playdates at ~4.5, I knew the families well enough to trust them, mom AND dad. Not like we're all best friends and play bridge together, but enough conversations to know that they're nice, friendly, caring people. There ARE kids whose households I'm not comfortable with, and don't let my kids go over alone.

Sooooo....as long as I know the family, I'm good with independent playdates.
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