Are there/should there be rules and ettiquite for scheduling and canceling informal playdates? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums
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#31 of 40 Old 08-10-2012, 02:51 PM
 
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Im a woman of my word, with my kids, with other parents. If there is a reason i cant make it to the playdate, i would let the person know. No excuse for being inconsiderate to other people. Just because i birthed a baby doesnt mean i get to treat others with disrespect.

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#32 of 40 Old 08-10-2012, 03:15 PM
 
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I try not to cancel once things are scheduled, but I have cancelled for both sick and cranky children. I don't cancel because we just feel like doing something else though. It's rare that I cancel for cranky... maybe once-twice a year I'd say... but it happens. For most of our friends, I'd say that's similar, and my kids understand if a friend who nearly never cancels is sick or is "having a bad bad day and needs to rest." 

 

Things that aren't scheduled, but just "we're usually in x area on x afternoon, so give me a call if you want to meet up at the playground" I don't consider scheduled playdates though. Just tentative plans. 

 

We do know people who cancel or just don't show or are very very late randomly without warning though. I don't tell the kids when we have something set up with them until I know they're actually en route so we won't have to go through the repeated cancellations. I try to look at all plans with them as tentative.


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#33 of 40 Old 08-11-2012, 07:30 PM
 
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This kind of thing drives me nuts. I haven't run into it as often with 1-on-1 playdates (mostly because I rarely invite people over -- I tend to go to others' homes) but definitely with small group playdates. What often would happen is 7 people would agree to go and then 5 of them would back out and I'd be stuck with someone I didn't know well or didn't mesh well with (because I didn't want to cancel too!) Or DS and I would be the ONLY ones to show up and he'd be heartbroken! Finally I gave up and started cancelling too if I wasn't in the mood or all my good friends backed out. Then I stopped making informal playdates like that with anyone but our closest friends. Sometimes people still back out for what I would consider to be less than "good" reasons, but for the most part it's not so intolerable. The only real trouble I run into is when we make tentative plans, sometimes it's hard to gauge just how tentative those plans are, and I'm scrambling in the morning to try to get in touch with the other mom.

Anyway, I don't think it's ever appropriate to cancel on such short notice (unless mom or kids are sick or flat tire or some other emergency). I usually try to give 24 hours' notice if I need to cancel or a head's up well in advance if I think DS might be coming down with something & we might have to cancel. I find it incredibly rude to cancel the same day, even moreso AFTER the time they were supposed to arrive, and certainly not for 'shopping'!! I don't cancel for cranky, DS is always cranky & we'd never go anywhere if I cancelled every time! Plus often a change of scenery snaps him out of his (and my!) misery.

I also want to say that I do tell DS about playdates in advance, even if there's a chance they might get cancelled. He is only 3 and sure, he is really really disappointed, but I think it's important for him to get used to smaller disappointments so the bigger ones won't be such a shock. I also think it helps him learn compassion, thinking of others, etc. if I can tell him Jenny is sick or Tommy's car has a flat. Not sure what he could possibly learn from, "Sorry, they decided they'd rather go shopping," though. greensad.gif

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#34 of 40 Old 08-11-2012, 07:40 PM
 
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I have so many thoughts about this.

First, there was a time when someone asked me if I was planning to go to a play area the next day, and I said truthfully, "So far that's my plan, but it depends on a few other things." She interpreted that as us setting up a playdate, when I interepreted it as her wondering if I would be there the next day and me saying I wasn't sure. I wasn't there the next day and I was publicly scolded over that. So I'm a bit sensitive, though this happened a long time ago. But the point is, make sure you are both on the same page and are communicating the same thing.

Second, when I do actually schedule a play date, I do everything I can to be there. One of my kids is pretty much happy all the time and so if i schedule something with her, it's easy to feel pretty certain I'll make it. The other one OTOH was much more high needs and was and still is very moody. If she was having a bad day, the play date would turn horrible and I would absolutely cancel it if things weren't going well. I wouldn't just not show up - I would call as soon as it was obvious what was going on, but I hope that other parents trusted me to be the best person to judge whether she could handle a playdate. (She's older now so this is all in the past.)

So I do think there are valid non-illness reasons to cancel, and I think we should as much as we can give each other the benefit of the doubt that we're doing the best we can. OTOH if you've tried giving the other person the benefit of hte doubt and depsite trying to understand as much as you can it becomes obvious the person is flaking out on you, then just stop making playdates with them.
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#35 of 40 Old 08-11-2012, 07:53 PM
 
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Not to hijack, but I'm curious... Those of you who have/would cancel at the last minute due to a child's "bad day" -- do you say that's the reason for canceling or do you make something up?

 

I'm asking b/c I am the only one of my friends who has openly said, "Sorry, we're just not able to cooperate today, we'll have to try again another time." One of my close friends has a very spirited child but she doesn't cancel, she just struggles. Then sometimes cuts things short and is hugely embarrassed that her kid couldn't make it through the playdate nicely like all the other kids. She has accepted (on some levels, anyway) that this is just her child's way but she also relates stories of outings to me where the "end" is catastrophic (complete with screaming bloody murder, violence towards other kids/mom, some other embarrassing occurrence) so that she is completely mortified and certain that she'll never be invited to a playdate again. And it seems these things happen nearly every time they go out. So of course that'd be a lot of last minute cancellations, but she never would say that's the reason, b/c she's already embarrassed about it.

 

So it's like she's trying to pretend like her kid doesn't have bad days like that. And now this thread is making me realize that most other moms I know don't really admit to that, either. I know their kids, and the kids on the whole are amazing little things but really, they ARE human. They must be terrors SOMETIME, right? Am I throwing my son under the bus by calling it like it is?

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#36 of 40 Old 08-11-2012, 08:48 PM
 
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I would say that's the reason, though now I'm worried that maybe other moms judged me and thought it wasn't a good enough reason. But I was just being honest, and I didn't want to set her up for failure. There wasn't any point in taking her on a playdate just for her to be moody and difficult and not really play right up until she blew up and flipped out. I don't see how that would have helped the other mom or kid.
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#37 of 40 Old 08-11-2012, 10:21 PM
 
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Hmm. As the parent of an easy-to-flip-out kid, I say it would depend. Helpful, right? If my child had problems every single time, I would plan v short playdates. Like, one or two hours, max. I would let the other mom(s) know that ahead of time and tell them that dd could not handle anything longer. Nothing I could really do to change dd's temperament or attitude, kwim? So, two hours at the play place, and we go home. That was lots of fun, see you next time! Then, even if things were trying, everyone knows we're only at your house for an hour & I wouldn't have to beat myself up trying to corral an aggrivating kiddo. A lot of short playdates, sure, but a lot less cancellations. 

 

My kids would have to be acting REALLY bad for us to cancel. Mostly b/c they are happy once we get there and they see friends. Illness is always an acceptable excuse. You don't always know they are sick until they wake up & in our house we wake up between 8 & 9, so that would be a kind of last minute cancel for a 10am playdate. 


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#38 of 40 Old 08-11-2012, 11:09 PM
 
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I've had to cancel on really short notice before.  If my kids flip out as we're putting shoes or buckling up and on there's a screaming, , throwing things, hitting people tantrum there is no way I'm subjecting anyone else to that or take my kid out of the house for a few hours.  It used to take my oldest at least 30 minutes to work through a tantrum, and that was if it was mild.  Thankfully when it happened it was usually a one on one play date with a friend who has a kid who's the same way.


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#39 of 40 Old 08-11-2012, 11:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swd12422 View Post

Not to hijack, but I'm curious... Those of you who have/would cancel at the last minute due to a child's "bad day" -- do you say that's the reason for canceling or do you make something up?

 

I'm asking b/c I am the only one of my friends who has openly said, "Sorry, we're just not able to cooperate today, we'll have to try again another time." One of my close friends has a very spirited child but she doesn't cancel, she just struggles. Then sometimes cuts things short and is hugely embarrassed that her kid couldn't make it through the playdate nicely like all the other kids. She has accepted (on some levels, anyway) that this is just her child's way but she also relates stories of outings to me where the "end" is catastrophic (complete with screaming bloody murder, violence towards other kids/mom, some other embarrassing occurrence) so that she is completely mortified and certain that she'll never be invited to a playdate again. And it seems these things happen nearly every time they go out. So of course that'd be a lot of last minute cancellations, but she never would say that's the reason, b/c she's already embarrassed about it.

 

So it's like she's trying to pretend like her kid doesn't have bad days like that. And now this thread is making me realize that most other moms I know don't really admit to that, either. I know their kids, and the kids on the whole are amazing little things but really, they ARE human. They must be terrors SOMETIME, right? Am I throwing my son under the bus by calling it like it is?

I do.  Bad days are bad days and happen to everyone so I'm going to make my kid feel like they're worth lying about.  I would much rather have someone cancel on us last minute b/c it's a bad day and it's just not going to work, than to try and have a play date where at least one kid is in a bad mood or tantruming.  It's hard enough to have 2+ kids play nicely together for any length of time when they're all having good days, much less when they're not.  I have bad days and I hate going out, but I'm an adult and can work through that.  I don't expect a kid to be able to do the same.


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#40 of 40 Old 08-12-2012, 05:46 AM
 
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I just realized the OP asked about canceling because a younger sibling is cranky. Perhaps its the age of my kids, but if the kid who is cranky isn't the one "going for the playdate," I'd just call and ask if it was okay to drop off the playdate child for a bit sans cranky sibling.


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