Advertisement

Wanna Play? Navigating Playdate Etiquette


How do you get started in the world of playdates? When babies are small, if you have an established community of your own friends with similarly aged babies, playdates are straightforward. They’re basically mom coffee dates with tag-a-long snuggles. Low-stakes library story times and similar walk-in events can make things easy, too. 

But once school starts, the world of playdates seems to shift dramatically. Suddenly, mom is no longer calling the shots, although she is still required to initiate the actual social contact. 

Maybe for more extroverted people this comes easily or naturally, but as for me it’s been work, and I’m never quite sure I’m doing it correctly or to the benefit of my daughters. I started thinking about and drafting this post pre-pandemic, but I think my questions still apply in our current weird time and space.

As my oldest started second grade, her teacher was very concerned about her socializing. Consultations with the school guidance counselor–and advice from other veteran parent friends–suggested more playdates, specifically with her classmates. One teacher friend suggested we should be with a classmate at least every weekend, an idea that made me want to dissolve in a puddle. Taking care of my own children and balancing all our family activities was enough without adding in others!

But anything for my girls. First up was the deep end–a sleepover. This wasn’t a complete disaster, but none of us got much sleep. We were SO BUSY pre-COVID, and our weekends became jam packed. I know other families in our school are too. Add in multiple children, and the simple time availability for playdates shrinks considerably. 

How do you go about asking the friend from school to come over for a playdate? What about carpool? I don’t have a minivan or any extra seating to safely haul other children home from school or between activities. Should I get a minivan to help my elementary student’s social life?!

When I was a kid growing up in Nowhere, Oklahoma, playdates weren’t a regular occurance. We might play with a friend, but it would always be at the convenience of adults–child care assistance or similar. There were neighbor kids, but no other girls our ages, and I had my sister as a constant playmate. My daughters have each other, and for the most part do play together despite their more than four year age difference.

Now the world is upside down, and playdates look so different. Different families are at varying comfort levels when it comes to playing together in person. Our family tends to be more on the outside-playdates-are-preferred side of things, and I’ve certainly come off as rude by sharply saying, “No you can’t go inside and play in Daughter’s room.” 

As with everything, time changes things. Now a third grader, our oldest is a bit more socially fluid and has found friends even if she doesn’t see them in person much beyond school. Girl Scouts has been a boon to us as well, allowing us to connect with other families in our school.

How are you managing pandemic playdates or just playdates in general? Do you have any advice for this introverted mama who needs help navigating the social worlds of two littles? My four year old seems to be a social butterfly powerhouse and begs regularly for playdates, but I know her friends’ parents even less than my big girl!

Be the first to review this item!


Bookmark this

12 Nov 2020


By Mari Walker

Recent Articles more articles

Joyful Reads from April

in Joy Holden

Hello! I’m Joy, and I love to read. I consider it my greatest talent and favorite hobby. Another one of my preferred pastimes is recommending books to anyone who is the least bit curious. Seriously. I am always volunteering book recs to people near m

The 9th Annual Shield of Hope Gala

in Sponsored Content

Join The Salvation Army of Greater Baton Rouge for a night of fun with The Chase Tyler Band and Julio Melara for the 9th annual Shield of Hope Gala on May 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the L'Auberge Casino and Hotel Events Center.

When Children Ask Questions

in Faith

Children ask the most interesting questions about God. It is easy to dismiss these questions, but that isn’t beneficial for their walk with Christ. As a parent, it is your job to disciple them as they grow in their relationships with Christ. That mea

Summer Jobs: 8 Easy Ways Teens Can Earn Cash

in Things To Do, Family Life

Summertime is almost here, which means summertime boredom is right around the corner. It won’t be too long before your teen or tween starts complaining about having nothing to do. However, there’s a solution to speeding up those dog days of summer: g

Advertisement
Newsletter