Can anyone tell me what are the pros and cons of having play dates? My husband and I don't allow our children to have play dates with kids in their classroom or in the neighborhood. We have five children and I have had bad experiences with play dates in the past, therefore against play dates, slumber parties and not forcing my children to attend to a classmate's birthday party if they don't feel like it. We have three school age children and they know how we feel about playmates. We basically don't like play dates, in fact, we avoid them like the plague. I did try the play date thing a couple of times with my two oldest and honestly, I don't see what's the big deal about these play dates and all the rave now. When I did the play dates with my two oldest, they were babies and toddlers and then when they started going to school. The moms were horrible; they were only interested in gossiping about each other or tearing each other down behind each other's backs and were not interested in actually playing with their children. I'm the type of mom that actually plays with her kids, out in the park and at home, so when those moms just sat and start talking about themselves, it just made me not want to be around their company. I don't like gossip and I don't play games and that is the main reasons why I don't do the play dates anymore. When our middle child started to go to school, she asked numerous times for play dates to go to another child's house (she also knows our reasons why we are against play dates). She understands but I still felt kind of bad, so I gave in and did a couple of play dates and again, I was disappointed by the other moms. My child was invited to a Birthday party, when we got there, the moms at first did small talk and then they just went into their little circle and I was left out, it didn't bother me at all because I wasn't there to make friends. One of the moms was nice, while the others were snooty. The one nice mom wanted to do a play date with our kids and I reluctantly agreed to it. We decided to meet at a local park, during the play date, everything was nice, no issues but then when I saw the mom at school at an event; I acknowledge her and she blew me off. Yes, I was annoyed not because she blew me off but I felt like my child was used to entertain her kid on the play date and my children are not entertainers for others. So, based on all of my experiences with play dates and birthday parties, I will not do them again and I don't see how they benefit my children. Quite frankly, I think that play dates are used for some of those lazy parents (moms) who can't handle their kids and/or don't want to do things with them and it's an excuse for them to socialize with other moms instead of actually enjoying their children's company. Also, we are not comfortable with the children going to another person's house and we don't feel comfortable with having another child that isn't ours coming over either. We also don't do slumber parties, for a lot of reasons. Honestly, I don't trust others with our children, especially with all the things that go on. I'm not being paranoid but you can never be too careful. We see play dates as pointless as day cares. I did the day care bit for my two oldest because we were both working and day care was a necessity. My oldest kids got sick all the time; they brought home gross habits (picking their nose, etc.) and bad manners. That only went on for two and a half years. By the time my third child came along, I was able to stay at home and be with the children while my husband works. Our younger children, never went to day care and didn't get sick or brought back any gross habits and bad manners and we don't do play dates. Our middle child, is well- rounded, no social awkwardness what so ever, she is actually friendly, kind, and attentive to other's feelings, she is polite and well behaved; is advanced in reading and does very well at school, so I do see the value of not actually dragging my child to classmate's birthday parties or forcing my child to those horrible play dates. Our two youngest children are toddlers and we will do the same thing we did for our middle child, no day care and definitely, no play dates. We strongly believe that a parent's involvement or the lack off can influence the child from being socially awkward to being sociable at school or out in public and also a success in school as well as their overall well-being. Are there other parents who feel the same way about play dates?
Children refine and enhance their social skills through play dates. That's the pro and of course the cons are all the things that you've mentioned - learning bad habits (picking nose, bad language, temper tantrum...) and mother sitting around gossiping.
Play dates have many benefits if it's structured and the child has the right play mates. Play dates can boost a child's strong character - make leaders better leaders. It also teaches new social skills to kid - make followers be leaders. There's a plethora of social skills that children learn through play dates such as taking turn, negotiate their play, plan their play - the list goes on.
In one of my research projects when I was an undergraduate was to look at children's language used during their play. To my surprise, their conversation was very similar if not the same as sitting in a corporate meeting. They talked about what they are going to do. They assigned roles to everyone. And then the "plan" or play is carried out.
Even though I know that there are many benefits to play date, we don't have much of it. It's actually more exhausting for me to monitor and/or facilitate play date then to have my son play by himself (he's an only child). Also to have a good play date, children need to be compatible with each other in terms of their personality and playing style and finding that perfect play date for my son is not always that easy. Kids grow up and their personality and/or playing style changed. My son used to play really well with my best friend's son who is 4 months younger but since my son started playing the violin, he doesn't play rough anymore. And the other child is still very rough so we no longer have play dates.
Last but not least, I completely agree with you that too many moms use play date as an opportunity to gossip rather than enhance their kids' social skills - which is the real reason for play date. 81983
I do not like the word "playdate". It used to be a child would ask, "May I invite so-and-so over to play?" Or a child would call, with his mother's permission, and ask, "Can you come over tomorrow?" And the kids would get together and play for a couple of hours. The kids, not the moms. And just a couple of hours; best to quit while it is still going well. The host mother would pay attention to what was going on to see that all was well, but she would not stage-manage the whole thing. A child who is four years old is old enough to go play at a familiar person's house for a little while. As a Pre-K teacher, I often suggest inviting a friend over because children can get to know each other better one at a time, and then they feel that much more comfortable in a morning preschool session. As a mother of three, I remember that my children took new interest in various toys and activities they had sort of forgotten about when a friend came to play. It really is a fun break to have a new person to play with at your house, even if you have siblings with whom you get along and a mom who pays attention to the kids and likes to play with them. Why don't you try doing some of this low-key inviting yourself? 82063
So you do not do play dates because you dont like the other parents? Play dates are great and allows kids to develop freindships outside of school. You are depriving your kids because you seem to be socially akward. Your comment;"we are not comfortable with the children going to another person's house and we don't feel comfortable with having another child that isn't ours coming over either" You dont want kids that are not yours in your house? You dont want your kids at other people's houses? wow82069
Wow. I agree with some of the comments below. Your post is very difficult to relate to. Sure, some parents are easier to get along with than others--this is true for kids, too-- but your poor attitude is undoubtedly influencing each of your childrens' school yard (since their outside social interaction seems to be limited to just that) relationships and behavior negatively. How you started to believe that your children do not need to foster relationships outside of the home is somehing I won't even speculate on, but I think it's a huge mistake and a disservice to your children.82070
I agree with some of the other posts. Play dates help teach your kids social skills. You don't have to invite the mothers over to have a play date. My kids are a little older 8 and 9, and I don't even get involved in the play date. I have set some rules s/a no TV or gaming, and I try to invite kids on nice days when I can send them outside. Kids pick up social skills when they are young. If you don't help them develop those skills now, they could end up as loners in high school or rebellious because they don't want to sit at home. Yes your kids can pick up bad habits, but that is when you teach them about what is appropriate with adults vs. what may or may not be appropriate with their peers. You have every right to monitor who they play with and to not invite a child again if that child is rude or disruptive. You also do not have to have sleepovers. That is not necessary to help kids learn social skills. Set your own limits. For toddlers, I would never have more than one friend over at a time, and I would limit the time to 90 minutes or less depending on the child. You are not your kids' friend.. They need to develop relationships outside the family unit. That is just plain common sense whether you like it or not. Unfortunately, with kids being so over-scheduled, they don't just go outside and meet friends any more. Those days are over. Play dates are the alternative. 82073
I understand that play dates can bring about many complaints and annoying situations. However, I think it is absolutely bizarre that you feel your children do not need social interaction outside of school. A huge part of our happiness (as children and as adults) is personal relationships. Personal meaning outside of the workplace. You're teaching your children that they should not have relationships outside of their family and their classroom (which is essentially their work environment for the time being).
As they grow up, they will have to foster relationships with others in order to be successful. In school, they will be expected to complete group projects. In college, they may wish to reach out for study groups/study buddies (and hopefully just to have friends, in general). As adults, they will need friendships and other relationships. They learn to accomplish these relationships from you, their parent.
I had a friend in high school who was not allowed to spend the night at anyone's house who had a male living there. She was also not allowed to have friends stay the night at her house. As much as I can understand the worry in her parents' minds, I also felt distant from her as a friend. As high schoolers, we spent the night at each tohers' houses often and she was always missing out on inside jokes and other fun things in our friendships. There were times we would photoshop her into pictures, just so she could still feel a part of our friend group. I imagine that was a source of frustration and sadness for her during high school.
Overall, I think your complaints are reasonable, I'm sure most parents would agree that playdates can be frustrating and annoying. Take a step back and understand that your children will also have to deal with frustrating and annoying relationships throughout their lives. If they've never seen you handle it appropriately, they won't know how to handle it appropriately. If another parent wishes to bad mouth someone, you can do the appropriate thing and let them know that you do not wish to participate in a conversation about others'. If another child comes over and says a word that you don't approve of, you can let them know that you don't speak that way at your house and why. These are essential skills your children will need if you'd like them to have any chance at mature and respectful relationships in their future.82081
Thank you all for posting your comments. I do believe with what is right for your family may not be right for others. When it comes to play dates, it is not a mandatory activity that children should be forced into. For those moms who choose to have play dates, when it comes to toddlers and infants, yes, a mother should be there with her child and one parent is enough to supervise older children. I do agree with children having social skills, that is why children go to school to learn education and it is also a great way for children to socialize and how to deal with many different personalities. However, I don't feel the need for my children to have more time spent socializing with their friends outside of school. There isn't enough time for them to spend time on homework, extra-after school curriculum and spend time with their family. Our family is close-knit, and we do things together as a family. We don't ignore each other, we talk to each other about everything and we do play together. In this day and age, we take our love ones for granted way too many times and the little time we spend with them because of work, school and other things, I believe is not enough. My children also have after school activities that they are engaged in, such as sports and the arts and traveling. They socialize with their team mates and class mates before and after they are done. The older children also have camps and Boy and Girls Scouts( another great way to socialize and be independent).
SAFEHARBOR- I did try doing the play date thing and it wasn't right for my family. A play date doesn't have to be at someone's house, it can be at a park or other place that is agreed upon, such as a art studio. Ever heard of MAKE-A-MESSTERPIECE? OR KOLH'S CHILDREN'S MUSEUM? OR PAINT-N-PARTY? We did that and it is better than having children running around in your house and possibly creating a safety hazard for themselves and others in the house. We take advantage of what our community has to offer and it works for us. My children do activities outside of school, such as sports and the arts, they have the opportunity to socialize with their teams and class mates before or after they are done. Also, my older children do camps and they also do Boys scouts and Girl Scouts (another great way to socialize too) I take my younger children to our local library and take advantage of their story time, the children are read to and are also interacting with children their age. Yes, we don't feel comfortable with people that are not family or close friends into our home. You never know what kinds of people our out there. It is OUR choice. We are not mandated to invite everyone and their brother into our house. We also value our privacy. We don't go snooping around our neighbors lives and we expect the same courtesy. We also travel and we sight see through out the U.S. we learn about the states. My children also are learning to speak in other languages (besides English). So, Am still depriving my children? Do I still need my children to do play dates? Not everyone feels the need to be a social butterfly.
It sounds to me like you are denying your kids a chance to play with their peers because you are uncomfortable. You talk about not wanting to "drag" your kids to parties or "force" them to go have playdates, but it sounds like it is you that doesn't want to go. I can't think of any kid who wouldn't want to go to a party. You said that your daughter was asking to have playdates but because you don't want to socialize she is denied. Do you at least let them go out and play with kids in the neighborhood? How do you know that there is no social awkwardness as far as your daughter is concerned, you don't let her be around other kids. I was able to stay home with my son from the time he was 6 months old. I made an effort to get him around other kids when I could so that he would be ok when it came time to go to school. We did programs for toddlers and preschoolers through our parks department and our library. That led to play dates and chances to interact with other moms. We also sent him to a preschool to get him ready for school. We both made friends there that we still have "playdates" with and the kids are now in middle school. Do you have friends outside of your family? I also volunteered a lot at my sons elementary school, partly in order to get to know other parents. I do the same to a lesser extent at his middle school for the same reason. I think that you may need to reevaluate your reasons for being so against having your children interact with other children. It sounds like you may be a little socially awkward yourself and are projecting onto your kids. They need to be able to interact in the real world outside of your family.82085
You must have been typing your replies as I was typing my comments. You sound a little irritated because the replies to your initial query aren't going your way. I'm happy to see that your kids do get at least some interaction outside of school, but less structured playtime is essential too. School is not the only place where they learn to interact. Yes it is your choice who you invite into your home and life, but remember that you 'invited" people to give you their opinions82086
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