The Playdate Dilemma

So like any good mom I tried to arrange a playdate for my youngest. After all it is summer and she is missing her friends living in the country. We do not really have a neighbourhood where kids meet outside and play since we are surrounded by farms. So I called up her friends parents and akse dif she could come over to play one day for the afternoon. I figured they could play Barbies, colour and have lunch. Maybe play in the pool for a bit if it is a nice day and just hang out. Since her friend is an only child I knew she would be home doing this alone anyway.
I left a message and waited for a response. A few hours later I got a response on my phone. The message said that it sounded good and requested a specific day. Then said that they would come along to hang out while the girls played.

Um what?

So now I need to entertain a parent?

I mean I get wanting to make sure your child is ok, but you do not need to hang out.
The girls have been in the same class for two years and they have met me many times. I have volunteered at the school. My daughter has been to many playdates at their house. Yes she is the youngest of four and I am comfortable with it. However I did leave my cell number and was just a call away.

Is it just me or are they being a bit over protective? I said to my friend that I get this is their only child and where I may be more comfortable having other kids for experience, this is still a first. But still…

It turns out the day they wanted to get the girls together is a day I have many appointments. So I suggested another day and said lets meet a the park. Maybe we can grab ice cream? 

I have hosted more playdates than I can count having four kids in twenty years. Some times us parents hit it off and sometimes we do not. I work from home and really do not have time to entertain grown ups mid week. Plus my other kids would most likely have friends over too. 

I just thing kids need to grow and to do so they do not need their parents around hovering all the time. I was not looking for a friend for myself. 

Once many years ago we invited a little girl to my sons birthday party. The mom showed up with her and three of her siblings and stayed the entire time. We invited just enough kids to fit into our small town house and it was crammed. Of course we welcomed them and fed the kids. I also was able to scrape a few odds and ends together to give them loot bags. But it was an odd experience. 

So I would love to know what other parents do? 

Do you expect parents to tag along for playdates? Is there an age this is acceptable? I get preschool age, but this is not preschool. What do you do when your kids go to their friends? 



  1. Shelley N says

    They may have wanted to have been there since a pool was mentioned. At one point my kids were not the strong swimmers they are today so for pool visits I tended to want to stay although I always explained why. Yes sometimes I have had the parents stay unexpectedly especially if they were from a different ethnic group where the traditions were that if the child was invited then everyone was. There are many cultures where that is the understanding.

  2. Preschoolers, yes. When my daughter was in JK, or even SK, I would have felt uncomfortable leaving her at someone else's house without a adult family member there. With older kids I think it's weird, and awkward. Yes, it would make me very uncomfortable if I let my daughter invite a friend over and her mom decided to come visit as well.
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  3. LifeAsAConvert says

    Welcome to a world where unless parents are right above their kids, they are "unsafe"….. I dunno how I would have handled it.. I guess let them tag along and keep my mouth shut.
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  4. Pools can make some parents nervous. My parents didn't hover, and I can never understand the need of some parents to be around constantly. Of course if someone had a traumatizing childhood experience I could see them being overprotective as parents.

    Cannot believe a parent would show up with extra kids for a birthday party. Being quite specific with invitations (inviting only the child), I would've commented that we only planned for the invited guests, sorry, but she could call to check in on her child, here's our number… Was the parent of a particular ethnic group (perhaps a cultural thing)? Maybe she wanted you to be the bad guy: was having difficulty with the other kids' reactions to their sibling going to a party, and instead of taking care of it without imposing on or involving you, she wanted you to say no and for them to have their fit at your house. Would personally never think of making my life easier by imposing like that.

  5. aimeed23 says

    I have a lot of kids and I've been raising kids for more than half my life. If this child has never been to your house, then she may have just wanted to scope out the surroundings. She is a mom.. it is not judgement on you but she is doing her job. Some moms are more care free but if you invite a child over for a play date then expect mom to hang out for at least a little while; at least the first time. There are a lot of 'bad' people — she is being cautious..And… since you have a pool… she may have wanted to check that out also. Hey.. you might make a BF out of this.

  6. amandaripsam says

    I think the mom is looking for other mommy friends to connect with, Other mom's get lonely and feel so isolated and I think in her own way is trying to connect with you. but other then the girls being friends what is there to connect with on? I mean I have no real advice because I'd just sit and stare like a lump on a log as a mom with special needs child it's very much difficult for me to be social with other moms. I have tired but the friendships seem to drift away and it was mostly about the children anyhow, Maybe offer to have her bring lunch for her and her daughter if she's coming over too you could watch a movie together there's no talking during movies last I knew right? or play a card game or a sport game with the girls get active and go for a long walk just get to know her is all I think she's looking for I mean I would really want to make sure I really knew the mom on a different level then hi here's my kid see ya later. I'm not very social outside of the online stuff. In real life I have a handful of mommy friends and seems when I make good ones they move away. so it's hard to stay connected. just let things happen and maybe you'll have a new bff.

  7. toughcookiemommy says

    I'm on the fence about this. I'm not comfortable leaving either one of my sons at anyone's house without their father or I being there. I get her being apprehensive but I also get how awkward it was for you.
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  8. massholemommy says

    With my oldest, I stuck around until he was probably 7. I don't trust other people LOL. I know that sounds terrible, but he was my baby and I wanted to make sure he was ok. But generally, I would suggest a playground meetup over going to someone's house so that way it was less awkward.

  9. kay adeola says

    To be honest I do not let my kids be at someone else's house without me unless they are family.I totally understand how you feel and I do not exactly want to be friends with my kids friends parents so we do not normally invite them over lol.

  10. ashley p says

    I think it depends on the age; maybe the little girl isn't comfortable? We had a friend over for my oldest last summer (they were just 6 at the time) and I wasn't sure if the mom would stay as I had never met either of them before. When I asked if she wanted to come in, she seemed super relieved as her son was pretty anxious. For me, it's all about what the kids are comfortable with.

    For birthday parties, I was the mom that stayed – until my oldest was 6, he was REALLY nervous/shy/anxious and wanted me there. Thankfully, they were never at a house, always a public place where there was plenty of space
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  11. My oldest is 5, so it's still understood that a playdate includes parents. If I'm not going to be there it's really them babysitting my kid(s) which I've done before too. I'd say that by age 7 or 8 a child should be able to go over to a friend's house to play without parents.

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  12. I can see where you and the other parent are coming from. At times, I'd love to drop my son off and have a couple of hours to run errands, do my own thing. If I don't know the parents well, I'd probably want to hang out (at least the first time) to get to know them a bit.

  13. I prefer to stay with my child at playdates, I am overprotective.

  14. I feel the opposite way. When I invite a kid over for a playdate, I'm inviting the mom because I'm looking to socialize too.

  15. becca112971 says

    My son never goes to anyones house but then again he is never invited either. however we have kids over all the time but the parents never tag along. I guess it depends on child and age.

  16. I don't have a whole lot of experience in the playdate department, no kiddos yet. However, I would say whoever is involved in the playdate make the rules. Whatever is comfortable for all parties would be the best 😛
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  17. My kids are grown but they did go over to their friend's houses including overnights without me along. The most important thing was that I knew the parents and had allowed a comfortable period of time to get to know those that I didn't before my kids started staying at their house without me. It is a tough situation but I think agreeing to meet at the park is a good idea. Maybe there you will feel comfortable enough to find out what is going on with the friend's mother and why she wanted to come along. Maybe she is just lonely herself and wanted someone to talk to.
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  18. Isn't it awkward though when you don't get along with the parents? I just don't see how I could stand going if I didn't like the other parent.
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  19. Without knowing the reason she wanted to come along, I would hesitate to jump to conclusions here. I always found playdates a good opportunity to meet other parents that you may have something in common with. As an adult, it's sometimes hard to make friends.

  20. it's all about perspective, I had never heard of a playdate without parents! I guess our cities are really different. I would be totally weird to drop the kids off and not help out… crazy
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  21. lyndac1968 says

    I've never had that happen to me so I don't know how I would react and I always let my kids go by themselves, I would take them to the door and meet the parent but I did not stay, and I didn't have any parent wanting to stay either, personally I think it would just be awkward

  22. danielledesigns says

    I am one of those parents that wouldn't leave my child with anyone other than my parents alone. Too many bad things happen to children and I have watched one to many of those documentaries about family friends so i am very cautious.
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  23. We haven't been on many play dates but I know they are coming soon! Last we tried to take my toddler to a birthday party he hid in the corner

  24. casavilorainteriors says

    I never let my kids sleepover when they were little. Now that they are 17 and 12 I let them. I am all for play dates and then everyone goes to their respective homes

  25. I can see how it would be irritating for someone to welcome themselves into your home. Then again, you can never be too careful when it comes to your children, so I could see her side too. Maybe after hanging around a few times, she could build some trust and be more apt to let her daughter stay alone next time.

  26. This is a tough one. I think it all depends on many factors like the age and maturity of a child as well as who the parents are. In general we just make the divisions one case at a time.
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  27. I always rather the parent didnt stay. lol Im shy and feel it would be awkward lol
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  28. I always rather the parent didnt stay. lol Im shy and feel it would be awkward lol
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  29. cozycomfycouch says

    My daughter had a play date and the parent asked me if I wanted to stay but I didn't because I've know her for two years plus she has enough to do while watching two girls and her little boy. The next day, I too had my daughters friend over and the parent didn't stay. I think it best that way. Maria medeiros

  30. I think she was probably looking for a friendship for her as well. That's how almost all of my playdates were when my kids were young.
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  31. I am not comfortable sending my children for play dates if I personally don't know their friends parents. Fortunately, every time I have had a play date at my place, I made sure the mom was there at least for the first time and they did the same too. However, it did not mean that we would hang out all the time.
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  32. Amanda McMahon says

    For young kids yes. For many the moms are my friends too.

  33. I think that it depends on the age. If you want to hang out with the parent- then any age is ok. But if it is an after school kinda thing with your 5+ year old- that might be different.

  34. Kelly Scott says

    This was a great post. The same thing happened to me recently and I thought…weird. I think age 5 is around the time you can start leaving them without staying yourelf, as long as you know the parents and are comfortable. As for the mom who showed up with three extra kids to the birthday party, I think that's a little rude. What can you do in those situations thought right?!


  35. kathy downey says

    I think it really depends on how well you know the parents,here I live in a small area we know everyone mostly family,so its not much of an issue

  36. kathy downey says

    It really depends on the child and where it is

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