Playdates should be fun but can easily turn into a nightmare
Share this article:
Children can never have enough playtime especially when it’s time spent with their best friends.
For the only child who doesn’t have any siblings to play with, playdates are perfect.
They don’t have to wait for large family gatherings or their friends’ birthday parties to get together with their buddies outside of school time.
However, if your little one is under 10 years old, playtime with friends generally requires some form of supervision.
This means that parents or guardians need to in fact have to take time out of their day to accommodate such a social gathering.
While arranging a playdate is easy when you know your child’s friends and their parents, it can often be more difficult when it’s a first-time date and you don’t know the new friend or their parents.
Making the decision to either send your child to a place you’re not familiar with or allow a child into your home, isn’t one taken lightly.
If, however, your little one is as persistent as my seven-year-old can be, then it’s only a matter of time before you have to give in to the nagging and set up the dreaded first-time play date.
I’m one of those moms who prefer to have playdates at my place where I can control the situation and be in a position to keep a watchful eye without interfering too much.
However, one cannot control everything. The biggest uncontrollable factor is what type of child the new visitor will be.
Of course, not all kids can be angels, your own child certainly isn’t one 100% of the time, but when you are faced with an ill-disciplined, disrespectful or hyperactive child, a fun time can quickly turn into a nightmare.
You know that one child that will jump on your furniture, eat your child’s snacks, speak to you in a rude manner or simply doesn’t know how to behave in someone else’s home.
This is the child that on the first impression will seem like the sweetest kid. The one that will greet you politely and promise the parent who drops them that they will behave.
But once you’ve laid down the rules and set some playtime boundaries, that’s when they reveal their true colours.
It’s understandable that people have different rules in their own homes but surely a child ought to know how to behave in someone else’s home? Or at least be able to follow simple instructions. Never mind common courtesy and respect for elders.
So what does one do when your child’s new play pal starts to turn your home upside down.
Unfortunately, it’s not your place to discipline someone else’s child but you can interrupt playtime to repeat the rules of the house.
If the child continues to ignore your rules you can stop play completely and explain to your child why you’ve decided to do so.
When it gets to that point, you should call the child’s parent to pick up their child and explain why.
While waiting for the child’s parent be sure to stay in the same room as the child and remain calm no matter what they do.
When setting up first-time playdates be sure to let the child’s parent know what the rules of your home are and set a time limit to the visit. Keep the first visit short to give yourself time to get to know the child.