Play date time ettiquette

So, I am having a wonderful play date the other day ( well the kids were having the play date , I was enjoying my time hanging out with the Mommy, my friend)let’s call it a family play date! Then it occurred to me, what is the appropriate duration of a play date for children the ages of 2-5? What the hell is proper play date protocol? Seriously, I have had play dates that have lasted a half hour that seemed like an eternity.  Play dates that lasted 5 hours and it seemed like not quite enough time together. Play dates where you are waiting to put in your time so you can leave. You know what I am talking about. You are sitting there, watching the clock, thinking to yourself, can I leave now without looking like a giant a**hole? I guess it all depends on the company and the activity. But really, there has to be some kind of etiquette to this; some sort of method to all the madness. If not, chaos will break out. Mommies will be  walking out mid sentence once they start hearing something they don’t like; others will become squatters! Oh no, the humanity. I am so lucky, I have been doing this Mommy gig long enough to have a really great  group of Mommies kids that we have play dates with, so really most of our play dates are ,seriously, 2-5 hours in duration (so awesome how well my girls sleep on those nights). Sometimes we hit the zoo, sometimes we watch a kids movie, sometimes we have coffee and the kids play dress up, sometimes it a combo and lunch. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt the need to flee the scene of a play date going to hell in a hand basket but I know they are out there. I just want to know what the acceptable behavior is in such scenarios? Any ideas? Send them my way.I’d like to share them with all the mom’s I know, cause if one more person gets up in the middle of my conversations to leave…my head may explode:) LOL I jest….no one leaves when I’m on one of my tirades.

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Comments (7)

There definitely needs to be a universally applicable protocol for play dates. Maybe we should produce one and submit it to Senate for review and nation wide implementation? I envisage a national debate on this one, with millions of moms responding. Two rules I would definitely include are 1) Don't bring sick kids to a play date and 2) If your child has to constantly eat snacks please bring something for your child to eat that does not leave a crumb trail to rival Hansel's in the Gingerbread House story and/or make such a sticky mess of my carpet, walls and upholstery that I need to bring in a cleaning company to repair the damage (note, chocolate fondant cupcakes are not a good treat to bring and feed your child on my cream carpet).

As for an exit strategy when you really need one, I would suggest checking your phone for messages, calling your voice mail regardless of whether or not you really have any messages then suddenly gasping in mock horror and telling everyone you have to leave as you totally forgot you had arranged for a plumber to call today and he is on his way to your house right now, so gotta go, so sorry! Then just fly.

What the hell it’s a playdate? can kids just go and play with their friends like in the old days? why do you complicate things?

First – The Three Martini Playdate is my absolute favorite parenting book ever. Second – I find that most parents understand if we exit a playdate early-ish, especially if we use an excuse like "my four-year old won't poop anywhere but his own bathroom" – entirely true, by the way. Though the plumber strategy is good too :).

Peryl

I agree! I've had a mom bring over her 2 year old who HADN'T napped all day saying "hope this goes OK." It did not. I was thinking, how can I back out of this?

Jessica Warrick

I think that a play date should not last more than 2 hours that way the parents have time to clean up the house or area before dinner. I know i if had a play date at my house i would schedule a time frame such as play date at my house from 1-3. That way there is no confusion on the time period.

wow, thats a great thought, annabella isnt quite at that age yet but I'm glad I can read what other mamas think. following from mbc

Great Ideas girls! I have gotten some great ideas for escape protocol!LOL I see you girls have put some thought into this, you all sound like experts! Thanks for the feedback and happy play dates!

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