A father and blogger at DadNCharge says we should ban the playdate. Whaaaat?

First of all, DadNCharge is picking apart the term “play date” and taking the name waaaay too literally. A play date is an arranged appointment for children to get together for a few hours to play. With parents’ busy schedules, a play date is merely a way to schedule a chunk of time for your kid to play with another kid. Simple!

“There was no pre-scheduling get togethers at each other’s homes. Playdates didn’t exist,” DadNCharge says.

Sure play dates didn’t happen because back then, kids were home all summer long. Many mothers were homemakers when we were little, leaving kids home with their moms all summer long to play and be bored and hang out with friends. I remember in our neighbourhood, we were outside from morning till dusk.

How it was when we were kids

We would play outside all day and hide and seek in the evening with all the kids in the area, until the street lights came on. We’d be hopping fences from house to house, going from one house to another just to have a popsicle or freezie and back outside ready for a new game or adventure. Side screen doors were always open, unlocked. The only time we’d go inside was for dinner and then we’d be outside once again.

How it is today

Nowadays, parents have busy schedules and usually both parents are working jobs. Parents today are much busier than when we were kids. You don’t know if children are spending summers at home or in camps or in daycare. It’s easier to set up a date and time to accommodate busy schedules, just as we do with our own friends. Sadly our over-scheduled lives have trickled onto our children too.

“This playdate garbage is ruining our kids. I shudder every time someone asks me if our kids can have a playdate together,” DadNCharge says.

To ask if one child is free to get together with another child should not be a huge deal.  No, it doesn’t have to be an “event”.  Simply change out the word play date to “hang out” – is that better?

Kids want their friends to come over and hang out? No problem. As long as they get along, there isn’t any constant arguing – be our guest.

Now that my kids are older and they want friends over, I don’t have to organize activities minute by minute. It’s not a birthday party – it’s a play date. There won’t be an hour of arts and crafts followed by an hour of snacks and cupcake decorating – unless hey, you like to schedule activities for your kids! Totally up to you.

For me, it’s enough that I’m allowing your friend(s) to come over. Once they come over, go off and play!

No Need to Ban the Play Date

Play dates for younger kids

When it comes to younger kids under 4, a scheduled play date could also mean the parent will want to stick around. Younger children may have separation anxiety and are not ready for drop-off play dates quite yet. So yes that often means your preschooler will have a friend to play with but you’ll have to offer coffee to the other parent. Some planned activities might also help the kids along – again, it’s up to you as the parent. And if you are having a play date for a younger child, an hour and a half is plenty of time.

But chill out DadInCharge, ok?

 

Do you like play dates or hate them?

 

 

Author

Maria Lianos-Carbone is the author of “Oh Baby! A Mom’s Self-Care Survival Guide for the First Year”, and publisher of amotherworld.com, a leading lifestyle blog for women.

3 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing my post and your perspective. Maybe it is harder as a laid back stay at home dad who just wants the kids to play together when I mostly deal with stay at home moms who dabble in Pinterest and keeping up with the neighbors. You want me to create friendships with them as you suggest because the socialization is important for parents yet not all parents are open to playdates with the opposite sex. See the conundrum? I can’t choose who the parents are of the children or whether they have a stay at home mom or dad who gels with my parenting style. If my kid likes their son or daughter, I am forced to make that happen for him or her.

    Do you mean to tell me that you have never had a bad playdate where they didn’t get along or you just didn’t like the parent no matter how much you wanted to? If you haven’t, then boy, you are lucky. Try to think of this from a man’s perspective. I am the only stay at home dad that I know in my kid’s entire school. Many of the men whose wives stay home, don’t want a guy hanging out at their house during the day. It’s barbaric right? I am there with my kid. Fast forward to the time when I suggest they come over and they tell me they aren’t comfortable leaving their daughter with a man even though I have two daughters. Ok, whatever you are comfortable with, it is your child, I respect that. Now, let’s try and have chit-chat for two hours trying to engage with the children and each other while I try not to think about what you just said in my foyer.

    • Chris: I can certainly understand your challenges with finding like-minded stay-at-home parents who are comfortable with the idea of spending play time with you and your daughters. Where I’m living (outside Toronto, Canada) stay/work at home dads are quite commonplace. In fact, for several years my children and I have spent a lot of time on “play dates” with one of those dads and his two children. The only hiccup we’ve faced to date, is the assumption that we have six children together 😉 I would offer the advice that you refrain from assuming all the moms in the hood are Pinterest dabblers…I wouldn’t want to hang out with a dad who thought that about me, before I had a chance to get to know him. Keep up the search…there are some pretty fantastic moms out there who are quite capable of mixed play dates!

    • “Stay at home moms who dabble in Pinterest and keeping up with the neighbors”?! Do you really think this is what stay at home moms are like? Right there you are making assumptions and judging these women without even knowing them. I didn’t even say that the socialization is good for the parents, nor did I say that you should attempt to be friends with the parents. It’s all about the kids, and the kids having friends over.

      You say you’re the only stay at home dad in your kid’s school. If your kid is in school then at this age, there is no need for parents to stick around for the play date. If you maybe took the time to get to know the moms, they would soon become comfortable allowing their child over for a play date.

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