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Parenting Survival Guide – Winning at play dates

1
I always said I wouldn’t do play dates. Oh, how wrong I was. If you have children at school you’ll understand they are non-negotiable: you MUST join in to be a good parent. For those of you parents who have not yet entered the play date zone, well, lucky you. If you can find parents who like a Prosecco play date, you are onto a winner.

WARNING: the content below is not pretty.
Don’t peak too early
Oh yes, it’s all very easy to head into play date territory with a sense of unabated vigour. Mistake number one. Don’t. Time is the key here.

SelfishMother.com
2
Let the first term of school start without already pre-planning an event with a child your child hasn’t even met yet. There is plenty of time for play dates, you don’t have to be the parent of the year by cramming twenty into the first term. No one wants play date burnout.
Choose the parents
Brutal, but a crucial aspect of play date survival is to pick the parents over the children. Believe me, if you get on with the parent, it makes the whole thing so much easier. Once, I invited a friend of my youngest around and he was three at the time. I was
SelfishMother.com
3
just metaphorically patting myself on the back for picking a cool mum. Cue my child picking up a toy train and smacking it over the other child’s head right in front of us. As the tumbleweed swept across, I knew that this new friendship was over before it had been given a chance to blossom. I was correct. We have never been asked to their house. Thanks, son.
Take something with you
This is vital for impressing the parents. Or at least making you and your child look polite. I was such a rookie that I didn’t know about this unspoken rule. For our
SelfishMother.com
4
first ever play date I trotted along happily with JUST my children. I didn’t realise until many more that it’s play date etiquette to take some treats. Would I go to an adult’s house for dinner without taking wine, flowers or chocolates? Hell, no. That’s just rude. Schoolgirl error right there.
Sugar overload
This depends on the child’s parents. If your child’s new friend’s parents are sugar-free, organic, everything homemade food folk then you may escape a sugar overload. However, I think this is a tricky one to swerve otherwise. It’s
SelfishMother.com
5
likely there will be a pre-dinner snack (full of sugar) and then an after-dinner treat (full of sugar). The combination will cause children literally bursting at the seams with sugar. They might be wild, they might be crazy, but it’s part and parcel of the play date experience. Deal with it.
You will apologise
It doesn’t matter if you have angel children (because don’t we all, ahem), they will show you up. Existing table manners will disappear. I have often sat during a dinner with my boys literally just repeating,

‘Poo, poo, wee, bum.

SelfishMother.com
6
You’re a nappy toilet dustbin.’ (not even kidding), like a pair of squawking parrots with limited vocabulary on the verge of Tourette’s.

My tinkers also have a tendency to leave guests out and it’s not uncommon for them to head off while the ‘guest’ child sits alone with the adults. I then overcompensate with weak excuses and strong apologies. Damn it, why do I always panic that they reflect on me? Er, because they do.
Don’t try too hard
I am less forthcoming with invitations now my son is in Year 1, because he has his select chosen

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7
friends (and I like the mums a lot phew). He only knew one other child when he started school and I panicked that he didn’t have any friends so perhaps I was trying to hunt them out for him. Honestly though, maybe I was also trying to establish myself amongst the mums.

Play dates are tricky. It’s all about play date survival and alcohol if you can merge the two. When it comes to play dates: choose wisely. Be irregular. And never forget to take some biscuits. Not homemade ones. No one likes a show off.

SelfishMother.com
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How to survive play dates as a parent

- 16 Apr 19

I always said I wouldn’t do play dates. Oh, how wrong I was. If you have children at school you’ll understand they are non-negotiable: you MUST join in to be a good parent. For those of you parents who have not yet entered the play date zone, well, lucky you. If you can find parents who like a Prosecco play date, you are onto a winner.

WARNING: the content below is not pretty.

Don’t peak too early

Oh yes, it’s all very easy to head into play date territory with a sense of unabated vigour. Mistake number one. Don’t. Time is the key here. Let the first term of school start without already pre-planning an event with a child your child hasn’t even met yet. There is plenty of time for play dates, you don’t have to be the parent of the year by cramming twenty into the first term. No one wants play date burnout.

Choose the parents

Brutal, but a crucial aspect of play date survival is to pick the parents over the children. Believe me, if you get on with the parent, it makes the whole thing so much easier. Once, I invited a friend of my youngest around and he was three at the time. I was just metaphorically patting myself on the back for picking a cool mum. Cue my child picking up a toy train and smacking it over the other child’s head right in front of us. As the tumbleweed swept across, I knew that this new friendship was over before it had been given a chance to blossom. I was correct. We have never been asked to their house. Thanks, son.

Take something with you

This is vital for impressing the parents. Or at least making you and your child look polite. I was such a rookie that I didn’t know about this unspoken rule. For our first ever play date I trotted along happily with JUST my children. I didn’t realise until many more that it’s play date etiquette to take some treats. Would I go to an adult’s house for dinner without taking wine, flowers or chocolates? Hell, no. That’s just rude. Schoolgirl error right there.

Sugar overload

This depends on the child’s parents. If your child’s new friend’s parents are sugar-free, organic, everything homemade food folk then you may escape a sugar overload. However, I think this is a tricky one to swerve otherwise. It’s likely there will be a pre-dinner snack (full of sugar) and then an after-dinner treat (full of sugar). The combination will cause children literally bursting at the seams with sugar. They might be wild, they might be crazy, but it’s part and parcel of the play date experience. Deal with it.

You will apologise

It doesn’t matter if you have angel children (because don’t we all, ahem), they will show you up. Existing table manners will disappear. I have often sat during a dinner with my boys literally just repeating,

‘Poo, poo, wee, bum. You’re a nappy toilet dustbin.’ (not even kidding), like a pair of squawking parrots with limited vocabulary on the verge of Tourette’s.

My tinkers also have a tendency to leave guests out and it’s not uncommon for them to head off while the ‘guest’ child sits alone with the adults. I then overcompensate with weak excuses and strong apologies. Damn it, why do I always panic that they reflect on me? Er, because they do.

Don’t try too hard

I am less forthcoming with invitations now my son is in Year 1, because he has his select chosen friends (and I like the mums a lot phew). He only knew one other child when he started school and I panicked that he didn’t have any friends so perhaps I was trying to hunt them out for him. Honestly though, maybe I was also trying to establish myself amongst the mums.

Play dates are tricky. It’s all about play date survival and alcohol if you can merge the two. When it comes to play dates: choose wisely. Be irregular. And never forget to take some biscuits. Not homemade ones. No one likes a show off.

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Corporate to Kids

Who: Sarah - Queen of self-deprecation Job: from corporate HR career to Mum, Writer and Blogger Children: two boys with a 13 month age gap!! Obsessions: writing, Haribos, rainbows, coffee, fizz

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