You’re The Expert: Play Dates

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Playdates: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The Good

Playdates have helped my daughter over the past 10 years learn skills such as sharing and the whole treat-others-the-way-you-want-to-be-treated concept. I recently gave birth to a son, and he, too, will have the same experiences.
Shelley Cernanec, Scarborough, Ont.

Playdates give moms a chance to visit and discuss child-related issues. It also lets me see that kids all have their little quirks and that most of the things I am worried about with my kids are apparent in others too. It sets my mind at ease!
Sharla Beddome, Winnipeg

When my four-year-old boy invites a friend over, he can have special time with his buddy and I can take care of his eight-month-old little brother. The oldest can play all day long and the little one can enjoy his mommy.
Laure Goimond, Pitt Meadows, B.C.

When my boy goes to other kids’ houses he lets them be in control. It’s their toys and they get to say what is going to be played with. At our house he’s like a tyrant.
Shannon Stone, St. Peter’s, N.S.

Things happen – arguments, fights over a toy… but it is never a bad thing. If you get young people dealing with others, socializing, making their own phone calls at a young age then they don’t have the struggle with relationships as they get older. If you arrange ‘playdates’, do all the telephoning to the other parent, hang around or even say when it’s starting and when they’re finished, kids do not develop important skills for themselves.
Karen Jolley, Durham, Ont.

The Bad
My son seems to get sick a lot after having a playdate. Sharing your cold with other kids isn’t the best benefit of a playdate.
Michelle Mason, Calgary

I don’t like it when kids want a playdate and repeatedly ask to spend time with my son but the other parents refuse.
Debra Lander, Winnipeg

My son throws his toys and unfortunately is very accurate.
Raphiel Mattson, Sooke, B.C.

We had a pool party with a couple of her playmates at school. One girl decided that instead of playing in the pool (which was a perfect temperature) she insisted on lying on our deck watching me read a magazine.
Kathy Hanshaw, Oshawa, Ont.

The worst is when my son or the other child comes up to me every five minutes to tell what the other child did. It gets tiresome and I wish I had just stayed at home.
Sheila Rogerson, Sarnia, Ont.

Too many people at playdates can be overwhelming for both the kids and parents.
Kristina Ziegler, Baden, Ont.

The Ugly
We had one child over, but never again! He tore the house apart. Games, toys, teddy bears were everywhere. It was a total disaster. My son and I spent hours cleaning after he left and I learned my lesson that day.
Tara Easton, Thornhill, Ont.

My sons were at a playdate at a neighbour’s home. The kids were playing outside without much supervision and I wound up having to rush my son to Children’s Hospital because he was hit in the eye with a big stick and he needed emergency surgery.
Nena Sinclair, Selkirk, Man.

I participated in a playgroup with “rotating host” duties. A couple weeks after I’d hosted, the host mom of the week apologized for having a plastic toy; everything else she had was wooden or cloth. I felt awful since her kids had just been exposed to a number of plastic toys at my place!
Martha Foulds-Carey, Waterloo, Ont.

57.8% of parents prefer to host. Here are some of the reasons:

  • I’m shy myself, and tend toward feeling like I’m putting others out by going to their homes.
  • I can help guide my children on how to be a good friend and a good host.
  • I know my kids are not sitting in front of electronics at our house.
  • I have four children so it’s much easier for my friends to bring their child over.
  • Some parents really don’t pay any attention to what the kids are doing.
  • I like to entertain and, now with the kids, this is the only entertaining we seem to do. I love to make food for the kids and the moms.
  • It’s easier to know how my child will behave at our own home.
  • My son has special needs. Most people don’t understand the need to supervise and provide direction so playtime is successful.
  • I have three kids under three and I know what is there and I can gate areas off.

Published in November 2010.

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