Who knew playdates had a protocol? Read on for all the ins and outs on how to snag yourself a decent (play) date?
Just when you thought you were through with tricky dating etiquette, enter the world of play dates. The delicate do’s and don’ts exist on an entirely different level when it comes to getting the kids together. Many newbies think ‘play date’ equals ‘kids play quietly while I catch up on Facebook.’ Sorry to have to break this to you. But fear not! The HoneyKids crew is here to help you navigate tricky play dates protocol.
Let’s look at some general (play) dating dilemmas:
Can’t get a date.
We’ve all been here. It is the worst. Waiting for that guy to text/call/tweet/send a Gorilla gram. Fast forward a few years and you’re both waiting for a “Great! See you Thursday at 3pm!” message. Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to spend an afternoon with your little treasure? Breathe, and remember, there’s plenty more fish in the sea!
You don’t love the (play) date.
Kids can drive you mad (even your own). Step back for a second into the bad lands of adult dating. Did you cancel a date because your Mum didn’t approve? Thought so. Your child is happy, so smile! Ignore the whining, the loud chewing, the appalling toilet aim and well, lie. “How was little George?” (Repeat after me) “He was an angel. We’d love to have him back anytime.”
Should you be ‘exclusive’?
Should you invite more than one kid to a play date? Approach with caution. Novices may think, “it’s a few kids playing, what could go wrong?” A lot, actually. If you’re game though, go for it!
Meeting the parents.
Whoah, there. You know how big this is in the dating world. Well, it just got bigger. We all dream of the perfect double date; the play date holy grail – cookies in one corner, cocktails in the other. Yes, this is ah-mazing, but rare. Prefer watching finger paint dry on your wall than spend more time together? Even if you don’t click, that’s OK! ‘Drop off’ play date next time?
Minefield! If the kid goes home to reveal he ate five double chocolate muffins at your house, you may go to jail. Let’s not even mention fizzy drinks. Ask if the other kid has any allergies/preferences before the play date and pop by your nearest organic grocer for a healthy snack haul. They may be prepackaged but at least it’s not oreos and coke.
Here’s some potential dates you might encounter…
The (play date) booty call.
Beware the last minute, “Can Mia come round for a play today?” request. Warning! This is free child care. Just so long as you know. OK, carry on.
The screen lover.
Haven’t we all been on the same bad, bad date where the guy can’t stop checking his phone? Happens in the mini-dating world too. The kid arrives and wants to watch TV and play with the iPad. Sorry, play dates are for playing! You may not be Martha Stewart and have a whole crafternoon planned. But you can lay out paper, glue, magazines, scissors and pencils. Voila! The kids just made a book. Can you bake cookies? OK then. You’re a supermum! Failing this, turn up the music and dance!
The stand up.
Tragedy enough for you, alone at the bar, but for your baby! Just. Awful. Watch a little face move from giddy anticipation to utter despair. Never stand up a (play) date.
Their kid has been over to play a million times but you don’t get asked back. Tip – at pick up time, get your child to ask loudly, “Can I come to your place next week?” Smile and say “Oh, that would be great! When is good for you??”
Remember, play dates are for playing and playing is fun. If the kids are happy, then so is Mum!
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