Where we live play dates are scheduled ad nauseum. Can Marlee come over to play? What day is Mckinley free to come over? I have even had requests for Miller, my freshly minted three year old, to come over for a play date. ( He is potty trained and relatively well behaved, so I guess that makes him a good candidate???)
At first play dates were cute. My oldest child started having them when she was in Kindergarten. Before the play date, I would stealthily obtain intel on the parents of the would be play date requester, by asking around, researching any infractions that may not make them a suitable candidate to watch my first born. Were they hoarders? Would the requester’s mom actually keep an eye on the kids or would she be immersed in the last episode of the Real Housewives of Atlanta.
Of course, being a giver, I don’t just sent my kids off for play dates, I also host play dates at my house. I have hosted different ones ranging in time and scope. With all of this hosting experience, I have created my own “do not invite back” list (similar to the TSA’s do not fly list). I have a list of friends who my kids are forbidden from inviting back over (c’mon, surely I am not the only one who has such a list?!?!). Because the fact is that a good play date can make your life easier, while a bad play date can make 2 hours seems like 2 horribly long years. Here is what makes a good play date and what makes a very, very, very bad one:
Good play date:
-Kids play nicely with each other, bickering is kept to a minimum.
-Playroom/house is left relatively intact.
-Kids use (gasp!) their imagination to play and are open to going outside when the weather is nice.
-Child compliments me on the snack that I have prepared for them. ” Mrs. Marquette, these brownies are delicious!” *If it is a child I would like to come back, they get homemade brownies, for children I wish to never return they get fruit and water.
-I am given the opportunity to fold and put away all of the laundry, get dinner started, reorganize the pantry and research the benefits of high intensity interval training without hearing a peep from the kids.
-When the child’s parents come to pick him or her up, they easily get their shoes on, grab their backpack, and say thank you before heading out the door.
Bad play date:
-Kids bicker, constantly. The invited child (a/k/a the perpetrator) not only bickers with my child who is their friend, but also with my child’s siblings.
-There is some sort of bodily fluid from a child who does not share my DNA that I need to “handle”: blood, pee, poop, snot, throw up.
-The perpetrator is a whiner: “MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARQUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUEETTTTTTTTTTTTTTE, we are hungry.” “Maaaaaaaaaaaarquetteeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.” “Marrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrqqqqqqqqqqqqqquuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuetttttttttttttteeeee.”
-The perpetrator wants to play with me instead of my kids: “Maaaaaaaaarquette, can you play scrabble with me?” “Marqqqqqqqqqquette, I am bored.”
-The perpetrator’s mother wants to stay and chat with me. Now this is a fine line. If the perpetrator’s mom is someone who I am friends with then, by all means, pull up a seat and stay a while. But, if the perpetrator’s mom is not a friend of mine, she is infringing on my laundry sorting time which is a wee bit of an inconvenience.
-The perpetrator refuses to leave when his or her parent comes to pick him or her up. I actually had one child run through my house, hiding while her mom pleaded for her to come out.
Of course, I am just now realizing that my kids have not been invited back to a few of their friends’ houses. Hmmmm, I wonder if they are on any “do not invite back” lists? I certainly would not be offended if they were. Have you ever experienced a play date from hell? I can’t wait to hear all about it!
- 5 Ideas For Indoor Playdates (melissaanddoug.com)