Playdate awkwardness

by Jessie K on January 20, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJune was supposed to have a playdate at our house Saturday morning and I totally forgot about it. I felt like such a jerk. June’s little buddy and his nice Mom showed up promptly at our house at 10 a.m. only to find no one home. We were all out running errands. The mom emailed me later to ask me what was up. I felt terrible because there are few things more devastating to a toddler than broken promises and plans. Luckily, we were able to reschedule for the following morning and all was well.

It was a reminder to always reconfirm with the other parent a day prior so this type of thing doesn’t happen again.

The episode opened up a discussion with another friend about playdate etiquette. Our kids (toddlers) are at the age where they love, love, love to play with their buddies but they’re still clingy with their moms and dads. This presents an interesting gray area  — do you drop your child off at the playdate host’s house so the children can focus on playing together? Or is the expectation that you hang out with your child at the host’s house to help the other parent steer the playdate? I’ve found that with 2 and 3 year olds, as much as they want to play, they don’t always know how to socialize/interact with friends and often need nudging from Mom and Dad. Should you stay and help coach? Will the host parent be miffed if you want to leave? What if you don’t really know the other parent that well? Is it awkward to hang out exchanging pleasantries?

This is the sort of thing that should probably be clarified over email/text prior to the playdate but rarely is. I’ve shown up for more than a few playdates not really knowing whether the other parent wanted me to stay or go. Polite awkwardness ensues:

Me: “So…um…should I hang out? Or do you mind if I go run a few errands?

The other parent: “Oh, no, no, you don’t have to stay. I’m totally fine playing Chutes and Ladders with the kids. By myself. All alone. No, really. You go. Have a life.”

Me [skulking back to my car]: “Alrighty, then, you guys have fun. See you in a few hours!”

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