School-Aged Children

Drop off playdates?

At what age do you do/expect to do playdates where the kids are dropped off and the parents don't stay? 

I had exchanged #s with another mom in their class so we could plan something, so yesterday I texted her and said since it was a nice day they were welcome to come over and play and she could bring both of her kids (she has a girl in their class and a 3rd grade girl).  She said sure they were over about 30 minutes later.

When they got here she thanked us for doing this and she was excited about being able to work on her lesson plans (she's a teacher) and have some time alone.  I was shocked and embarrassed, I had no intentions of this being a drop off situation, but one where she stuck around and chatted while the kids played.  My DH was busy with garden and yard work, so I wasn't prepared to watch 4 kids alone, plus I don't know these girls other than a few meetings at school events!  So I had to tell her that wasn't the intention of the invitation and she was very nice and apologized for misunderstanding and I apologized if I miscommunicated, and thankfully she stayed. 

Are we at an age (6) where playdates are expected to be a drop off situation?  I was really looking forward to getting to know another mom, and I wouldn't be comfortable just dropping mine off with her because I don't really know her yet.

Miracle Twins after 2 years TTC thanks to IVF! 10*18*06
Lilypie - (6EmG)


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Re: Drop off playdates?

  • I didn't start doing drop-off playdates until the age of 5 or 6 years old.  BUT...I only would do drop off playdates if I knew the family really, really well.  Not just a random school family that was on a hi/bye basis. But I never assumed it was a drop off playdate unless it was specified.  Plus since I am a sahm a lot of the time we planned the playdates so the mom's would stay and chat while the kids played.

    But I did notice everyone's comfort level with this is very different.  I am more on the cautious side and would not trust my child in someone elses home unless I knew them for awhile.  Other people are just fine dropping them off with anyone.

  • As the PP wrote, I find people's comfort level with this is very different, and I had one experience where there was some confusion with this at a playdate, so after that I always make sure it is clear.  There are a couple of boys that DS is friends with that I still will not do drop off playdates with because they are out of hand, so we will invite them and their parents over to hang out. 

    Since you do not really know these girls, or their mom, I think asking the mom to stay is fine.  Assuming all went well, and the girls were well-behaved, then I think you could do drop off playdates going forward if you feel comfortable with it.

    I also did not just drop DS at birthday parties at that age unless it was someone we knew well and it was not a swimming party.

     

  • rsd12rsd12
    Ninth Anniversary 1000 Comments First Answer 5 Love Its
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    I probably started earlier at 4 with my oldest, but I knew the families really well.

    We did a lot of drop off playdates in kindergarten too, but it was with families I knew well.

    Most of my kids friends, I have actually become really good friend with the moms too.. so sometimes we do drop off and sometimes we stay and hang out.

    Next time I would just be clear in your email that you are looking forward to getting to know the mom better. Also because she has an older child, she is probably use to drop offs too.

    I was hoping one of my son's playdates would be a drop off earlier this year, and the mom decided to stay... I am glad I had made extra coffee, and now I know to expect to hang out with her during play dates! There was a bit of a language barrier too, but it ended up being a great playdate.
    Boy 1 2/06 - Boy 2 12/07 - Boy 3 9/09
  • Sometimes neighbor kids will be over here without parents or DS1 will go over there without us, but we know them well.  Otherwise, I couldn't imagine just dropping DS1 off or someone dropping their kid off (at least with the neighbor kids I can walk them across the street if they want to go home or I'm ready for them to go home). I think I'll be much more comfortable with kids being dropped off at my house than I will be dropping my kids off at another person's house.

    GSx1 - 05/13/2013
    GSx2 for T&B - EDD 6/21/2015

    babybaby
    baby development
  • My kids started doing drop off playdates at around 4 with friends who they knew well (and whose parents know them/us well) and in grade K for all playdates, whether they knew the family well or not.

    Both of my kids had one playdate where they had to end it early because they were ready to come home, and I have had visiting kids "miss their mom" and ask to end the playdate early, but this has always been at age 4.  I've never had a 5 y/o who couldn't handle a solo playdate.

    By the time my kids were 6, I often didn't know their friends' parents well.  At the drop off of a first time playdate, I think it's normal for the adults to chat and get to know each other a bit before the guest parent leaves.  But I think it's important for kids to grow in independence by going on solo playdates!

    Secondary English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

    DD, born 9/06/00 -- 9th grade
    DS, born 8/25/04 -- 4th grade
  • Honestly for me it really depends on who the playdate is with more than the age right now.  My girls are 6 (7 in June - kindergarten) and just turned 5 (last month) in PreK.  Both have done drop off parties just this year but only at someone's house for my little one.  I have stayed at the parties for her if they are out and about as she is not as comfy although she has a party coming up and she told me she could leave us with her friends.  Older DD, it depends on the location of the party and who is the host family.  The drop off play dates she has done, I know the parents well so don't have an issue with it.  If I don't really know the parents, I stay or we plan to meet out and about and both moms stay. 
    Jenni Mom to DD#1 - 6-16-06 DD#2 - 3-13-08 
  • 5 or kindergarten.  As long as I know the parents
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    CafeMom Tickers
  • At this point I'm just not ready for drop off playdates...my 2 are a handful by themselves!  I was just a little put off that she thought I wanted to give up my afternoon so she could have a free one....I wasn't offering a babysitting gig, just a play date!  It all worked out in the end and I enjoyed talking with her while the kids played, I just wondered if I missed the mark by expecting her to stay.  I now know to be more clear for future invitations (although in my message I did tell her she could bring running shoes and we could walk together while the kids played...so I thought I got the message across that I expected her to stick around).
    Miracle Twins after 2 years TTC thanks to IVF! 10*18*06
    Lilypie - (6EmG)


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  • If it's a new family that I don't know well (ie. friend of DD's from school) I will usually invite the parent to stay if they feel more comfortable with that.  I've had some take me up on that, others not.  Personally I don't allow my DD to go to a playdate alone (even at age 8) unless I have gotten to know the mom/dad somewhat & have a good sense about them.  So that is why I will usually invite kids to my house instead.  I think 6 is def. a normal age to start drop off playdates, I'm pretty up front & just discuss it w/the mom.

    fwiw, I'm not sure why you were worried about 'watching' 4 kids of that age group alone.  For my kids' playdates they're usually just doing their thing & I can get some other stuff done.  It's not like you're having to keep an eye on toddlers.  I've had 4-5 kids at a time & it's totally fine.  You just feed them a snack & make sure they don't kill each other :)

  • We started drop off playdates in kindergarten. Now (1st grade) it's often set up that they just go home from school with each other. 

    I think it's a little unfair to be put off by this other mom. If I were her I would probably have assumed it was drop off as well. As a pp said, for me when the kids have playdates it usually means less involvement from me since they entertain each other. 

  • image ilovemygirls:

    fwiw, I'm not sure why you were worried about 'watching' 4 kids of that age group alone.  For my kids' playdates they're usually just doing their thing & I can get some other stuff done.  It's not like you're having to keep an eye on toddlers.  I've had 4-5 kids at a time & it's totally fine.  You just feed them a snack & make sure they don't kill each other :)

    This was an outside play date and I just don't feel comfortable watching 4 kids, outside, alone.  In the house, maybe, but the intention of the play date was to get outside and enjoy finally having a nice day.  It's just not something I am comfortable with at this point, especially since I don't know these children.  Good for you if you are though.

    Miracle Twins after 2 years TTC thanks to IVF! 10*18*06
    Lilypie - (6EmG)


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  • image carlab44:

    I think it's a little unfair to be put off by this other mom. If I were her I would probably have assumed it was drop off as well.

    It's not unfair to feel put off, it's not like I expressed it to her!  The whole point of asking here was to find out, for future reference, if this is an expected thing at this age.  And now that I have gotten some feedback I know that it may be normal, and since I am not ready for drop off play dates yet, I now know to be very clear of the details of the play date (although I thought it was clear when I invited her to go walking with me that I meant for her to stay).  In reverse, if she had invited us, I wouldn't have assumed it was a drop off and would've planned to stick around. 

    Miracle Twins after 2 years TTC thanks to IVF! 10*18*06
    Lilypie - (6EmG)


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  • image MrsLee04:
    At this point I'm just not ready for drop off playdates...my 2 are a handful by themselves!  I was just a little put off that she thought I wanted to give up my afternoon so she could have a free one....I wasn't offering a babysitting gig, just a play date!  It all worked out in the end and I enjoyed talking with her while the kids played, I just wondered if I missed the mark by expecting her to stay.  I now know to be more clear for future invitations (although in my message I did tell her she could bring running shoes and we could walk together while the kids played...so I thought I got the message across that I expected her to stick around).

    Most people, especially those whose child is not the oldest sib, will be ready in kindie or first, so it's always best to extend the invitation to parent and child upfront.

  • Definitely by kindergarten. Every single play date at this age has been drop off. My younger daughter's been doing them since she was 3, but only with families I knew. Even in grade one, thy often just come over after school, and we may not have actually met the parent until they pick up their kid. 

    My kids also play outside with the neighbourhood kids so clearly I'm not nearly as concerned as you are! I just check on them every so often, don't even keep a constant eye on them. At ages 4&6. They ride their bikes around the block too, 

     

    i would have zero concerns watching four six year olds outside.  

  • My rule is kindergarten unless I know the family very well.
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  • I started drop off playdates with friends that I was comfortable with around the age of 4.  Friends from JK/SK have just started and I drop off with parents I don't know that well at age 5.

    The situation you described would not have gone that way with me.  I'd have kept the girls and expected a reciprocal type of drop off playdate to be offered in the near future.

    IMO, the beauty of playdates at the ages you are describing is that you get some free time.

    promised myself I'd retire when I turned gold, and yet here I am
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