PLAYDATES?! when is it ok to start letting ur lil ones be at a friends house alone?

Angela - posted on 05/10/2010 ( 7 moms have responded )

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I understand i cant hold em under my wings forever but people can be so decieving. I dont wanna think the world is totally bad but im DEF not gonna turn a blind eye to it either! I get being there the first few times but i dont want to embarrass them either by watching every move they make every second. Any suggestions on how to handle in a good mommy way? They are friends from school so these are people i have only met in passing and at school events, but if i keep turning them down i dont want hurt his chances on making outside friends

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Christy - posted on 05/10/2010

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I think you definitely have to know the parents to some degree. And call me extreme, but every friend I have let my daughter have a play date with, I have done an internet search on their parents. And TWICE I have found father's of kids with some sort of sexual conviction. Granted they were years ago, but still. In both cases I got along well with the mothers and would have never suspected anything. I also would never let my child ride with another parent unless I check their driving record. In my state all of this info is public and can be looked up. Ofcourse I don't tell the parents I do this, and if I find something of suspect, it's easy enough to come up with excuses not to have a playdate.

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Lori - posted on 05/10/2010

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Maybe you should host a Play date/luncheon with the other children's parents maybe at a local community center. that way you can have a chance to meet and get to know the parents. Maybe have some finger foods/snakes and while the kids play you can talk and get to know who the parents are.. I used to do this once or twice a month when my older girls were smaller. They are now 12 & 10 and I also have 4 year old they don't ask to go to a friend house alone, but rather ask when I'm gonna host another play party this allows you to be there without them thinking you are hovering & the other mommies will enjoy it as well. it's a great way to make some friends yourself and put your mind at ease till you are comfortable to cut the strings a little.

Sylvia - posted on 05/10/2010

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How old are your kids?

I let my DD be at friends' houses alone as soon as she was comfortable with that, which I think was at ... maybe age 4, depending on which friend ;^). She had one very close friend from daycare whose parents she knew well (and vice versa -- these two girls were inseparable for three years), and she was happy to be at their house on her own, but otherwise she wanted me or DH to stay with her (for birthday parties, etc.). When she was invited to a party, I would always ask whether it was the kind of party where the parents stay or the kind where they drop the kids off and leave, so that she would know ahead of time and tell me if she wanted me to stay.

Now she's 7, almost 8, and it's no problem for her to go to friends' parties and play at friends' houses without my staying too. I know most of her friends' parents to say hello to because we've talked briefly at school or daycare things, pick-up/drop-off, whatever, but there aren't many of them that I'd say I know *well*. I'm trying to encourage her to make her own plans with her friends -- she's in Grade 2, I shouldn't want to be her social convener anymore!! -- but it's tricky because most of her friends live a bit far for her to walk to, and the other kids' parents mostly seem to expect to make plans with me rather than the kids' making plans together.

I'm honestly not that worried about something bad happening at another kid's house, and if G-d forbid something did, I trust my DD to know what is and isn't OK and to tell me about it ASAP so we can make sure it doesn't happen a second time. I try to base my parenting decisions more on reasoning and common sense and less on whatever awful thing was on the news last night ('cos, after all, if it's on the news it's because it's unusual...). I think about what I was allowed to do at the same age (walk down the block to play at a friend's house, play in the front yard without direct supervision, walk around the corner to the bakery to buy bread every morning, wash the dishes...) and whether DD is as capable and responsible as I was (pretty much yes).

If you're really uncomfortable about a particular parent for some reason, why not suggest taking the kids to the park so they can play together and you can watch them (from a distance)? That's a hard sell in the winter (though you can always suggest taking them tobogganing!) but at this time of year the kids are crazy to get outside and run around, so it's win-win :)

Angie - posted on 05/10/2010

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It depends upon how well you know the other child's parents and how much you trust them. I let my children go to solo play dates at 3 but I was a SAHM and another mom and I took turns so we could get our homes cleaned.

Angela - posted on 05/10/2010

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Thank you Heather, I'm just trying to justify my actions because everyone keeps telling me that I am a helicopter mom (always hovering over my kids) but like you said rather safe than sorry. I chose to not turn a blind eye to the bad things that can happen in life, I will stand by my choice of needing to be apart of the playdates! TY

Melissa - posted on 05/10/2010

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i can only say maybe try befriending the other mums at school and deciding for yourself if they are trustworthy my daughter is 6 and has never been left alone at someones house either and i def would not leave her with people i didn't know and trust don't let people tell you your paranoid because you r better safe than sorry good luck i would wait till 10 probably before leaving her with an acquaintance if i left her at all hope i helped :)

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i would suggest having a play date at a park or somewhere public where you can meet the parents a little while your kids play together, then go from there. my son is 6 and last year was the first year i allowed him to go to a friends house without me, but i did know them first.

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