R.E. asks from Round Rock, TX on July 15, 2009
Finding a Play Date
I have a five year old daughter who is needing a play date. How do I go by finding one. She is my only child and I really don't get out much so it is hard to meet people. I have a friend who is the same age as myself and she has a daughter the same age but has our lives just do not mesh. I am 37 and am done going out to clubs, I have rules for my daughter and she lets her daughter do whatever. My daughter knows how to read and write. Her daughter is just learning the colors. I guess I am just wanting to find someone who is at the same level as my daughter. I don't know if I am being to picky. How do I go about finding a play date for my daughter?
L.A. answers from Austin on July 16, 2009
First of all, each family is very different. I know that you want the best for your child, but remember each parent has their own version of what is acceptable and what is not. Try not to compare your child or your choices to others, cause I promise, at some point someone somewhere is going to look at your child and your lifestyle and judge you. It really does hurt your feelings.. I am still always working on this myself.
Do you all attend church? Does your child attend day care? These are great places to ask her little friends families if their child can go to your home for a few hours. Or to meet up at a playground, McD's whatever".
Is your daughter going to attend kindergarten this fall?
If so, be sure to get to know as many of the families in her class as possible. Volunteer at the school. Join the PTA. Offer to be a parent helper to your child's class.
Before school starts take your child to the school playground and see if there are other kids and their families playing there. Ask those parents questions about what activities your child can expect in kindergarten. Do they have any advice?... This is how we first met the children and their families at our daughters elementary school. The parents were very willing to give advice and suggestions.
On the very first morning of school our daughter sat next to a cute little girl. They were both so shy so we asked the little girl, "What is your name?" She said "Paige". We said "Paige this is our Daughter her name is P----" , "Maybe you two can help each other today?" They both agreed yes. So that was our daughters first friend at school. After about a month. The mom invited our daughter to go over for a 2 hour playdate. It was great. We then offered that next week for Paige to visit our home. I took Paige and her mom on a tour of our home, gave the mom our phone number and then the girls played. It was great.. This continued, with us sometimes adding 2 more girls. I had been advised that even numbers with girls are best.. and boy was that a good tip, cause any time we had odd numbers, there was always and "odd man out" for some reason.
I also let the other parents know that I was sometimes available to take their kids home if the moms needed it. I gave some of the moms my phone number and they did the same. This began long and wonderful friendships between the children, but especially for me. These families are now some of our very best friends. We still get together and our children are now in college.
1 mom found this helpful
D.F. answers from Austin on July 17, 2009
Have you thought about school or a summer program? I have met great parents at my son's MDO. He loves playing with the other kids too!
S.W. answers from Austin on July 16, 2009
As to how to find someone for your daughter to have play dates with... get out more and meet people. It will be good for her and you. Try local parks (too hot outside right now) or go to a fast food place with indoor play gym. While the kids are playing, meet people you can eventually set up play dates with. As to whether you are being too picky...I would say yes. It is a play date, with the purpose being for your daughter to play. Why does it matter how educationally behind the other child is? They are not getting together to practice reading and writing. Even if they do some of that, it isn't like the other child's lack of education will rub off! As for the rules, discuss it with the other parent and come to an agreement. I personally think it is very educational for children to learn that different people have different rules. We have an agreement in our neighborhood about that. The children are required to follow house rules. When my children are at their house, they follow their rules and vice versa. I am more strict than many of the other parents, but still there are some rules that my kids have to follow at other peoples houses that we don't have. I explain to the kids that people can be different without being wrong and you need to respect those differences. Good luck. Try and remember she is just 5 and even though children learn through play, it doesn't mean that it is bad to just let them play sometimes.
J.M. answers from Austin on July 16, 2009
I understand the struggle in meeting others, especially those who you mesh with. If you stay home, it is a lot more difficult to meet new people! I am also picky when it comes to the people I want my children spending time with!
There are a few ways to meet other moms and children. There are many local mom's groups that you can find through the web. I have found a few groups in my area through meetup.com. There is also an organization called MOMS Club (momsclub.org) that will help you find your local organization. There is another group called MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) at mops.org. Each of those have local groups that meet for play dates, and some will have fees, others will not. I have also found that our local library does story time and the story times are broken into age groups, which is nice, because some of the MOMS groups will have all age ranges. We have also met others at playgrounds and swimming pools, and my children have made friends while we are out, which has helped me!
I hope that helps!