Age for Playdates Without Parents

Updated on September 25, 2012
T.C. asks from Minneapolis, MN
14 answers

Just curious what others do. My son just turned 5 in august and started kindergarten. He has a good friend in his class that he went to preschool with and we all went over to thier place the other night so the kids can play. we had fun and so did they. what age though did you start letting your kids go to friends houses without you? I know i am more overprotective than others and ya know what im just fine with that. Unless i know the parents well i am not comfortable having my kid thier without me. but what age have other kids started wanting to do that. 6, 7, 8? I will always talk with the parents first as my kids get older but i know i cant go with them to thier friends house forever. LOL Also how often do your kids actually get together with friends to play? I know we are busy and week nights would be out by the time we are home and eat dinner, homework, activites, etc. weekends we seem to have stuff to like swimming lessons, church, sunday school, sports, etc. I know i have a little time before i really have to worry about it since my kids are only 5 and 2 1/2 but thought i would just see what others do.

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answers from Milwaukee on

1st or 2nd grade I think is when my kids were going alone to kids' houses other than the neighbors. My kids are 3rd and 4th grade now and usually go for play dates right after school. Sometimes they are home before supper, sometimes after. Sometimes they do homework at the play date, sometimes after.

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answers from New York on

Two with friends. Three years old when in nursery school. There really is no need for a parent to be with a child while he plays. Then again 36 years ago we just were so much more relaxed about child raising. Kids loved the independence. Besides if I ever had to entertain parents I would never had gotten anything done. It was justnanwhole different world back then. So my answer to your question is three years old.

It seems to me everything is too formal and too much thought s put into things. No one seems spontaneous anymore. If a nursery school friend was free they came over. No phone calls back n forth, planning of snacks etc.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

When my boys were about three and had started nursery school we started playdates without parents. We would usually do a couple of playdates with the parents, and when we were all comfortable with one another the kids would go on their own. That way we would takes turns, and moms would get a bit of a break too. When they were about five we stopped playdates with parents. Meeting the other parent was sufficient by then.

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answers from Spokane on

I guess it depends. For us, my daughter didn't *want* me hanging around by the time she was 5 - and as long as was I comfortable with the parents, I was fine leaving her for 2-3 hours. And on the flip's pretty uncomfortable having a parent you don't really know well stick around when you have their kid over to play. I mean, I use the time that my kids are occupied with friends to DO stuff....not sit and stare at another mom ;)

My girls are all 6 and under, but the oldest probably plays with friends about 1-2 times per week. For us, weekends are pretty much off-limits because that's "family time" - the exception being birthday parties because no one ever has them in the evenings.

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answers from Boston on

My 7 y.o. went to her first solo playdate when she was 6. Before that, she wasn't comfortable with me leaving. She still has only gone to houses where I know the parents and she feels pretty comfortable there. My 4 y.o. still needs me there. With that said, one of my 4 y.o.'s friends comes over to our house without her mom. It is a childcare situation, but really ends up being an extra long playdate. I think it depends on the kids and the parents. When my oldest was in kindergarten, I would send a note to a parent saying my daughter is interested in a playdate. I would always offer to host and leave it up to the parent whether or not they wanted to stay. I used to say something like "I'd love to have Kaitlyn over for a playdate. You are welcome to stay if that would make Kaitlyn more comfortable." I also used to say we could meet at a park etc if the parent chose. Usually you can tell what the other parent wants after a conversation or two. I know one parent who was not up for entertaining any playdates where a parent needed to be there. That didn't work for me, but at least the other mom was up front. Another parent didn't really have the time for playdates. Sometimes parents like to meet you once, then are good with solo playdates going forward. In reality, we don't do playdates too often b/c we are busy, but I make the effort to make sure my daughters get plenty of time with friends. :)



answers from Honolulu on

It depends on how well you know the child and the parent and the family and their home.
It is not just by numeric age.

If a TRUST a parent/Mom/family and know them and have been to their home before, my children (who are 6 and 9) can be there without me.
BUT I do not leave my 6 year old son, at someone's house, without me... if I do not know or trust, the other parent/family/home.

I also go by my kids' cues.
I don't tell my son, for example, that he must be only dropped off... and then me leave. If he wants me to stay, I stay. But, I also ask the other Mom, IF she as a Host, wants the Moms there or doesn't mind of we just drop off.
I do stay, at another person's home/playdate, if I do not know the Mom or family, well.

My kids get together with other friends, often. At their or my home.
But not on week, nights. If on weekdays, it would be, only for a couple of hours RIGHT after school, BEFORE evening, and/or if my kids do not have a lot of homework, and/or if, we have time.
Weekdays, are very busy, for most Moms. Or on weekends.



answers from Minneapolis on

Well - so far my oldest (age 7) has yet to have a playdate unless I was in need of childcare help! There is one Mom in our neighborhood who has a boy his age and she's helped me out once when I needed care for him while we attended a funeral. Other than that, he's been to birthday parties (which I did not attend - and some that I did) and that's about it.

We are BUSY and unless we scheduled something for a school night, I'm not sure how we would add playdates to our schedule. Right now, school night playdates don't work for us, as we are the late start school and he doesn't even get home until about 4:15... then with homework, dinner and reading time (and soon to add Cub Scouts and Piano lessons) I feel overbooked already.

My younger kids have playdates with families we are friends with through their preschool. But once we reach school age, it's harder to make a connection with other families (for me at least) and harder to find the time.

And - I think it depends on the kid. My oldest is kind of a homebody anyway, and never asks for a playdate.

My daughter on the other hand, I imagine will be asking by age 5 for sure (she's 3 now).



answers from Boston on


My kids don't have play dates with kids who can't come without their parents. We have one friend whose mom still isn't comfortable having her son go anywhere without her (at age 6 and in first grade) so she hosts all of the play dates, which is fine by me. I don't have time to entertain other moms so that's the way it works for me. We've been able to find plenty of other families where the kids were comfortable going place on their own but I would imagine that there are many other who expect the parent to stay too. Whatever works...but for us it was four.

I work FT but 3 of those days are at home so my younger boys (6 & 8) get together with friends 1-2 afternoons a week.


answers from Washington DC on

My daughter just started in the last year or so. She is 7. But, I know all her friends parents really well, so I feel ok about it. I would not let her to go a friends house with out me that I didn't know their parents. My son is 5 and he has not done that yet. I have always gone to his playdates with him


answers from San Francisco on

We started at 4, second year of preschool :)


answers from Denver on

here and there around 4-5 more often at 6ish. We usually do playdates with my sons friend after the sports games or on weekends when we dont have any sports going on. He usually only has one kid though that will come to our house or he will go to his. We usually have so many neighbor kids outside playing that will sometimes come and go in eachothers houses so that is spur of the moment oh we see your car in the driveway can you play. If my kids feel comfortable to go without me then they are ready.



answers from New York on

We have formal playdates at least once a week and informal ones a lot - meaning neighborhood kids just come by. I don't have my kids in that many activities bc I want them to just play a lot when they're young. We started playdates without parents around 3 or 4. They were neighborhood parents who I knew at first and then as the kids got older, 4-5, I'd get to know the parents some and then they could go alone. Often someone would stay for awhile and then leave when the child was comfortable. If a parent wanted to stay a lot, I'd start to shy away from playdates with them. I didn't want to make small talk for 2 hours.



answers from Eau Claire on

My son went and spent the night at a friends house when he was 5. He never really did the play date thing too much. He had a blast at the sleepover. We did tell him (and the Mom) that if he wanted to come home, we'd certainly come get him.



answers from Los Angeles on

My son is 5 and we started when he was about 4.5 He was ready, as were his friends and their parents. We don't do it all the time, and never for more than a couple of hours, but they have all gone well so far. We still have plenty of playdates where I am there, too, but it's nice to do a dropoff once in awhile!

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