How Often Do Your School-aged Kids Play with Friends?

Updated on February 11, 2012
J.J. asks from Gilbert, AZ
19 answers

My kids are in Kinder and 1st grade. Just wondering outside of school how often they are with their friends. Their friends do not call often to come over to play. It seems that they have a friend over only about 2 -3X per month. When I was 7, I think I played with my friends, the neighborhood kids all the time. Unfortunately, we don't really have any neighborhood kids. Plus a lot of their friends go to after-school care, are from divorced families that take turns on the weekend etc. Just wondering if I should be pushing it more for them to have friends over? Thanks ladies.

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So What Happened?

Thanks Ladies for the input. We do go to the park quite a bit and I do have a few mom friends that have kids that we get together with.

MSKitty, I know, you would think in Gilbert we'd have no problem. Our last house had about 20 kids on the street all within the ages of mine. We had 7 kids next door. We moved about 1.5 years ago and the street we are on seems like a retirement community. Most of our neighbors have been there since the homes were built and their kids are grown and on their own now!

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answers from Houston on

I think it depends on the type of neighborhood you live in. We live WAYYY out in the middle of nowhere. There are 2 kids living within a mile of where we live, One is in my sons class, but she is a girl, so he doesn't play with her, the other is this girls sister! I make an effort to take him to the park regularly (once or twice a week) so he can play with other kids his age. Otherwise playdates happen a couple of times a year only!



answers from Dallas on

We're lucky to live on a street full of kids so my kiddos (8 & 9) play with friends daily after homework & chores are done as long as they had a good day at school. On sports nights (4 nights a week) they have to come home earlier, but they still get to play with their friends for a little while. Most of the time they play outside in a big roving band of kids, lol, but when the weather is not nice they hang out at one of the houses.

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answers from Minneapolis on

I have a 5 year old boy and a 6 year old boy (preschool and 1st grade). My preschooler has regular playdates with a couple of friends.

My 1st grader has not had a playdate all school year. I think that there are a few reasons.

1. He's got different kids in his classroom than Kindergarten (but for one girl) and it takes time to make good friends at school.

2. None of the kids in his classroom live in our immediate neighborhood.

3. EVERYONE is super busy.

4. School gets out at 3:45, so by the time everyone is home and done homework, it's dinner time. Then in our house, bedtime comes next.

5. Our weekends are pretty scared family time. My husband travels a ton during the week, so the weekends are "Daddy Days" and all though occasionally we have friends over (family friends with kids similar ages) we do not generally invite friends over. It's just too busy with swimming, and regular family stuff.

I think that when my kids are older they'll ask for more playdates, but right now I'm fine with things the way they are.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lakeland on

My daughter is in kindergarten and when there is a holiday or school break we try to set up play dates at the park with her classmates. Her teacher goes too with her daughter. Most days after school my daughter will play with the little girl next door, but that’s about it. I know most kids are in aftercare or having to run errands with their parents.

Times are different now than from when I was a kid, more parents have to work full time (not saying they are bad parents). When I was young we were outside playing with the neighborhood kids, and we could hear our parents when they called us home for dinner so we didn’t wander too far.

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answers from New York on

In the nice weather, almost every day. When it's winter, 4-5 times a week. We do have lots of kids in the neighborhood but I also make a point to arrange a lot of playdates. My oldest is very social so she enjoys it and asks for it. She has friends who go to aftercare so I just arrange to pick up the child from aftercare or right after school. Usually the kids are thrilled to come according to their parents. It's a break in routine I guess. I think if your kids are happy, don't worry about it. It turns into a lot of work to be arranging these playdates all the time... Maybe do it just a bit more often.


answers from Phoenix on

Are you actually in Gibert? I can't believe with the high LDS population here that there wouldn't be kids in your neighborhood. We have TONS! My kids are older or I'd have you over for a playdate! =) My kids are in 3rd and 6th and they have friends over at least twice per week. And there are kids on our cul-de-sac that all you have to do is knock on the door and they come out to play. My son has a friend with a younger sister who lives on the next street over and either his mom will call me, or I'll call her and the kids will go to either of our homes to play together. My 6th grader has a friend that is in her class that lives a couple blocks from us. She randomly will ride her bike over during the week or weekends and hang out. She only comes here, my daughter doesn't go to her house. I think its a good idea for the kids to play with friends outside of school. So I would just call if you have their numbers and see if you can start getting some things set up. Good luck!


answers from Seattle on

My son is in Kindergarten and has had one friend over this school year. My other son is in 3rd grade and has also had one school friend over. I never really thought about it.
It's so much easier when there are neighborhood kids, right? But, there are NO kids in our blocks (we seem to live next to a bunch of empty nesters!) so it's not as easy. I get what you are saying, with after school sports, homework, dinner and family time it's a bit tough to get some friend time in those 3-4 hours after school.
I say, as long as your kid isn't complaining you are doing good!



answers from Seattle on

That sounds pretty normal.

My son had 3 besties in K... so we rotated weekends with them.


answers from Phoenix on

For the most part, weekly playdate / sleepover maybe every other week. I think it is important at 3rd and 6th grade to have the outside fun too......with the peers. When they were really little we actually did more since K was so short in the social time aspects..... but I have to say it was a lot of work to always plan to get it all together. I kinda wish other moms made the effort, but it just was not that way and still isnt...... :0(.



answers from Pittsburgh on

A few times a month.
There's school, sports games, sports practices, etc.....
Sometimes we watch O. of his buds on "no school days."


answers from Santa Fe on

My son has a playdate almost every Wednesday after school. It rotates either at our house or at another boy's house. Wednesdays because that is a half day at the schools here. Some Fri afternoons he has a playdate as well (maybe 1ce a month) because his best friend can only get together on that afternoon. Every now and they a friend will come over to play on the weekend for a few hours as well. Besides that he sometimes will play with neighbor kids. Most of which are not exactly his age, but they will play together anyway. My son wants to play with other kids daily it seems. He is ALWAYS begging for me to set up a playdate with one of his favorite classmates. He will hound me about it.



answers from Denver on

My daughter has only one day per week that is free (she does sports and I work one day while she attends a dance class at school - sort of a playdate)

We have agreed that her one free day will be a play day. I plan ahead and invite a classmate over. We have one classmate across the street, so that's easy, but I frequently will email different classmates' mothers ahead of time and pick both of them up from school.

I think it's good to encourage school friends to come daughter is now 9 and the girls are starting to pair up and get into groups. It helps to have them establish friendships ahead of time so they are not left out.



answers from Las Cruces on

My kids are not allowed to have friends over on school days. We had some neighbors taking advantage of letting their kids come over everyday without asking. My son was not getting homework done or rushing to get it done so he could play. Once in a great while we will allow them to have friends over on school days.


answers from Columbus on

I guess it depend on your circumstances, my neighborhood has tons of kids and so my son plays with friends daily, most of the time in my house (although I complain sometimes, I prefer it that way). It has been this way since my oldes was about 3 and he's 7 now.
He doesn't get to play with friends from school often though, maybe about once a month and its usually the same boy that lives somewhat near by and who has a nice and friendly family; but its mostly neighborhood kids.



answers from Tulsa on

My d's best friend comes over IF I ask and they are not too busy. She does 2 activities on Monday and Wednesday and one every other day.
When she does come over, her M. likes it to be for 2-3 hours at a time. I prefer a child come over less, but on most days. Her mother is encouraging me to sign my child up for the sports her daughter does but my child is not interested in them.



answers from Dallas on

My kids mostly play with neighbor kids, if it's their week with their dad. Other than that, we get together with other friends only 2-3 times per month. Between after school activities and friends in daycare, there really aren't that many opportunities. Plus, there's only about 1 hour after school that my kids have to play. Then we have to do homework, chores, dinner, have a little bit of family time, then bedtime.

I just noticed that you said friends don't call often to come over. I usually don't invite my kids over to someone else's house. How often do you call?


answers from Dallas on

When I was that age, I was out from dawn to dusk with my friends. Digging holes to China, riding bikes, baseball, etc.
My oldest was always running from one friend's house to another. I think you should have friends over more if you want them to play more. Although they do have each other to play with, so it's not too bad.


answers from Richmond on

My kids rarely to never ask to play with school mates. We don't have a lot of neighborhood kids either, but we very often see our friends with kids and we own a small, private boat club, and our members always have kids down there, so they're always playing with someone!... just not their school friends, which is fine by me :)



answers from Minneapolis on

We have Cub Scouts 3 times a month and he sees his friends then and they get a chance to play. I make play dates with friends about 2x times per month.

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