Playdate Etiquette

Updated on March 16, 2009
N.D. asks from Vancouver, WA
9 answers

i set up a playdate with my daughter's classmate at the classmate's house next week. she's been to our house previously to play but i don't know much about the parents other than that they were willing to drop off their daughter at our house without knowing us and that they're christian. i don't think my daughter's ever been to a playdate where i didn't know the parents and neither my husband nor i feel comfortable just sending her over there on the bus after school without having met/gotten to know them. how do i go about asking this? she'll probably think i'm being overprotective so i want to know if there's a way to broach this without making her defensive. what has been your experience?

-my daughter's in first grade.
-i set up the playdate without thinking as we have no experience with playdates at classmates' houses.

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So What Happened?

thank you to everyone :) i emailed the mom that i'd like to get to know her and she thought the same and suggested either coming over during the playdate or going out to coffee. i love mamasource!

More Answers



answers from Eugene on

If you were dropping your daughter off at my house for a play date, I would welcome the opportunity to get to know you. Could you call this mom and see if she has time for you to stop in and visit while your daughters play? If not, you could reschedule for a later date when it is possible.

If the other mom becomes defensive, I'd wonder why. But I have found that most moms want to know the other moms and enjoy making new friends themselves.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I think the best thing would have been to get to know them before they had dropped their daughter off at your house for the previous play date.
But now I think it would be appropriate for you to chaperone your daughter's upcoming play date at their house, to get to know them and see if their home is safe.
Are you thinking your daughter or the parents will become defensive?
ps- You are not being overprotective, you are being a responsible parent that is interested in knowing your child's community:)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Hi Nicole,

I don't think you're being overprotective, but then maybe I was overprotective with my kids, too -(lol!)

I guess in this situation I would say no to the playdate unless I could find a way to get to know the parents better and visit their home first. You could find an excuse to have your daughter come home from school first (check on homework assignments before playing, a chore that needs to be done, etc) and then take her to their home and go with her to the door and wait to be invited in.

Like someone else suggested you could bring some snacks to carry in. Then you could stay to visit with the mom for awhile or the whole time if you felt uncomfortable about anything.

Just because they are Christian doesn't mean their home would be an acceptable place for my child to visit without me. I had some "Christian" neighbors who were very physically and mentally abusive to their children so I didn't allow my kids to visit at their house without me.

To avoid a similar situation in the future, when your daughter wants to invite someone over for a play date and you don't know the parents you could call the mom and extend the invitation to come over with her child for the first playdate to visit and get acquainted. At that time you could tell her that you understand that she (like you) would want to get to know people first before letting her child come over alone.

If that is too direct, you could word it more friendly like "as long as our girls seem to enjoy each other's company so much, I thought we should get acquainted, too".

If that doesn't work, you could take the next step to be more direct and say
"I'm planning that you'll want to come in and visit for at least a few minutes when you bring her over to have a chance to get to know each other a little better."

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Bellingham on

are we talking about a kindergardner or a 4th grader? big difference in my responce.
younger kid.. why did you set up the play date in the first place if your concerned? either cancel or go meet the parents.
older kid.. your child is able to understand the difference in parenting styles and able to comunicate with you appropriatly. then there is no problem

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I wonder the same things about my daughter's friends parents. She's 7 and recently had a birthday party, and some of the kids were just dropped off (same thing happened at a party I took her too... I didn't know the kids, their parents didn't know me. I thought that was sooo strange. We just started haveing playdates with another family, and I go over there too... gives me a chance to have some mom to mom time as well. I just don't understand how parents can drop their kids off with strangers...
So, I don't think you are being over protective. I think you are being a good mom worrying about your child's safety. I'm glad to hear there are other mom's that have the same issues. I was beginning to think it was just in my community!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

Nothing wrong with wanting to meet parents you've never met when you plan to send your child to their care!..whether for playdate or otherwise!...a simple friendly phone call if you have their number, or an email if that's how you communicated will do. Make sure the parent is going to be there and not the "babysitter". Ask what they might be doing so that you can send along play clothes or a craft smock..ask if you can provide the snack, since she is doing the "care giving"...or something..anything to talk to her :)
It's easy to strike up a conversation. If you want into the house you have to go there, so I suggest picking her up from school, or whatever or maybe offer to drive both girls since you are going anyway..perfect opportunity to eyeball the parents :) Good Luck :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

BE OVERPROTECTIVE!!!!! Even Christians can do horrid things - I'm not saying they will, but you can explain that the rules you have is that you have to know the parents at least a bit. Do what you need to do to make sure your sweet baby girl is safe.

I think now is a good time to establish the rules. Explain to her that you don't know them at all. My mom had this rule when I was growing up and I respected it. I got frustrated time to time, but my mom always explained that their are bad ppl our there and that she wanted to make sure her precious jewel was safe. Even if she does get defensive that is way better than potentially harmed. Best of luck! Just remember we all get to go through times where our kids won't be our biggest fans.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Who did you set up the playdate with? In todays world your can't just let your child run free to someones house that you don't know. I always go with my kids and meet the parents and if I don't feel right about them staying by themselves then I go every time, that way they can still play with their friends but I get to make sure nothing funny is going on. I have 2 friends that my kids can be at without me and we trade watching each others kids. You cannot take back if something happens that is bad to her. You have got to at least meet the parents before she goes over there, drop by one day and just say hi.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Hi Nicole,
I've been in the same situation before, and know how delicate this can be. On the other hand, as both a parent and a parenting coach, I can't encourage you enough to never ignore that inner voice that guides you. You are so wise to want to meet the other family first, and so right in putting the safety of your daughter ahead of any social discomfort this may create.

I also want to encourage you that I was usually pleased as a parent when another child's parents wanted to meet me before they allowed their child to come over. And if you think about it this way ~ if another family is offended that you would like to meet them first, then maybe that isn't the place you would want your daughter to be without you...

One possible way that you might approach this to avoid hurting their feelings is to simply explain something such as, "You know, we've set an expectation with Susie that we like to meet the parents of anyone whose home she is going to. We really enjoyed having Mary over a few weeks ago, and really feel good about the girls's friendship, and so I was hoping that we could have a chance to connect by my either bringing Susie over for the play date, or coming by before then to get a chance to meet before they ride the bus home together."

Hope this is helpful!

1 mom found this helpful
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