Playdate Guest Etiquette

Updated on January 29, 2008
S.B. asks from Fort Worth, TX
8 answers

Hello Moms,

My son was invited to his (our) first play date and we are so excited! I wanted to get advice on what the etiquette is for the guest? Our play date is after lunch and I would like to bring a snack as a thank you gift and I'd like it to be for both the kids and the parents. The hosting Mom has graciously invited me and my other son, which is great because I wasn't going to just leave my son with strangers. I'd also like my husband to be there to meet/mingle the parents too. I guess he can "drop" us off and maybe they might invite him to stay? I guess I just really want this to work b/c we don't have many friends out here, since we're 2 yrs new to the area. We have his sisters and their families, but that's about it. And I'd really like to start socializing with folks other than his family (whom I do love dearly).

To recap:
What is the proper etiquette as a play date guest?
Would my family of four be too overwhelming on the first visit and should I just keep it just the three of us?

Thank you!

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So What Happened?

Well, the playdate was very casual. My son and I drove up to our host's house to find my son's friend and his dad playing outside already. We went back and forth inside and outside of the house, basically just watching the kids. Before we knew, it, an hour and half flew by. They were a very sweet family and I'm glad my son chose such a great little boy as a friend. Thanks for the advice!

Featured Answers



answers from Austin on

I'm going to say 'ditto' on leaving Daddy out of this playdate until you know the family, but do go ahead and bring the older child. Most of the time, first playdates are Mommy-to-Mommy time and you bring the whole family in only after you know each other.

So, keep it low-key and casual. The snacks are nice but not necessary.

More Answers



answers from Wichita Falls on

A Snack would be great, you should stay away from eggs, milk, and nuts if possible (until you know about allergies). People have brought fruit trays, or a favorite type of cookies and maybe juice boxes when they have come over here to play, usually we try to keep thing relitively healthy but my son is only 2 so we are a bit picky about what he eats still. As far as the hubby I think you are right on the money he can drop you off and meet the people and they may ask him to stay but usually these things are a Mommy and me type thing so she may not be thinking he will be there. You may want to invite them over as a family sometime for a cookout to bring him in to the picture. Good luck I am right there with you my husband is Air Force so we are always on seperate shifts and we never know when it is good for him to go or not.



answers from Dallas on

I agree that fathers do not typically attend playdates. I don't think it's a good idea at all. Invite their family over at another time. I think bringing a snack is a nice idea. Have fun!




answers from Austin on

As for your question about what to bring, ask the host if you may bring fruit for dessert or something like that. That seems to work well and if you bring several selections, or a fruit salad, there is sure to be something everyone can have. You may inquire about food alergies when asking this question, but we have never had a problem with this tactic. Sometimes they will tell you not to bring anything, and this is okay too. You might put a game all children can play in the car with you, or offer to bring it.

I always offer to help with clean up when we go somewhere. I am usually turned down, but at least the host knows we are willing to do dishes, etc. I do ask my child to put up or put back what he has been playing with before leaving if that seems to be the norm (if there is a place it came from), such as a trunk, closet, etc.

Also, reinforce whatever rules the host sets. If children are to take thier dishes from the table to the sink, then have your child do that. The worst thing is when a parent lets thier child do something different than what you've set as the expectation in your home.

As for the dad question, we tend to do whole family get togethers in our circle and dads are invited. Sometimes they don't come, but that seems to be the exception rather than the rule.

Remember to send a thank you note right away, and most people seem to do that by email now.

Have fun!



answers from Dallas on

Hi S.,

It sure is exciting to start getting involved with other moms and children that are near your children's ages! Especially when you're new to an area. I'm sure that she would really appreciate your bringing a snack. It's probably unlikely that they would ask your husband to stay the first time. In my experience, the moms and children usually got together a few times before the dads were involved. Now, you might consider asking their whole family over for a lunch or dinner sometime after your play date.

Hope you all have a great time!


answers from Dallas on

Things may be different now but.....when we started playdates at preschool age about 8 yrs ago or so...(my daughter is now 13)

On the first playdate, the moms would visit while the children had a relatively short and sweet playdate (hour to hour and a half). That way moms got to know each other and the children. I have an only child. I think it is very nice of the host mom to invite your other child. It is also very nice of you to bring something. I think I would be a little freaked out if dad wanted to be on playdate too.

After the 1st or 2nd playdate, we let the children go play, with supervision of course. As for me, when my daughter has someone over (to this day) I keep close contact on what they are doing and at the same time, I get some chores out of the way. I keep the number of girls here even. It always seems that if you have 3 kids together, 1 gets left out and arguing begins. My rule is even number of girls in the house.

After getting to know some of daughter's friends, we have had families over to our home for dinner, cookouts, etc.




answers from Dallas on

I think you have it, a family of four would be way too overwhelming, I think you should go with just your son that is the same age, and see how you like the mom, and the child... then if it goes well slowly add the rest of the family, then you have less to focus on during the play date. Just ask the mom what you can bring, ask about any allergies, and don't think it is so formal, it likely is not. Have fun!!



answers from Houston on

The following are my thoughts based on both being a guest and having guests (both of which we have done LOTS)-

*It is a no-no to bring any personal item or toy that your child will not share. It is just rude and never easy to navigate.
*Also, be ready for your group to remove all shoes if the hostess doesn't do shoes in the house.
*Ask before bringing others. A simple "my husband would love to meet yours, will be available?" should do it. If she will be alone she (or her husband) may be uncomfortable with a "strange" man there. Your 'about me' said FT working mom - so I am guessing this is on a weekend.
* Ask before bringing food. Many people have food allergies or med. situations and prefer not to have some items within their home. Also - let your hostess know if your brood has any special needs or allergies.
* Also ask what areas are off limits for the children. If your children are very active let the hostess know (some people don't allow running in the house, or have decorative items they want left alone, or sibling/grandma rooms not to be explored or pillaged or electronics not to be toyed with)
* At least offer to help clean up before you leave. It's not fun to clean up a mess after guests leave.
* Be prepared to leave all food and drink items in a designated area. Many do not want food/drink through out the house.

We don't do 'drop off' playdates with young children. To be honest I prefer playdates at outdoor parks. That way it is a third party location and you can leave when you want to easier. I started suggesting the park after some very uncomfortable situations both in my home and at others! Even those I have known for a while surprise me. The park is neutral territory :)

There is my .o2 for what it's worth. I certainly appreciate the above courtesy and I always give that courtesy as well.