What Do 6Yr Olds Do on a Playdate?

Updated on April 07, 2013
S.K. asks from Los Angeles, CA
19 answers

My daughter's best friend asked if my daughter can come to her house for a playdate recently. Since this is the second year they've known each other and I've chatted with the mom regularly when dropping her off at school, I felt relatively safe saying yes. I offered to have our nanny stay to watch the girls since the nanny would be sitting at home doing nothing anyway. But she said no, 6 yr olds are easy to watch. The nanny dropped her off at her friend's house at 11:00. Mom said she'll call when the playdate is over. My daughter didn't get home until four. When I asked her what she did at her friend's house, she said they mostly watch TV and play a little bit. They watched barbie movies, scooby doo, and sponge bob. My daughter learned words she's never heard before. I do not allow my kids to watch TV during the day, period. The only time they get TV is between the time my husband got home and I get home, 1.5 hr. Hubby says he's too tired to watch them. When I get home we do other things together until it's time to get ready for bed. So, do your kids just sit around and watch TV during a playdate? This is the first time I've had this happen. Playdates at my house does not involve a TV. Another thing is I asked the nanny to go inside and make sure the house is safe for the kids to play in; the yard is safe, etc. She said the mom only cracked the door to allow my daughter in, so she couldn't even peek (nanny didn't tell me this until the next day). I believe she doesn't let people see her house because it's messy. She seems very image conscious. She never goes out in public without being impeccably made up. Another playdate is coming up soon. Can I tell her no TV during the playdate? They've moved onto our street since school is out, so I foresee a lot more playdates. Also, they eat candies and other junky snacks throughout the day.
Thanks moms.

OK. I did not assume her house is messy. We've knocked on her door before to give them flowers welcoming them to the neighborhood. Her daughter opened the door, took the flowers and closed the door. Mom never came to the door. We waited 15 mins watching the girl struggling to unlatch the glass front door. She called later to apologize for not coming to the door, saying her house was messy. So, I assumed she told me the truth when she said her house is always messy.

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answers from Los Angeles on

My guess is-the TV was on-but they were also playing. I do not think you can set the rules at someone else's house.



answers from New York on

I have 6 yr. old girls over for playdates all the time and they are generally 6 hrs. at a time. With that being said, the TV is on but it is generally for a 1/2 hr. with a popcorn snack or they watch dance videos of Justin Beiber. The rest of the time they are playing with their Barbies, dress-up, rock band or school.

I also end the play dates with a list to each mom of what they ate and at what time and a general overview of what we did.

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answers from Dallas on

Wow, no, you cannot tell this Mom no TV on a playdate. If you are that adamant about your daughter not watching TV then I guess you'll have to make her miss out on playdates. Consider that the reason she watched so much TV on her playdate is because her TV use is so restricted at home. And the assumptions you are making about this mother.... just WOW!

Honestly, I pray that you get some control over your control issues.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I don't really think that you can forbid tv at the other mom's house. If there is a specific show that you don't let your daughter watch, you can tell her that but otherwise, you may not be able to let your daughter play there, if it's so important to you that she not watch tv. When my kids were young, I almost always forbade tv during playdates. My son would try that and I'd make him turn it off. Maybe the last half hour of a playdate, while they had a snack, once they were already tired out from running around the backyard and building stuff with legos or knex - it was the same with my daughter, no planting themselves in front of the tv during a playdate. I made it clear to my kids that playdates were not for that, but if this child is allowed unlimited tv, this may be how she spends most of her time. Maybe have your daughter bring over a fun toy that the girls could play with together, to entice the friend to do something other than watch tv? Otherwise, you might want to mostly limit the playdates to your home, to limit the exposure to tv and candy. But you really can't tell someone that they can't let their kid watch tv or eat candy.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I have dropped my kids off at houses and said, 'please don't watch TV, play with your friend!" and then left. That way the mama knew what I was hoping would happen. Anytime we have had kids over here I don't let them turn on the TV. We don't have friends over for that! We have friends over to play!!!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I would try to host playdates in the future to avoid the issue. Or you could suggest a playdate at a park, zoo or other place. I think you would be fine casually mentioning that there is no/limited tv time at your house. WOW, Nikki. I suspect the reason they watched so much tv is because that is what this little girl does normally (maybe in between eating candy of course).

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Every home is different per play-dates.

No, not every child's play-date is watching tv.

My house is play-date central. I've had play-dates for my kids since they were 2 years old.
Per age, I have activities for them... and they also play independently. When kids are older, they do get independent and play on their own very well. And sure, I as the Hosting Mom, supervises. The other Moms, stay or drop off.
I feed them too. But the other Moms, ALSO bring food/snacks for the kids.

My kids play... constantly on our play-dates. They are very independent. They play pretend, games, go out in the yard, watch a movie, and really are self-regulated.

My Son is 4 and on his play-dates at our home, he and his friends really just are so independent and never get bored. I do not, have to micro-manage them or have constant activities for them, because they constantly have something to do. Not just watch tv. They are too busy for that.

As a Hosting Mom on play dates, I ALWAYS invite the other Moms inside. They can stay if they want or not. I show them around the house so they feel comfortable. I explain myself and my rules.
My house is not a museum. It is a kids' house. Toys all over. Not a clean freak house. So what. It is presentable and sanitary and clean.

IF you do not feel comfortable about this Mom/her home/the circumstances... then don't agree to the play-date.

My son, has a classmate at Preschool that invites him over. I do not like this kid.. .he is a NAUGHTY trouble-making kid. My son says so, as do the Teachers and just from my own observations, I can tell. SO... I say no. I do not accept the play-date invitation to this boy's home. I say we are busy etc. I am polite about it. But I say no.

Or, you invite the girl to YOUR house, instead.

You also, have to teach YOUR child, about what is appropriate or not and what is allowed or not.
She is 6. My daughter at that age would point blank tell any friends' Mom "I can't eat Kiwi, I am allergic." or, "I have to ask my Mommy if I can have 3 candies..." etc.
You teach YOUR child... what is okay or not.
They can speak up.
You teach them that.

But, once they are at another kids' home for a play-date, you CANNOT control... totally, what the kids do. This is a life lesson... about how other families are different... but that, even if they do things, does not mean you do that at your home. Kids need to learn to DISCERN.... their friends too and their lives. In relation to how they themselves are raised.

My kids, know the difference.

My daughter has a friend, that on play-dates at their house, they eat a TON of sweets. I don't do that at my home. But so what. It is a play-date. My daughter knows that. She KNOWS that it is special and a play-date... and BEFORE she even goes on the Play-date, I tell her she can have treats. Its a special time. But she knows at HOME, we don't do that. No biggie.
I ALSO tell the Host/Mom... of my daughter's allergy to Kiwi and I ask WHAT the kids will be doing... just so I have information, for myself.

You initiate, questions and provide information as well, to the Host.

If all my daughter did on a play-date was watch TV at the other kid's house... then so be it.
If she had fun, that's fine.
But is she was bored, my daughter WOULD tell me that... AND she would tell me IF she would want to go back to that child's home or not, for a play-date.
My daughter, even at 6 years old, would say so.

all the best,

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

My son is 7. When he has a friend over to play I say no TV or video games. They jump on the trampoline, run around shooting the nerf guns, and play pretend games the whole time. He has a best buddy though whose house is different. At this friend's house he gets fed candy and sugary snacks. And they are allowed to watch TV or play Wii the whole time if they want. I figure it's just every now and then and I totally don't worry about it. If it were every day I would be concerned...instead he goes over there about 1ce a month. We really get along with these parents and we sometimes all get together for dinner. I would never tell them no TV during the playdate though. I figure it's their house and their rules. It's not going to harm my son to do this every now and then.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Reno on

Hi. There is nothing wrong, in my opinion, to let other parents know what you allow and not allow for your child. However, I would do it in a non-controversial manner. Perhaps your nanny can send your daughter with healthy snacks and some of her favorite puzzles, coloring books, tea sets, etc... to "share since they are so nice to invite your daughter.." that sort of thing. You can also have your daughter take some children's music. My girls always love to have the music on and dance! Also playing dress-up is a great thing! Maybe the girl doesn't have much to do without involving the t.v. Just a thought.

As for the messy house.. Well, I am a private person and I hate being judged by others. I will often have the door open just a bit. It's not that my house is _dirty_... I just have a very active house with LOTS of toys and LOTS of kids running around daily! :) Maybe it's her situation as well?

Sorry for the long response. Best of luck.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

At my house, sometimes the kids want to watch tv, sometimes they don't. Sometimes they eat candy, sometimes they don't...depends on what they feel like doing, etc.
Ask your daughter if the house was clean. At 6, she can tell you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

I don't allow my kids (ages 6 and 9) to have the tv on during a playdate. My kids PLAY - y'know, tea parties, barbies, dress-up and make up a show, if outside, ride bikes, play with the hose ("wash my car"), sidewalk chalk, etc. I would just keep inviting the kid over to my house to play. That way, you have more control.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I am not in control over what my daughter does when she's on a playdate. I rarely hear that they've watched TV, because my daughter would rather play than watch TV when she has a friend to play with. I have allowed kids kids at my house to take a TV break if they've been doing something really active and need a cool down time. Otherwise, they are expected to entertain themselves.

I don't care what my daughter eats when she's at someone else's house. Her overall diet is fine and a treat won't hurt.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My son is 7, and TV is not the norm on playdates, here or at friends' homes. Occassionally if they have been playing outside for awhile and need to rest and cool off, then they may come in and watch a 15 minute episode of something, but that's it. Why waste time watching TV when they have the opportunity to play with a friend? We don't keep candy in the house - it would be too tempting to me! ;) I don't mind if he has a piece or two at a friend's house, and I know the parents' well enough to know he wouldn't be offerred more than that. As for what they do on a playdate, they are outside much of the time (we live on a small farm, so there is tons to do outside). Inside, they play legos, army guys, or all kinds of pretend games. They do play some video games too, usually Kinect, which is very interactive and I play too. :)

As others have mentioned, the other moms or dads are always invited in, and they usually stay for a few minutes to chat, and I always stay at their homes for a few minutes, too. It's nice to get to know each other. You can try to have more of the playdates at your home if it makes you more comfortable. In the situation you describe, that's what I would do.



answers from Oklahoma City on

No, you may not tell her what to do in her own home. However you may tell her no that you are not interested in letting your child go to her home.

If you want to control TV and other things like that they have the play-date at your home after you get home from work.



answers from Los Angeles on

wow, I would be clear on what I allow my kid to do (watch tv or no) what snacks he can eat, etc...



answers from Chicago on

When I host, there is no tv. To me, it completely defeats the purpose of a play date. My daughter is 6 so play dates involve Barbies, Playmobil, dress up, dolls, grocery shopping, games, and music. They are never bored and always want more time together. Host at your house - you'll have more control over what they do.



answers from Milwaukee on

Sketchy. I'd say only play dates with this child at your house. Invite mom in to look around, have some coffee, etc... My daughter wouldn't be going to that home again.


answers from Jacksonville on

Sounds like you disagree with the way the other mom runs her household, so I would try to host the playdates with this girl, rather than send your daughter over there.
You can ask if it is okay/let her know that you prefer that your daughter didn't watch TV, but you can't insist. It's her house. If she allows the TV after you've let her know your feelings, then you have to choose if it is something you want to allow to continue. Because it will, if your daughter goes there.

As for us, no, we don't have the TV on. If it is a sleepover, at some point they watch a movie or two... usually just one. They play Wii for an hour probably, tops, most of the time it doesnt come on either. They play in their rooms with toys (not usually games, but more action figures or legos, or whatever) or go outside. They ride bikes/scooters and wander around the yard doing what kids do.... picking up sticks, making imaginary "forts" and doing imaginary "detective work", or whatever. And this is both my son and my daughter. I also don't provide junky snacks. About the most "junky" thing they will be served here is pizza for dinner and popcorn during a movie. The rest is usually fruit or nuts or cheese/crackers. I serve a lot of sliced apples and peanut butter, seedless grapes, black olives and grape tomatoes. Usually I'll throw in some pretzels somewhere. Never cookies or ice cream or random chips or whatnot. I never get complaints from the kids. Either they eat it or they don't. But they don't complain.
I guess my kids are mostly friends with parents that have relatively similar ideas about that stuff as we do, and their kids eat "good" stuff and enjoy it.



answers from Cleveland on

If/when I hear there was TV watched during a playdate for my 5 or 6 year olds, I am not happy. Why in the world do they need to watch TV? They can do that at home alone... I also don't allow TV during the day. No one ever watches TV at our house on a playdate unless it's after dinner for a bit. That's our schedule so if someone wants their kid at our house that late, we don't change our schedule. My kids have a very easy time finding stuff to do. That's why I find playdates pretty easy to supervise! I'd offer for the girl to come to your house. You can say you have a nanny so why doesn't the mom take the time off? (I am in the same situation). If she insists on their house, just be honest. What I say is I like to limit the amount of TV per day and also keep the TV time for when I need to do dishes etc. I kind of roll my eyes and say "I need that time!" You can blame your husband. Say he's too tired so if your daughter watches TV during the day, that's all she'll do all day.

oh - it hasn't been an issue often but with one mom, I said if the girls are getting bored or you need a break etc, why don't you send them over here rather than turning on the TV. Then I explained how I like to limit TV, need that time myself etc.

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