What Is Normal for Playdates with Young Toddlers?

Updated on August 16, 2010
A.A. asks from Elgin, IL
8 answers

Hi, I'm a first-time mom and am unsure about playdate etiquette. My daughter is 19 months old.

How long do playdates with young toddlers usually last?
Does the host provide food for the parent and/or child guest?
At what age does the other parent stop staying with her child?
Etc., etc.


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answers from New York on

First, I would always ask if there are any allergies and then ask what the child's favorite foods are. The only time a parent stayed at my house for a "playdate" was when swimming was involved, other than that parents "dropped off" in 1st grade. Early "playdates" were meet&plays at a park, Chuck E Cheese, party places that had "open play" days. I never had "playdates" with kids as young as 19m unless it was my close friends or relatives and their kids.

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answers from Tampa on

When I was in Mom's Club we went to playdates all the time. Sometimes they'd last an hour or two. Somedays parents would stop by for an hour then go to another one for another child. Or you'd stay talk to other moms and let the kids play.

Some hosts provide snacks, goldfish, gummy snacks and juice boxes. Other mom's didn't want snack time. Or you would bring your own and still share.
The mom's always stay with the toddlers. It's wasn't a drop and go playdate. It was a great way to meet moms and talk about the daily grind. It also helped to make future job connections.



answers from Cincinnati on

My DD is 20 months. Our playdates are either before or after the noon nap and the dates are about 2 hours long. the host offers me something to drink but usually I bring my own cooler with bottled water, milk for the baby and I have a snack for me and my kid. However being there only 2 hours, its usually not a big deal.
Also we have been doing our play dates about 2 times per month and the mom and I have just started talking about playdates without the parents so daddy and I can have some alone time. As long as the kids are cool, and you trust the people who are watching your kid, 19 months is ok.



answers from New York on

I don't think there are any hard and fast rules honestly. If you are hosting, offer juice and snacks. If you are the guest, bring some along and enough for the other child. You can ask about allergies. They usually last a few hours, depending on how its going. You definetly stay unless you have a babysitting arrangement. You would stay until the kids start planning playdates on their own, in my opinion.



answers from Boston on

I have been doing playdates weekly with my son since he was about a year old. I met a wonderful group of moms at a Mothers' Group after our children were born and we remained friends. We would alternate the location and meet once or twice a week. We would meet for 2 hours or so. It was always acceptable to come late or to leave early. We always brought our own drinks and snacks, but of course had enough extra snack to share with the other kids. My son is now 4 and I have a 2 year old daughter. I totally trust the people who we are with and I would leave my child with them if I needed a sitter, but not for a playdate. The other moms have their own children to watch and I don't think a playdate is the time for them to have the added responsibility of keeping an eye on my kids.

Have fun! Playdates have been wonderful for my kids, but also for my well-being at a stay-at-home mom. The chance you get to connect with other moms who are sharing a similar experience forms a lifelong bond!


answers from Boca Raton on

My mommy friends and I started doing playdates since our kids were 3 months old (my son will be 4 in October)... At 19 months old (or really any age) I think who "throws" the party, provides "snacks"... I would put out: cut up fruit, animal crackers and raisins (something very easy like that) and juice packs for the kids (although most parents will already have there own childs sippy cups).. I would just offer coffee, juice or water to the moms...
The playdates were normally about 2 hours (depending on nap times for each child)
How we do it to make it fair is:
We did play dates every Thursday.. If there were 6 moms in the group we would rotate houses every week so the same mom wasn't having to host every week..For those moms who thought there houses weren't big enough they would just come to our houses. I basically hosted a mommy group once every 6 weeks... All the other weeks, we went to different moms houses.. Made it easy and fair that way...
As the kids have gotten older and busier, we now do mommy group "outings".. We will meet at an indoor place to let the kids run around and play.. That way us mom's dont have to clean our houses before and especially after the play groups.. as the kids get older, the toys get bigger and opinions and tempers get stronger.. Easier to just go out somewhere and let the kids play with "the places toys" so noone fights....
Hope that helps :0)



answers from Chicago on

My oldest was about 2 1/2 before we started playdates. We hadn't lived in our house for too long, had to get to know neighbors, etc. so that may be a late age. At that time I don't think they usually lasted more than an hour. They aren't real good at sharing yet, still need naps, etc. The Moms stayed while they were toddlers & preschoolers. I usually offered a drink (for both) & a snack (for kids, most Moms were watching their weight anyway), depending on the time of the playdate. Many times the other Mom would come with a sippy cup already filled with whatever her child liked to drink. Just to be safe I would ask the other Mom about the drink/snack situation before the playdate in case there are food allergies and also to find out that Moms view on snacks. We have some neighbors who are fine with their children having snacks and others who do not want any snacks late morning or late afternoon as it interferes with their child wanting to eat lunch or dinner. If you have the heads up prior to the playdate you won't end up offering the child something, having the Mom say no and then a potential meltdown by the child. Good Luck & have fun!!! This time will fly by & before you know it she'll be in school.


answers from Dover on

I think a lot depends on the the children and the parents as well as the time of day. I think at your daughter's age about an hour to no more than two would be sufficient. If you are hosting them right at or ending at mealtime then offering a simple meal would be great. Otherwise, offering a small snack and drink would be appropriate for the child and a drink for the parent. The age probably depends on how well you know the parent and how comfortable they are with leaving their child. I would guess at least 4.

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