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The Truth About Playdates – A Toddler Tells All!


April 18, 2018 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Diary of a Baby


The Truth About Playdates - A Toddler Tells All!

This post is part of a series of posts I am writing titled Diary of a Baby chronicling the candid confessions of a baby from 0 to 2 years old.

You can read the previous post in the series here: Oh What Fun to be One! – Every parent of a one year old will relate

You can find the entire series here: Diary of a Baby


Age: 14 months old

 

Diary,

 

Have I ever told you about playdates? They are these appointments scheduled by moms for their for kids to get together and have fun. As though fun can be scheduled! But that is only the start of the madness. Let me tell you the truth about playdates.

 

Forget about kids, we are just the excuse. Playdates are really engineered for moms to get together and hang out. Except they’re never going to end up having any adult conversation in between all the screaming, crying, “can we please share this toy now”, “don’t touch that vase”, “be careful, you’re going to spill that on the sofa” and “no you can’t eat all the cupcakes”.

And any conversation that does take place ends up revolving around whose kid is sleeping through the night (not me!), whose kid is a picky eater and which schools are being considered.

 

The Truth About Playdates - A Toddler Tells All! | Baby & Beyond

 

And honestly, as much as Mamma says she loves taking me to playdates, I know she’s always nervous and jittery before and during the whole event, hoping I will be on my best behaviour. Or at least reasonably-acceptable-in-public behaviour.

 

The playdates usually begin with the moms setting us all down on the play mat with a bunch of toys, while they proceed to settle themselves on the couch, camera phones ready and anxiously waiting for us to start interacting with each other. Umm…hello, you’ve just placed your baby in completely new surroundings in the middle of all these unknown faces and now you’re expecting us to become playmates. Awkward!

 

There’s the host kid who’s usually grumpy and throwing a tantrum (been there done that) because he’s suddenly expected to share all his toys with perfect strangers. I mean I get it, how would Mamma like it if I brought along a bunch of my friends home with their parents and sat about chit chatting while expecting Mamma to share all her stuff with their parents? So weird right!

 

The Truth About Playdates - A Toddler Tells All! | Baby & Beyond

The Truth About Playdates – A Toddler Tells All! | Baby & Beyond

 

But the thing is…everyone always wants to play with just one toy – and it’s usually the one toy that the host kid absolutely does not want to share. This inevitably leads to some squabbling and some crying. The Sharing Police then step in trying to diffuse the situation with peace negotiating tactics that would put even a Foreign Affairs Minister to shame.

 

There’s usually a whole lot of healthy snacks on offer, but there is always some bribe-food (cupcakes, chips, popcorn, fries) kept handy to ensure that the kids are well-behaved. And there’s that one kid who takes it upon himself to polish it all off (Ok I admit I am usually that kid).

The Truth About Playdates - A Toddler Tells All! | Baby & Beyond

 

At the end of it there is a lot of “Oh this was fun, we should do this again sometime” But in all honesty, we have never gone back to the same playdate group twice!

 

Ok I admit I’m being a little too harsh. All in all, it is quite fun. It’s great to get out of the house and meet new toys…err…people. And the last time around there was this cute girl I spotted. We kinda had a moment in the ball pool. It was just a little eye-to-eye action, but I know it meant something. I hope to see her again on some future playdate. I’ll keep you posted!

 

– Baby N

The Truth About Playdates - A Toddler Tells All! | Baby & Beyond


Ok no offence to anyone and don’t get me wrong. I actually do love playdates (please don’t stop inviting me!) I have myself attended and hosted many and I am grateful for the break plus the chance to interact with some adults. But I think that in today’s overhyped playdate culture, we tend to put too much pressure on parents and kids to pull off the “perfect” playdate. I’m talking structured activities, gourmet catering, goodie bags…the works.

In all of it we somewhere tend to forget the essence of the playdate…play. Remember the days of our childhood when we just went to each other’s houses to play. It wasn’t by appointment, it was usually when we were free and called in at the neighbour’s house to play with their kids. We played with whatever toys we had and ate whatever the family was eating. It was the most fun wasn’t it?

If I’ve learnt anything from the playdates I have attended or hosted, I would say this:

  • Give the kids some space for unstructured play – It’s great to have some activities planned, but let kids be kids
  • Have realistic expectations – Kids below 2 years don’t socialize easily. Separation anxiety is a big factor at that age. Even for older kids, they may not always get along just because their moms get along well. So don’t expect the kids to get together and start playing immediately
  • Also be realistic about sharing. It’s still a difficult concept for toddlers to grasp and in all probability they may not share and its not fair to expect them to
  • I love having friends over for a small intimate playdate, but I’ve noticed that some moms are more comfortable in neutral locations like a play area or a park. This may also work well if you don’t really know the other moms well enough  
  • As always while stepping out with toddlers, especially to such unfamiliar surroundings, make sure they are well rested and fed

You can catch up on the next post in this series here: Quick as a Flash – Baby on the Run!

 

I am participating in the April A to Z blogging challenge

I am participating in the April A to Z blogging challenge

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Comments
  1. Anshu Bhojnagarwala said on April 19, 2018 6:26 pm:

    Ha ha, how aptly you have described the whole playdate scene. Been there, done that! Sometimes I wonder if it’s actually fun for a toddler to have so many kids in his house all at once making a beeline for his toys. Who knows! I guess for older kids it still makes sense.

  2. Nayantara said on May 5, 2018 3:40 pm:

    I shudder at the thought of playdates and do anything to avoid them. I so agree with you there is way too much pressure to be the perfect host and have the perfect child who will cooperate. We have done 0 playdates till now.. not something to be proud of eh.

    1. Baby & Beyond said on May 7, 2018 10:57 am:

      I’ve hosted exactly one and attended a few. I feel like I should be hosting more but they should just be more casual. No pressure to be as elaborate as a birthday party