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Play Date Protocol?

Submitted by PAUL C on June 22 2012 09:06 AM

“Can one of my school friends come over for a play?” asked my five year old the other day. As if spending six hours a day, five days a week at school isn’t enough.  Friendship is so important, so of course I agreed.

I suggested he ask his friend first, and then I would check if it was ok with his Mum. That afternoon, he jumped into the car and proudly advised that Ben would love to come, and so would Tom, Jack, Sam and Henry.  “One at a time, thanks,” I told him firmly.

Gone are the days of kids walking next door to play with their neighbourhood friends and returning home at dinner- time.  Now we have to phone, text or email parents and schedule a play around swimming lessons, gymnastics, martial arts and soccer matches.

We’ve even formalised play, giving it the Americanised name of “Play Date”.  What’s more, there is even protocol and etiquette for the perfect play date listed on the internet. Why do we adults have to complicate everything?

Not surprisingly kids aren’t that complicated. They simply love to go over to another kid’s house and just play.  Someone else’s toys, bedroom, backyard and pets are just heaven to a kid.

Depending on age, we parents need to decide whether to hang around or leave them in the care of the resident parent. Fortunately for me, I had met Ben’s Mum before. She was more than happy to go shopping for a few hours and come back for a cup of tea afterwards. Thank goodness for low maintenance mothers!

What’s your view on play dates?  Do you have a play date experience (good or bad) you would like to share? Remember you need to log in when you comment so I can give away our Wise Talk prize.

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