play dates

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-03-2004
play dates
6
Mon, 05-22-2006 - 4:38pm

How do you politely decline a play date? My daughter often has her Kindergarten friend over after school. We enjoy having her. I have declined numerous times when my daughter has been asked over to her house. I only know the Mom from chatting at the school bus stop. She seems awfully nice, but I don't agree with a lot of her parenting skills. Mainly letting her 6 year old play outside by herself, an unsupervised trampoline, and a very odd unemployed father.

How do other Mother's respond when they just don't feel comfortable?

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-20-2000
In reply to: dannie_143
Tue, 05-23-2006 - 6:23am

Maybe you can say your dd feels more comfortable at home, or that you're helping her learn to be the "hostess"... or you could always offer to go along to "visit" and "get to know" the other mom & then YOU could supervise...

My dd is having a first playdate with a little girl tomorrow, and the mom's coming along. She didn't say that was why she was coming, but come on now, lol.
I think it's fabulous that she wants to "check us out" before entrusting us with her daughter. And hey, maybe I'll get a new friend out of the deal, too!

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-31-2004
In reply to: dannie_143
Tue, 05-23-2006 - 2:35pm

Do they have a cat? Can you lie and say your daughter has an allergy to cats? :)

Okay, I am just kidding! This is definitely a toughie. I have friend who fell into this problem with a mutual neighbor of ours. She just kept making excuses for why her daughter couldn't go visit and I think the message finally seeped through. Not sure that is the best way though.

I am finding playdates at this age to be getting so tricky in many ways. It seems like the moms all have different levels of independence they are granting to their kids right now. My son has friends for whom I know the level of supervision is not what I provide at home. Last year when he was in kindergarten, I remember some of the neighbor boys knocking on our door AFTER DARK ON A SCHOOL NIGHT wanting to know if my son could come outside and play. (That would be no!)

And I remember the summer before Kindergarten my son was always getting invited to the neighborhood pool with another mom who I have observed several times leaving her own five year old son alone at the pool. Boy, that was awkward, but there is no way I am leaving my child's around-the-pool supervision up to that mom!

I finally decided to just be honest with this woman. And the truth is I really really like her alot - that made it so much harder because I didn't want to be critical, but I was just not comfortable leaving my son with her in certain circumstances. So one day she invited my son over to play and I told her that was fine and thank you, but I didn't want to inconvenience her because my son was not yet allowed to play outdoors by himself and I knew that her son was. I told her that if my son came over they could play in the house or in the fenced backyard, but not by themselves in the neighborhood. I remember she just looked at me for a long time. Finally she said, "May I ask why?" And I said, "I'm sorry - I know we disagree on this. But I just don't think he is old enough yet. And I don't want you to have to do extra work, so maybe they should just play at my house." And she said, "No, no, that's fine. I want you to be comfortable. I won't let them play outside unless I am out there with them." Then it was like - a big sigh, a big grin and a big hug. But it was sooo hard for me to just be honest with her!

You know it occurs to me that if this girl and your daughter are becoming good friends and you see this situation continuing on and on and on, then maybe it would behoove you (can't believe I said "behoove") to just get to know the family a little better. Perhaps you could invite the whole family over for a casual dinner and strike up a little friendship with them. Maybe once you get to know the odd-ball dad, you will see that he is really alright. And if you know them a little better maybe the next time your daughter gets invited over to play you could say, "You know, I realize that I am pretty cautious with my daughter and I don't want you to think I am judging you. This is just my schtick. But she is not yet allowed to play outside unless an adult is out there with her. And since she doesn't really know about safety on the trampoline yet, I am going to tell her that she is not allowed to use it, so I would appreciate you enforcing that while she is there. And, seriously, I realize that I am on the cautious side of the spectrum in parenting, and I don't want to inconvenience you, so if you would rather just send your daughter over here, I would love to have her."

Anyhow just some ideas. I don't think anything will ever take the awkwardness away completely, though.

Take care,

Susan

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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-03-2004
In reply to: dannie_143
Tue, 05-23-2006 - 4:31pm

Thanks for the responses.

It's funny that you should mention allergies. My daughter does have food allergies. My excuse (and it's been an honest one) is my daughter carries an epi-pen. She needs to be with someone who can recognize a reaction and respond accordingly.
But this Mom is offering to work with us to learn about the above.
She seems like a really great woman, but my gut is telling me not to OK this.

I know I should be more honest with her. But I think I'm going to stick with the allergy safety excuse and besides she has a baby.
Wouldn't it make more sense for her daughter to come here so she can get things done when the baby is napping?
I think I'll be using that as an excuse until her baby is 10!

Thanks again for your responses.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-31-2004
In reply to: dannie_143
Tue, 05-23-2006 - 8:02pm

Alright, I am now in TOTAL sympathy with you! :)

My daughter also requires an epi-pen due to a peanut allergy and I am so terrified to let her go over to other people's houses. I have a few close friends that I trust to use the epi-pen and I know they also have good judgment. Right now, my daughter is only four and a half, so it is still pretty much normal for the mom to stay during a playdate at an acquaintence's house when you don't know them all that well. I am really dreading the Kindergarten, First Grade playdates, because now they go places where you don't REALLY know the parents. In fact, right this minute my son is at a friend's house. I have met the parents a couple of times, but I don't really know them all that well. I can't imagine trusting them to notice that my daughter needed her epi-injection.

I think I would just flat out tell this woman that you are sorry, but right now you are just not comfortable with other people handling the epi-pen (Tell her you have been thinking it over and talking to your husband and you guys just aren't comfortable with it yet.). Allergic reactions can be so varied in how they present. My own daughter had an anaphylactic reaction last year and it wasn't at ALL what I thought it would be. It was actually very subtle. My daughter told me that her throat hurt and she seemed uncomfortable and pale. But it wasn't the lips swelling, grabbing the throat, obvious ordeal that I had been imagining. I called the doctor and when they heard her symptoms, they told me to hang up and call 911! When the paramedics got here my daughter STILL wasn't obviously in total distress. But they transfered her to our pediatrician's office who said she was not moving nearly enough air. They gave her steroids and transferred her by ambulance to our closest Children's Hospital where she spent the rest of the day! That episode scared me not only because of the mere fact of the reaction, but also because of the subtlness of it. I had come THIS CLOSE to simply putting her down for a nap, thinking that her sore throat was the beginning of a cold! So, I would definitely not trust just anyone to learn to handle the epi-pen and recognize the symptoms.

I think that is all the excuse you need.

Susan

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
In reply to: dannie_143
Wed, 05-24-2006 - 2:04pm

You know, I talk A LOT about what I do with Tre and what I won't allow. Honestly, I am so verbal that the playdates we are invited to are usually moms who parent like "I" do, or know how I am and follow my wishes. Maybe you could talk to her and mention things: "I have a question that may sound

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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-03-2004
In reply to: dannie_143
Thu, 05-25-2006 - 11:03am

Thank you Susan for your response.
My daughter is also dealing with a peanut allergy. I thought about posting this question on the peanut allergy site I visit often, but instead chose to ask it here. I wanted to get responses other than always blaming her allergy.
My daughter has been asking a lot of questions about why her school has a "no food" policy for celebrations. She has been blaming herself. "If I didn't have an allergy, the kids could have cake at school for their birthdays." or "If I didn't have an allergy, they could bring in whatever they want for snack."
I wanted to give my daughter a reason for not being able to play over other kid's houses besides her allergy. (And without mentioning I don't agree with their parenting.)
I think you made me realize the allergy is the only excuse I need. It's more than just an excuse, it's valid and very honest.
I have never witnessed her go into anaphylactic shock. One of my biggest fears is not being able to recognize a reaction so I can't expect others to recognize one.

Thanks again for all the responses!