Thursday, June 12, 2008

Playdates

When I was a kid and I wanted a friend to come over, I asked my mom if so and so could come over. It was called having a friend come over.

We're living in the 21st century now. The modern name for 'having a friend come over' is play date.

"We should get the girls together for a play date."

"Can Eilidh come over for a play date?"

I have no idea when or where this name started, but I'm betting some Early Childhood Educator coined the phrase. (I have my ECE, I'm allowed to gripe.) I decided to Google it (yes, 'to Google'...it's a verb I'm sure). And now I'm just a tad sad. Do you know that there are websites with play date rules?? That you can read up on play dates on Wikipedia?

When oh when did the Western World lose the skills needed to have a kid come over to play at one's house for 2 hours? Have we all lost our minds?? Our common sense?

Judging by the rules on the web, I suck at play dates. As the 'host parent', I'm supposed to be serving the 'guest parent' some light refreshments for the first 30 minutes while their child 'gets comfortable' with their new surroundings. I'm supposed to be planning crafts and activities and nutritious snacks. I should to be modeling 'give and take' conversations yet not be too accommodating to the guest child so as not to cause my own child to become jealous. And I'm supposed to be sending a thank you note after my child's been on a play date. Who frickin' knew?

I've had parents raise their eyebrows at me when I tell them I don't prepare for play dates....I don't 'run' play dates, and I certainly don't 'plan' what's going to happen during them. I have also had parents give a huge sigh of relief when I admit this to them out loud. They get this relieved look on their face and tell me that they don't know what to do to 'entertain' another child for an hour at their house, and they feel guilty asking a child over without an activity planned. So they don't 'do' play dates.

Well I'm hear to tell you that I don't do play dates, either. I let my kids have a friend over when they ask, and they play. They plan, they argue, they sort things out, they tell me if they're hungry or thirsty, they giggle and yell, run and goof around and enjoy the spontaneity of each moment. And I supervise. I step in when needed, bite my tongue when I want to solve their problems but I know they can if I give them the time to do so, and yes, I serve them nutritious snacks. And quite possibly, I may slip them a cookie to dip in their milk.

I'm a rebel with a cause.

1 comment:

tentativeequinox said...

I totally agree with you. Hate the term Playdate. It puts way too much pressure on the whole interaction. I liked it even better when it was "go and knock on so-and-so's door and see if they want to play."

Also hate the term "Act Out." Back in my day it was "Act Up." I fail to see how the changing the preposition makes the behaviour more acceptable.