When a woman becomes a mom, there are a lot of things that she has to get used to: sleeping a little (or a lot) less, relying on coffee, and figuring out how this whole parenting thing works. One staple of parenting a little one is definitely figuring out playdates. When one mom befriends other moms, it makes sense to get their adorable kids together; whether they're babies, toddlers, or in elementary school. Moms should try and teach their kids how to play well with others and want them to have a healthy social life. Playdates do way more for a child than just playing "pretend," after all.
There are rules about having playdates that some moms might not know at first. And while this might take a little bit of time to figure out, it'll get easier the more often they play. But once they have it down, they'll never forget the things that make a playdate successful and run smoothly. There are certain things that many moms feel passionately about, and luckily, many moms can agree upon.
The following 20 rules are ones that no mom should break when they host a playdate or bring their little one over someone else's house.
20 If Your Kid Is Over Four, You Can Leave
If a playdate is going on at a friend's home, it's safe for one parent to leave while the other one holds down the fort. It's nice for the two parents to catch up and say hi for a little, and then head off and do their own thing.
That's what this mom thinks on Reddit: "I'm so confused. You are talking about 6-year- olds, right? Why on earth are parents staying for playdates? My kids have playdates all the time and I would be thrown off it the parent of a child 4 or older tried to stay."
The general consensus is that if your kid is over the age of four, you don't need to stay.
19 Don't Be Late
This Reddit thread is all about how being late for playdates is a really frustrating thing to do.
No one likes a late person. Likewise, no one likes being late either. It causes a lot of stress for everyone involved and can turn a pleasant day into something full of chaos and negative thoughts and emotions.
When you set up a playdate, you need to bring your kid to that person's house when you say you will. And when you're hosting, you would expect the same from the other parent. It's just common courtesy.
18 You Have To Play Fair And Invite The Kid Over As Well
You expect your friends to have you and your partner over for dinner when you just hosted a dinner party yourselves, and the same thing is true when it comes to playdates. Playing fair, being polite, and inviting someone over when they just hosted you is a rule for playdates.
This mom wrote on Reddit, "Call me a fool, I was under the impression that playdate hosting was supposed to be a reciprocated activity. I thought that when you hosted a playdate or sleepover, the other parent was supposed to have your kid over for roughly the same number of times."
17 Talk To The Other Parent When Their Kid Is Having Behavior Problems
An awkward part about parenting is definitely talking to other parents about their own kids. Everyone wants their kids to be well-behaved and no one wants to hear that the opposite is true. This is particularly the case with playdates. Since your kids are playing with other children, all of the moms involved want things to go well.
As Pop Sugar says, when you're hosting a playdate and realize that the other child isn't behaving very nicely, or there's something that seems like it's worth talking about, you have to talk to their mom about it. No, you're not going to want to, but it's part of the whole playdate thing.
16 Don't Take It Seriously
Yes, it's a good idea to be organized, show up on time, and make the playdate run smoothly. That being said, you don't have to write a million things about the playdate down in your agenda and constantly contact the other moms about things, or worry about what happened at last week's playdate.
As the Huffington Post suggests, when a playdate doesn't go that well or something occurs, you have to "let it go" because that was one playdate. It's all going to be okay. It's not worth worrying about for much longer and you're only going to get upset. Things do happen and playdates aren't going to be perfect.
15 You Shouldn't Really ASK Someone To Host A Playdate
It only seems logical that when you host a kid for a playdate at your house, the other mom knows that it's her turn next. Within a reasonable time period, she should then ask your children to come over for a playdate.
Unfortunately, you can't force someone to invite your kid over... And moms agree that you really shouldn't. As this mom shared on Reddit, "You shouldn't expect, you shouldn't demand, and you should learn to say no." Yes, you want people to be as polite as you are, but as you know, not everyone is. It's just something that you have to accept.
14 Be Polite And Thankful
Being polite counts in every situation and playdates are no different.
This is one thing that moms follow when it comes to playdate rules: thanking the other mom for hosting and having their kid thank them, too. It's never a bad idea to be polite, and this is especially a crucial time to say "please" and "thank you." You want the other mom to think that your kid is really well-behaved and, of course, keep inviting them over — especially if your kids love playing together and get along really well. That's what this is all about, after all, and it's good to remember that.
13 You Should Make It Simple To Schedule Playdates
Don't you dislike when that one friend never answers text messages or emails when you're just trying to schedule a dinner date? You wonder how people can make it so hard to make plans, vowing to never be like that. That's exactly the case with playdates, too. You should definitely make it easy to schedule playdates and try responding to the moms who want to have your kid over.
This frustration was brought up on Reddit: "It is so important to me that my kids have great social lives. Our family is fairly spread out, so I do all I can to schedule lots of play dates with friends and neighbors. We have two families we see regularly, but outside of that, I find that other moms are really bad at setting up playdates."
12 If Your Kid Is Allergic To Certain Foods, Pack Food For Them
If your child has food allergies, like gluten, dairy, or maybe nuts, you're already used to bringing food with you wherever you go. You know that in certain situations, there won't be anything for your child to eat unless you're prepared and plan ahead. You're okay with this because, of course, you want them to be well-fed and to have something to munch on.
This applies to playdates, too. According to Pop Sugar, if your kid has food allergies, then it's definitely a good idea to bring some snacks when you're dropping them off at a playdate. That way, they have something they can eat and the host doesn't feel tons of pressure if they didn't know about the allergies.
11 It's Good To Have A Healthy Mix Of Good Foods And Junk Food
Moms agree that making elaborate meals when hosting a playdate isn't something that should be done, but giving kids snacks is pretty common.
Thanks to Parenting.com, we know about this really smart rule for playdates: have both healthy food and junk food available. That way, the kids are getting something that is both good for them but also something fun.
The idea is that children might love different snacks and if one loves apples and the other likes a saltier snack, then everyone is happy with a mix of different foods. (Plus, you can enjoy the snacks, too! No one said that moms couldn't partake in them, right?)
10 Playdates Should Be Two Hours
A mom on Momtastic says that "kids seem to magically fall apart" beyond the timeframe of two hours. Everyone has had that experience: hosting a playdate and seeing another child start crying or behaving differently than they did earlier.
It seems like moms know that two hours is the perfect timeframe for a playdate. You can totally relate to that as an adult since there are certain situations where you would love to leave after an hour or two (like maybe a certain holiday with some family members). When you start sticking to this rule, you can see that it's a great idea and should always be followed.
9 It's Okay To Have A One Hour Playdate For Younger Kids
On the other hand, when you have a baby or a toddler, it's totally okay for playdates to be an hour or shorter. This is advice from Pop Sugar and it definitely makes sense to me.
More than an hour could be a lot for your young child and they could start crying. And let's be honest, no parent wants to deal with someone else's screaming child. So while moms agree that older kids can have a two-hour playdate, younger kids can keep their playtime at an hour before heading home.
8 Don't Compete Your Kid Against Their Friends
You're proud of your children and think that they're the best, smartest, most wonderful kids ever. You would be happy to talk about them to basically anyone who will listen (and sometimes you do. Hey, you can't help it, you love being a mom).
When it comes to playdates, though, it's not the best idea to pit your children against other kids and act like your kids are more intelligent. You definitely know this, of course, and it's also a playdate rule that moms know to follow as Sittercity.com puts it.
7 You Should Teach Your Kids To Clean Up After Themselves
Before you had kids, you might have once thought that it was easy to keep your house clean. You would put things away as soon as you were done using them, get rid of clutter, and even have time to do a deep clean in your bathroom and kitchen. Think Swiffers, vacuum cleaners, and cleaning products galore.
Nowadays... well, now you're a mom, and things are a little bit different. You care about cleanliness but kids make messes and that's just normal. Moms agree that teaching your kid to clean up after themselves when they are playing at another kid's house is part of a successful playdate.
6 Pick Your Kid Up When You Say You Will
Most people don't like when friends or partners are late for a plan or date night. It's common sense to say that being late is frustrating, right?
Being late to pick up your kid from a playdate? Well, that's even more annoying, and the other mother is definitely not going to be pleased. This is part of "playdate etiquette" that Mommyish is talking about. It's something that all moms know is important.
If you say that you'll be back at 4 pm to bring your kid home — then be there at 4 pm. It's not fair to the other mom and would also worry everyone if you were late and hadn't been in contact, either.
5 It's Polite To Talk To The Parent Before
When you host a playdate and you don't know the child who is coming over very well, it's good to talk to the parent beforehand. You can find out what the kid likes, what game they want to play, or what toys they love. You can still do this even if your kids are good friends! Kids do change their minds quite frequently, after all.
According to The Huffington Post, this will help the playdate go well, and it's definitely a great idea. You'll be confident that the child will have fun and that you did everything you could to make the playdate awesome.
4 You Should Make Sure Your Kids Know It's Not TV Time
We all love relaxing and watching a good television show. Kids definitely have their favorite shows and would enjoy watching them any time during the day, and they would love to watch TV during a playdate, too. But that's definitely not the point of a platedate and as moms, we want to make sure that our children are actually playing with each other and having fun.
Scary Mommy suggests telling your kid that during this playdate, they're going to have a good time with their new friend and it's not the time to watch TV. Once everyone is on the same page, it'll be a lot easier.
3 Kids Should Follow The 'House Rules'
According to Momtastic, every house has "house rules" and moms know about these in their own household, so they should make it known to those visiting as well.
When you host a playdate, kids that are playing with your own children will know that it's a good idea to be polite and and go along with what you suggest. When you say that you would rather that the children eat at the kitchen table instead of while watching a movie, the kids who are over at your house will agree that this is your rule. The playdate will definitely be successful if kids know this and don't say, "Well, that's not what we do at my house..." (Even if that's what they're thinking).
2 When Your Kid Plays With Someone New, It's Fine To Stay A Little To Chat
It can be a little nerve-racking to schedule a playdate with a mom that you don't know very well and when your kid isn't familiar with their child. You want to make sure that everyone gets along and that everyone is happy with the playdate.
Sittercity.com has great advice on this situation: it's okay to stay for a little while and make sure that things are going smoothly. You can talk to the mom and see that your kid is doing well, and once you're confident that it's time to leave, you can head home and come back a little while later. While moms agree that there's no reason to stay behind for the entire playdate, it's okay to check in like this when it's a new child.
1 Don't Constantly Phone The Parent (Unless An Emergency)
When you're a mom and your phone rings, you worry immediately. Is it your child's daycare center? School? Are they okay? When your kid is at someone's house for a playdate and the mom calls you, you worry it might be an emergency. That being said, if someone's mother keeps calling to check in — it can just be overwhelming.
Mommyish brings up this smart point: the mom hosting a playdate should never call the other mom unless it's definitely an emergency. This is one of those unspoken rules of playdates that moms know about, and it's one thing that will lead to a successful afternoon for both parents and children.
Sources: Reddit, Reddit, Reddit, Popsugar, Huffington Post, Momtastic, Reddit, Parenting.com, Sittercity.com, Mommyish.com, Scarymommy.com,