Playdates can be incredible ways to bond with other parents while kids also make precious new friendships. Without those precious moments where the kids run riot and we can exchange parenthood stories to keep us sane, this whole child-raising thing would be a lonely place.
However, every now and then someone extends an invitation and for whatever reason, we simply don't feel like accepting. You might not feel a connection with the person in question, or have your own reasons for wanting to decline, but also worry about upsetting the person in question. We've all the got the right to say no, but actually doing it can be difficult. Here are a few handy tips on how to politely decline that invitation without causing further problems.
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Offer a nice excuse. Letting someone down easy is the best option here, so don't be vague about why you can't make it. Explain that you're busy that evening, but look forward to seeing them next week in the schoolyard. Most importantly, thank them for the invitation to let them know you appreciate the sentiment.
Consider hosting. If you're worried about the location of the playdate rather than the actual person, then offer to host. Even if you have misgivings about the company initially, you might find you feel more comfortable on your own turf. You never know, it could be surprising.
Let your child make the decision. It might sound like a scary concept, but kids grow up and soon enough, it won't be up to us who they choose to spend time with anymore. Even if you have reservations about it, ask your child if they would like to spend time with the playmate in question. If they say yes, try and give it a whirl. If they say no, there's absolutely nothing wrong with telling the other parent that you're letting your child decide who they want to play with. They may not totally understand, but they should appreciate that kids can't be BFF's just because they're in the same class.
Be as honest as possible. It's tricky to tell another parent that your child doesn't want to spend time with theirs because they don't get on, but sometimes it's a necessary evil. If you decline constantly and they don't appear to realize there is an issue, they might not be able to address the situation.