Play date?

This is something parents have their kids do? My kids are grown, and my grandkids are in their teens, and I never heard of them having play dates with their (many) friends.
So please explain and opinionate to me about what a play date entails.
Not a serious question, I’m just curious. And maybe a little amused.

Yeah, they call them play dates. It’s just going over to someone’s house for the afternoon or whatever, but these days it usually involves more coordinating of schedules, rather than just wandering over to your friend’s house after school like we used to do.

It’s bizarre, isn’t it? When I was a kid, I just hung out with the neighborhood kids. These days, you have to set a date to socialize with other kids under carefully parent-approved conditions.

I don’t know if the world has really gotten more dangerous or parents have just gotten more controlling and neurotic.

The main problem I have with play dates is that once some kid has a play date, other kids can’t really come along. My son has called up friends who say that can’t play because they have a play date. Even if they plan to go to a park and play, their schedule is full and that’s that.

I suspect it has to do with parents wanting to supervise their children’s play and they can only supervise so many children. I don’t see why a bunch of kids can’t just get together and, well, you know… play.

When I was a kid, 20 years ago, I went to school with a lot of people who lived outside of bike-riding range. I don’t know if we called them “play dates” (I think it was just “play”), but there definitely was a little parental coordination before I’d be dropped off at some other kid’s house.

In-neighborhood, however, it was pretty much up to the kids, as long as I was back for dinner.

I used to laugh at the idea of “Play dates” until I realized that I had many as a child. I moved away from an area that my mom still works in when I was in elementary school but I kept the same friends. The fact that any interaction between myself and these friends involved cars and parents meant that these were technically “play dates”. Anyone in my own area (how far I was allowed to ride my bike) was fair game though.

That bugs me, too. I was found myself in the ridiculous situation of scheduling something with a family who live right around the corner from me 4 weeks in advance. At that point, I decided that it wasn’t really worth it to play “Pick me! Pick me!” with my kids’ friends.

On the other hand, my kids are too young to get to a friend’s house by themselves, and mostly it does involve my bringing them somewhere in the car.

Apparently there are kids who only have these dates, even with neighbors and kids in the same building.
I’ve driven my kids to their friend’s homes, and vice-versa, but that usually entailed my kid talking on the phone to that friend, then asking could one go play with the other. Then us parents would get involved and usually set things up.
Kids and their friends usually eventually drift apart, which can be a good thing.
I think overly formalized play might alter this aspect of childhood and inhibit the kid’s normal socialization.

My daughter’s play dates are always with a child from school that doesn’t live close by. It involves dropping the child off and picking them up at the agreed upon time. It is more of a commitment to the hosting parent than just sending the kids out to play.

When she goes out on the weekend to call for kids in the neighborhood, pretty much everyone is in charge of their own children so no need to organize the “date”.

No, this IS normal socialization now. I think there are benefits the old way, but the old way is no longer normal socialization. In some parts of the world (mine, for example) not knowing where your kid is or who he’s with for hours on end can get you arrested, and raising a kid who doesn’t know how to schedule and keep meetings is not socializing them properly.



I had playdates, too, but mainly because my parents really wanted me to hang out with Indian kids and there just weren’t that many who lived that close.

Only a little bit.

The only “play date” I got when I was a kid - and it wasn’t called that - was when my mom wanted a coffee clutch with her woman friend across town so I got stuck hanging out with her kid while they chatted. I didn’t even like the kid, but I suppose it contributed to my socialization skills or something. It wasn’t about us kids though; we just got pawned off on each other.

I went on play dates as a kid, but we never called them that, and I don’t think we planned them more than a few days in advance. It was more like “Mom, can me and Dave hang out and play on Thursday?” With neighborhood kids it was more like

“Bye mom!”

“Hold on, mister, where do you think you’re going?”

“Me and Gordy and Doug are going to play rocket ships at Gordy’s house. Bye!”

“You have to ask my permis… tdn? tdn, you get back here right this instant!”

As a kid in the 80s and early 90s, my experience was that you just played with neighborhood kids, but you made play dates if mom had to run you someplace and pick you up later.

I used to just run around the neighborhood when we lived in town (well, village). When we moved up on the hill, I still was allowed to ride my bike a half-mile into town to play as long as I checked in at my parent’s general store every time I changed location significantly. When I got to middle school and had friends who lived out further in the sticks, we’d have play dates–except we didn’t call them that, we called them “Hey, mom, can I go over to Brian’s from one to maybe-four-or-I-can-call-when-I-need-a-ride?” These were always negotiated on the day of–around lunchtime I’d start pestering mom if I could have someone come over or go play with $FRIEND. The only time we scheduled in advance was when someone was going to an amusement park or something and taking friends along.

Once one of the kids in your peer group that your mom trusts gets a driver’s license, this fades away in favor of “hanging out”. In my group of friends, that was me because my mom was convinced other kids were death on wheels.

It’s generally just a matter of coordination. Like others said, it’s usually someone from school who’s not a neighbor, and the arrangement is usually reciprocal, since it frees up one of the parents up for a couple of hours to do their thing, and it comes in handy. It doesn’t arise from micromanagement/overscheduling in my experience. (3 kids 10 and under). And my kids still just go out and play with the neighborhood kids, as well.

Ditto for me. I grew up in a much smaller town, with more similarly-aged kids within walking distance, than where I now live with my wife and three boys (ages 11, 8 and 5). Play dates here are more a matter of parents arranging transportation and assuring availability of kids rather than micromanaging their kids’ schedules or being overprotective, IMHO.

Spankings and oral sex mainly.

It’s a dumb name. When I first heard it I thought people were getting their boy and girls together and having them pretend like they were on a date. Why not just call it hanging out? Or playing. Or any term that can’t be confused for the sum of its parts.