Playdates, Playdates, Playdates…

I have a love/hate relationship with playdates.

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I love that they give my kids the chance to socialise in a safe environment. I love that I get the chance to be social myself. I love that they give me the opportunity to really be with my kids, without the distractions of home.

But.

I hate that we seem to have to pack so many in each school holidays. I hate that I sometimes feel obliged to arrange them when sometimes I’d rather just ‘be’. I hate the fact that I can never space them out nicely and end up with multiple ones on a single day.

But most of all I think I hate how structured our holidays have come to be.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I enjoy playdates and I’m so happy for my kids when they go well, which they usually do. I just wish I didn’t have to organise our time so much in order for them to have the chance to play with others.

I look back to my own childhood where we just played every holidays. My grandmother would come up to look after us and we would ride around our neighbourhood all day, visiting our friends, only returning home to grab something to eat. I never even knew the word ‘playdate’ existed as, in my world, there was no need for them.

I wish that my kids’ interactions could be as free and unfettered as mine once were. But we live in a different world now and my kids do not make friends easily. So playdates have become a practical way for them to have social interactions in a way that suits them (structured) and me (safe).

On balance, the benefits of the playdate far outweigh any inconvenience. But a part of me yearns for a simpler time when we knew our neighbours, looked out for each others’ kids and gave them the freedom to explore the world around them as they wished.

Linking up with Kate Says Stuff for Thankful Thursday as I am actually very thankful for playdates and the benefits they bring to my kids, even though I do wish they weren’t quite so necessary!

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8 Responses

  1. One of the upsides of where we live now is that people just pop in. That’s how things happen out here.

    Well in truth it’s an upside and a downside, as our neighbours who caught me in my polarfleece onesie pyjamas with the drop flap bum will attest 😉

    But the kids love that other kids randomly turn up with their parents, and cheduled playdates aren’t such a ‘thing’ 🙂
    katesaysstuff recently posted..Thankful Thursday: Soundtrack

    • Kirsty says:

      I love it Kate – can only imagine your neighbour’s surprise when they caught you in your onesie pjs!

      I’m glad your move has turned out so well – hoping it is just the thing for you and your family.

  2. I’m hearing you Kirsty!
    That was my childhood too, just roaming around with my best friend and going home to eat. We spent so much time out in the fresh air, and our parents hardly ever knew where we were.
    I can’t imagine ever letting my boys do that, as things are so different now.
    Playdates are required here too, but I also wish that they didn’t have to be, at times. With school, and therapy appointments, fitting playdates in as well is a real struggle.
    Tracey @ Bliss Amongst Chaos recently posted..Photo A Day July ~ Day 11

    • Kirsty says:

      Tracey, I completely agree. I think I’m over all the scheduling of our life, to be honest. My kids will go back to regular speech appointments soon plus we want to get them into after school activities again – scheduling playdates on top of all that takes all the fun our for me. There is no spontaneity in our lives, which is a necessity for my kids who need preparation when routine changes, but a drag on me. I’m sure my childhood had it’s issues but it looks so rosy when I look back on it now!

  3. Lyndal says:

    I am a bit sad that our kids won’t have those same freedoms, and that making friends with your neighbours can seem slightly ‘weird’ these days…. !
    Lyndal recently posted..Life’s full of mistakes, destinies and fate

    • Kirsty says:

      It is a sad reflection of how society has changed, isn’t it? I would love to give my kids the same freedom that I had but it’s not safe to do so anymore. I just need to work on a way to encourage their independence while keeping them safe so they do get an opportunity to have some unstructured experiences…

  4. kelli says:

    ahhh playdates, I wonder sometimes if they are for the kids or for the sake of parents sanity. Bit like playgroup which I believe is for parents! Joining you in being thankful.
    kelli recently posted..Thankful Thursday

    • Kirsty says:

      Kelli, I do believe playdates are as much for the parents as they are for the kids! I’m sure there have been times that I’ve looked forward to a playdate with far more excitement than my kids…they are certainly sanity savers!

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