Playdates, Playdates, Playdates…
I have a love/hate relationship with playdates.
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.
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!