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Q. My three-year-old has a best friend at daycare and wants him to come over and play, but I’ve only said hi to this boy’s mom once or twice. It feels weird to ask her over on a “date.” How to I make it less awkward?
One of the most fun parts of being a toddler parent is watching them move out of the “everything is mine” stage to sharing and playing real games with other kids. Wouldn’t it be so wonderful if you also had a friend whose child was the same age, and you could have double playdates?
But kids have a way of not always picking the friends their parents would choose for them, and grownup friends can’t always be trusted to produce playmates on the right timetable. At some point you very well may find yourself having to make a playdate with a parent you barely know. Here’s the basic rules of protocol:
- Call, introduce yourself, and set a definite start and end times. “Hi, this is Doug’s mom, from Cuddles Daycare? I was wondering if Eric would be free to come over tomorrow between noon and 2.”
- Plan to serve a snack, and ask if your little guest has any food allergies.
- Don’t assume that the other mom will stay, or go—it’s nice to invite her to do either. Get her cell phone number, but only call if junior suffers a major injury.
- If you’re the guest’s mom and you do leave, come back by the time you agreed on, no matter how convincingly the host mom urges you to take your time! And unless your child was somehow traumatized by the playdate, try to return the invitation.
First playdates can be awkward, but awkward playdates can lead to life-long friendships, too. You never know!