Play Date? or Date...

AhnyaMay 31, 2011

Just curious to get some input. If your child is 6, and you schedule a "play date" with a 3yo child who happens to have a divorced dad coming along.. is that a play date for the kids?... or is that really just a date. :P

My thoughts are, since the 6yo has lots of other 5-7yo friends, and they didn't know this 3yo, that it's pretty much a divorced parents who have kids kind of a first date.

Isn't that a bad thing though to introduce your kids, and each other so soon? Before you even have an official regular date? (assuming it wasn't just a play date..) Everyone goes on and on about how you shouldn't introduce until 6m or so for the children's sake.

What does everyone else think?

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I think it's a good idea to get to know the person first before setting up a "play date" with the kids.

But if the parents are telling the kids it's a play date, and they meet at the park, and they have a Play Date, how would the kids know anything is going on that is different from any other play date?

Maybe they can't get a babysitter? And maybe not having an official regular date is better. Most people are on their best behavior on "regular" dates, so this might be a better way to get to know each other and see how they interact with their kids. So long as they're not telling the kids "this is mommy's date" and no personal displays of affection, I don't see any harm being done.

And not being a smart aleck here, but why do you care? Are you concerned because it's your ex who has scheduled the playdate for your child?

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 3:25PM
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Long story as to why it would be relevant (which i can share if necessary). But i was trying to ask the question in a somewhat neutral standpoint. I guess curious as to how that situation would come across. Would that sound like a normal play date situation? Or does it sound more like a really casual date type situation.

I don't like to just assume things, so i figured it would be better to get a few other perspectives. It isn't something i'm concerned about really, and i'm not making any statements about it being wrong or bad or anything like that.

Amber, from your response it sounds like you were leaning more towards the "date" side?

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 4:21PM
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"if the parents are telling the kids it's a play date, and they meet at the park, and they have a Play Date, how would the kids know anything is going on that is different from any other play date?"

How can you interpret that as "leaning toward the 'date' side"?

& you didn't answer Amber's question:
Why *do* you care?

Are you the parent of one of the children?

If so, don't go on this play date if you feel uncomfortable about it.

If not, you might just want to think about something else.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 4:46PM
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It depends what relationship you have with the other divorced parent.

If there is mutual romantic interest then it could be a date with children (why wouldn't they just a have a date with no kids first?)but if you just happened to know each other casually, are friends or neighbors etc then why would it be a date? Just because you are both divorced?

I guess adults have to be able to define themselves if they are planning a date, friendly get together, or truly a play date. If adults themselves do not exactly know what they are planning: a date/not a date then they have a bigger issue at hand. They need to decide themselves what is that exactly they want first.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 4:49PM
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"Amber, from your response it sounds like you were leaning more towards the "date" side?"

No, it seemed from the way you worded it, you thought it was a date disguised as a play date.

If the parents are calling it a play date, then that's what it is. I know you are trying to be objective here, but it's hard to understand why you would ask this unless we understand your motivation. Like Parent of one says why would it be a date just because both parents happen to be divorced?

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 5:18PM
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Hmm.. the main point of this post was just to get feedback on what could be a hypothetical situation. Almost more of a poll type response.

which is why i didn't thinking giving a background situation was relevant.

I interpreted it as leaning towards the date side because ambers response talked about why i cared and what was wrong with that kind of a date and so forth. Instead of something along the lines of, "sounds like a regular play date to me!"

but, it's beginning to feel way to involved and complicated to ask what i thought was a pretty simple question.

Since I don't go on play dates, or schedule them i really don't know how all that works and what is a big deal or not a big deal and so forth. Mostly i was just curious because of the age of the children, since there is a lot of development between 3 and 6, and they are not siblings or cousins and weren't friends previously. I asked on a forum because that is less invasive than asking the parent and making a big fuss about them possibly starting to date again.(especially if they aren't) It was unusual also because previous play dates were arranged around the 6yo and their school friends only.

Thanks PO1 for the "setting it up with a just friend" perspective. It's easy to assume if it's a guy and girl being friends and both are divorced that they might be interested in each other. But you are right, it could totally be just as friends as well. They aren't neighbors, but it's possible they could be coworkers.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 5:43PM
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Thanks for the clarification Amber.

Yes, i guess it did seem like it could have been more of a date mostly because of the difference in behavior vs previous play dates. (children not knowing each other before hand, age difference)

Just made me wonder if it was more for the benefit of the parents to hang out. I see that i didn't help create a clear image of previous sitatuations though. (when i mentioned that they 6yo had lots of other friends who were the same age and went to school with so they knew them already and this is usually who play dates are set up with) I guess i was trying not to give too much background because sometimes that clouds the situation instead of seeing it from a non-bias perspective.

I guess also I was under the impression that unless parents were friends already they don't generally try to get kids who are very different ages and don't know each other already to hang out together. I was definately somewhat assuming, which is why i posted.

I should have been more careful though with calling it a date also. I guess i meant more, whether it seemed to be more for the kids benefit, or more for the parents benefit.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 6:01PM
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I don't think you are going to get any clear answer on this because your question is just way to vague to comment on anything. We do not know how well these people know each other and if they are interested in each other in any shape or form. Nobody here would have any clue if it benefits these people or the kids since no one knows the situation.

It's like if i ask here "I am going to meet with this man...Is it going to be a date or not?" Who the heck knows since you have no clue what I am talking about.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 6:24PM
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fair enough. Thanks for trying to comment anyways.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 7:59PM
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I can say I have arranged a play date with a male co-worker of mine. My girls were 11 and 4 at the time, and his boys were 10, 6 and 3. Our kids had never met before that day and despite being different genders and different ages, the kids all hit it off.

It was not a date. It was merely a chance for all of us to have fun at the beach.

I also have arranged play dates with another co-worker, this one happened to be female. I think my daughters were 10 and 3 at the time, and her daughters were 8 and 4. Again, they had never met before but hit it off right away and had a great time.

A six year old and a three year old can get along quite well, and I think it is good to expose a child to children of different ages so they can learn how to get along with different levels of maturity.

Another friend of mine had a son who was 8 years old but he was developmentally delayed and got along quite well with another boy who was 5 years old.

Here's another situation, my eldest became great friends with a girl from her school. I didn't know the mother too well, but after a few play dates we wound up becoming good friends. It's kinda funny, because now we're good friends and our daughters have sort of drifted apart.

Anyway, I guess the point I'm trying to make is there are no rules for play dates. The kids don't have to be the same age, the parents don't have to be good friends, or the kids don't even have to know each other first for it to be a play date. Play dates are just a way to help your kids learn social skills and have fun.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 9:28PM
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I would consider a "date" when two adults have an interest or an intention to get to know the other person to see if it could lead somewhere. I don't think it's a good idea to do that involving the kids. And it would not be a "date" if only one of the adults is interested in it being a date but the other one just wants to hang out with the kids, then it could be awkward.

If adults are looking for or contemplating any kind of relationship, it's probably best to at least get to know each other before involving the kids. Seeing someone on a play date as friends would be a good opportunity to see how they interact with their kids, etc. and would probably give me a good idea if I wanted to have a real date with the other person, but I would never consider a play date with my kids nearby as a real date.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 2:49AM
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A "play date" might also be set up to benefit the children in ways other than strictly playing as peers. Perhaps 3 yo is clingy and immature, and that parent would like it if 3 yo got some exposure to older kids, and parent of 6 yo is willing and feels that practicing being "older responsible child" would be of benefit to their child? Perhaps one of the parents is new to the area and doesn't know many other kids' parents with whom to arrange play dates? Perhaps kids have some activity or interest in common that most other kids in their area do not (they're both adopted from Kenya, for example?)

Or perhaps parents simply think their kids would get along, and don't want them to grow up thinking that it's only acceptable for them to play and be friendly with other children their own age, unless they're relatives? I saw the consequences of this one place I worked; they'd had a hiring freeze for years and most of the employees were middle-aged, then they started to hire recent college grads. When it came time for more "social" events (lunch, after-work parties, coffee break) some of the new hires would congregate almost exclusively with the others their own age, where some would be more sociable with everyone, regardless of whether they were thirty years older or not. Then came time for first rounds of promotions. When managers were faced with a choice between two people, one of whom they'd never spoken to at all because the candidate only talked to others "their own age", or one of whom they knew slightly from having coffee or lunch together a few times, which ones do you think were chosen?

"...that is less invasive than asking the parent and making a big fuss about them possibly starting to date again.(especially if they aren't)" So, don't make a big fuss. If parent had said they set up a play date with a 3 yo and divorced mom was coming along, would your first reaction be "Oh my god, maybe it's a date and s/he's turned gay/straight?" One would hope not.

If parent starts dating and wants you to know they will tell you.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 8:53AM
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No idea what to think here as to play date vs date. I guess that unless it were actually me arranging this 'day' for myself and my child or without knowing at least one of the persons involved in the planned 'day'...we're pretty much just tossing out thoughts on something 'we' know nothing about.

Are the adults co-workers? Live in same apartment complex/condo? Meet at daycare? I think how the two adults even know each other might add weight in thinking what to term the event.

If I were to turn to a co-worker I know well but never thought of 'dating' and said 'hey kid and I are going to the beach/zoo/whatever, if you think your kid would enjoy it, come and tag along'...I'd say day out being co-workers giving kids a chance to have fun and give me someone to visit with and enjoy the day.

If I were to ask a male who I see everyday picking his kid up from daycare and had no knowledge/relationship with other than struck up meaningless 'great weather we're having' convo to suddenly say 'hey why don't our kids go to beach/zoo/whatever this Saturday together and we can all have lunch'...I'd think I were date hunting and looking for more than a playdate for my child.

This statement has me curious --" I asked on a forum because that is less invasive than asking the parent and making a big fuss about them possibly starting to date again.(especially if they aren't) It was unusual also because previous play dates were arranged around the 6yo and their school friends only".--

It seems the people being asked about in this make believe 'what do you think' thread may not so quite so 'made-up'. If that is the case, does it matter if this adult is thinking of dating again? What has the timeline been between this person's divorce and this possible date/playdate? Has the person been dating minus the kids tagging along with anyone of late? Is this a trial run to see how the other person even relates to children before thinking of a possible real date? Is there a chance the person arranging the event is plain 'man hunting' and using her child to do so?

No, I don't expect answers to any of those questions, but the idea was to ask yourself these questions and see how you may now view your original 'what do you think'. If you (not me) had answers to all these questions and knowledge of the people asking and being asked about the play date/date would you still be asking 'what do you all on this forum think'?

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 9:14AM
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Maybe it's a way for the parent setting up the play date to manipulate the other parent into spending time with them?

When I was first getting to know DH (before actual dating), we wanted to spend time together, but he had his daughter every weekend and I had DS during the week. We would talk about getting the kids together, but they were 4 years apart and wouldn't have much fun. So I would have to wrangle up a babysitter if I wanted to hang out with him during the week. It was much easier after we started officially dating and introduced the kids. Of course, at that point, there was no excuse to have grown-up dates so those went away for a few years.

I could totally see someone using a play date for kids as a way to spend time with the other parent.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 1:00PM
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Thanks for all the comments everyone. I didn't say the situation wasn't real, only that i wasn't looking for information that was specific to these particular people. (so more of a hypothetical instead of specific)

I just don't know much about play dates in general. Thanks for all of the information.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 1:29PM
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