When your child starts attending playdates at other children’s houses, spending time with other parents (who you may not know that well) can come as a shock. As adults, we like to be able to choose who we spend our time with, but if your child is still at an age where they need supervising at someone else’s home, you may find yourself chatting away to people you don’t know—or like—that much. If you’re struggling with knowing what to say or finding the parents of your kid’s friends really irritating, here are some ideas and tips that may help to make things easier.
Don’t Compromise (Too Much)
If you and your child are guests in someone else’s house, clearly you will need to make sure that you’re being polite and respectful of other people’s house rules and habits. However, this doesn’t mean you need to agree with everything your kid’s friend’s parents say, and if they have a parenting style that is at odds with yours, don’t feel like you need to adapt yours to fit in. Perhaps you have a “no sugar” rule at home, but these parents are trying to feed your child lemonade and candy. It’s OK to gently and politely point out that this isn’t how you do things. Hopefully, the parents will be able to accept this and won’t push it, but if they’re getting cross or aggressive, it may be time to rethink this friendship.
If you feel that these parents are a little stressed, why not offer to help out? This doesn’t have to mean taking charge of stacking the dishwasher and putting the laundry away—simple things, like bringing some food you know your kid will eat, and perhaps a few extras for everybody to enjoy, can help reduce any tension and make life easier for everyone.
If you have a partner, family member, or a close friend who’s available to lend a hand with childcare, ask them to do a few shifts at the other family’s house. It can get a bit much if it’s always you accompanying your child to a playdate, especially if you don’t feel one hundred percent comfortable in the home. Take some time out for yourself, or get on with some work, while your child is having fun with their friend.