Play Dates – The Unwritten Rules

Are there any rules when it comes to playdates? I hate to say it but I have a sneaky sodding suspicion that there are indeed a fair few unwritten rules which unless we respect and abide by it is highly unlikely said playdates may continue.

Play Dates - The Unwritten Rules
No Shows Are A No Go

For instance, upon arranging a playdate I will then ensure my house is both presentable and clean for said visitors. Should said visitors fail to show for whatever reason I feel that my energy and time spent cleaning and prepping for the meet up was entirely wasted which is mildy irritating to say the least. That and having to explain to my child that said visitors are no longer popping by and then consoling my little one as they too express their disappointment isn’t exactly enjoyable.

Play Dates - The Unwritten Rules

If you are planning to attend a playdate then be sure to turn up ideally on time, if you suspect you may fail to attend an arranged playdate then at least have the decency to warn your host prior to the playdate that there is a chance you may be late or may not make it. If you do need to cancel a playdate then be sure to give at least a few hours notice and be ready to have a half decent excuse at the ready even if the truth of the matter may simply be that you cannot find the energy to get dressed or leave the house that day.


Set Times

Be sure to set time limits when attending or arranging a play date as there comes a time whether it be nap time, dinner time, the school pickup time or simply just time to leave.

Play Dates - The Unwritten RulesTheres nothing worse than feeling as if you’ve outstayed your welcome, likewise it can become frustrating when visitors seem to make themselves comfortable for a little too long.


Respect The Rules

Upon arriving at a playdate be sure to respect the rules of the hosts house, the simple stuff which takes little thought or effort can often make a massive difference. Whether its removing your shoes whilst walking upon their newly laid carpets or placing hot or cold drinks on a high surface on a coaster of course. It’s the little things that us humans cant help but to notice, it’s the little things that can irk us to a point of distraction and the little things which usually require little to no effort to carry out.


Manners Cost Nothing

Whilst we may find ourselves dropping the odd curse word whilst in the full flow of conversation it is always worth considering that little ones are present therefore our manners should reflect that. I am a well-known potty mouth and often find myself desperately trying to retract the profanities which have accidentally slipped from my lips. However, whilst out and about I try to keep my language at bay especially so during playdates.

Play Dates - The Unwritten Rules

Also try to encourage your little one to make use of good manners especially around other children, after all manners cost nothing!


Keeping Conversation Flowing

There has been the odd one or two playdates that I have either hosted or attended which I must admit I found awkward at times purely because I realised that whilst the children may be happily playing us parents found ourselves with very little to discuss other than sharing stories based upon labour, birth, babies or the perils of parenting.

Whilst parents will often find themselves chatting about their children there comes a time when the conversation should naturally flow to a range of alternative topics whether that be interests, news or even gossip. It’s always worth having a few ice breakers or discussion topics up your sleeve prior to attending or hosting a playdate should the conversation run dry.

Play Dates - The Unwritten Rules

Theres nothing worse than realising that other than having children you have very little in common, that being said it does happen from time to time and if so don’t fret just seek further friendships and try playdates with a range of parents until you find those you feel comfortable around and able to connect with.


Ditch The Diet

Whilst your child may have a love for farleys rusk, fresh strawberries or freddos it may be worth considering that other children present at said playdate may not be encouraged nor allowed to eat such things whether that be due to diet, allergies or simply their parents food preferences.

Play Dates - The Unwritten Rules

It may not be wise to take food along to the playdate unless previously discussed with the host, likewise if you are planning to stay for a snack, lunch or dinner then it may be worth discussing any dietary requirements beforehand to avoid any conflict.

Keeping The Kids Entertained

Whilst you may be desperate to sit and chat with other adults remember that your child is your child and therefore your responsibility. Stay alert and keep a close eye on your child and others where possible, be sure to keep the children happily entertained and if the kids are happy it’s more than likely the adults will follow suit.

Play Dates - The Unwritten Rules


Age Suitability

If you are planning on hosting a playdate try to consider the ages of the other children attending. Try not to leave anything dangerous or hazardous lying around and be sure to consider which toys may be most suitable for the age groups attending. For example. your ten-year old’s marble set may need temporarily putting away if babies or toddlers may be crawling about.

Play Dates - The Unwritten Rules

Likewise if you are taking your child/ children to a playdate be sure to consider what you take with them, my daughter has a fluffy bunny which travels with us wherever we may go, this isn’t an issue but I have known some parents to turn up with bags full of toys for their little ones to play with which have either been too small for my daughter to share at the time thus causing issues or have become lost resulting in hours of searching to avoid heartache.


Down With The Sickness

If your child is or has recently been ill then have the decency to share this information with the host or those attending a playdate.

Play Dates - The Unwritten Rules

Whilst children cannot help but to catch random bugs and ailments parents can do their bit by reducing the spread of germs by keeping their little ones at home until they are no longer contagious.

Keep It Tidy

As you become aware that the playdate is coming to an end be sure to offer to help tidy up. Theres nothing worse than having just cleaned your house top to bottom then finding yourself on full repeat only hours later.

Play Dates - The Unwritten Rules

If possible try to limit your children’s play to one or two rooms to reduce the amount of mess made during said playdate, either way show a little respect and lend a hand prior to leaving.


Stock Up The Pantry

If you are hosting a playdate be sure to have plenty of milk in the fridge, sugar in the bowl and a range of drinks from which parents and children alike can choose from. It’s also worth buying a few snacks to pop onto plates and offer guests during their stay.

Play Dates - The Unwritten Rules


Keep It Simple

A playdate should never be a stressful engagement, ideally further playdates may be arranged at one or the other parents houses so be sure to note down any numbers or addresses required for future arrangements and be sure to keep in touch even if it’s only to thank those that attended or hosted said party for the initial date.

Play Dates - The Unwritten Rules

Whilst playdates can be a wonderful thing, they can also be a thing of nightmares should the host or attendees over think the arrangements. It’s not a party, it’s just a meeting between parents, children and friends enabling adults to engage within adult conversation whilst the kids have fun. Keep it simple, keep it relaxed and keep your cool!

I’d love to hear your suggestions for any tips towards playdates or things that I may have missed from this post. Be sure to either comment below, get in touch via social media or drop me an email should you want to put your two pennies worth!




  1. June 12, 2017 / 6:19 pm

    I think every parent should be made to read this, I struggled a few times when I was a child minder, not with the children but some of the parents!

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