33 things that always happen on after-school playdates
Love them or loathe them, playdates are an inevitable part of being a primary school parent. And while they’re supposed to be fun for your child, they can drive you to the brink of insanity.
How many of these situations have you found yourself in after inviting someone else’s child over to play?
1. Just getting a date in the diary for your kids to hang out together is a logistical nightmare. When one has swimming lessons on one night, and the other has tennis the next, trying to find a mutually convenient time for your little socialites takes hours of planning and 20-odd texts.
2. A kid who you’ve never clapped eyes on before will come up to you in the playground and announce that your child has invited them to play. Er, have they? And who are you anyway?
3. The day before the playdate, your child will come home in floods of tears having fallen out with their friend. Argh!
4. No matter how hard you try to make sure that your playdate comes home from school with their bag/coat/PE kit/musical instrument, they ALWAYS leave something behind.
5. You spend precious early-morning minutes tidying the house, just in case the playdate’s mum has reason to come inside – and then your child and friend trample mud all over the floor within seconds of getting home.
6. Your child, desperately seeking the approval of their buddy, instantly becomes too big for their boots, showing off, misbehaving and generally letting you down. Do you give them a good telling-off in front of their friend or leave it till later?
7. Whether it’s jumping on the sofa, throwing toys at the TV or eating biscuits in your child’s bedroom, at least one of your house rules will be fundamentally broken.
8. You’ll spend the afternoon feeling slightly terrified about having someone else’s child in your house – and totally pathetic for being scared of a person who’s half your size.
9. They’ll completely ignore the educational activity you’ve set up for them in favour of emptying every toy box in the house all over the floor. And you were so sure they’d enjoy leaf-rubbing...
10. Half an hour into the playdate, you’ll forcibly eject both kids into the garden, no matter how wet and muddy it is. Frankly, your four walls can’t contain that much energy.
11. Something of yours will get broken and you’ll have to pretend it doesn’t matter.
12. Something of your child’s will get broken and they’ll end up in floods of tears.
13. You’ll promise to replace the broken item, knowing full well that it was discontinued three years ago and is now selling at four times retail value on eBay.
14. Despite having told your child that your bedroom is completely out of bounds, you’ll nip upstairs to find out what the giggling is all about and find your child and their friend playing Hide and Seek in your bed.
15. Someone will strip off.
16. Not knowing your playdate’s toilet habits puts you right on edge. You can trust your child to obey the call of nature – but what about their friend? You find yourself pointing out the location of the WC a few too many times...
17. You check your watch every three minutes. Time has never passed so slowly.
18. Your child and their friend will gang up on your other child.
19. Someone will get their fingers shut in a door.
20. Even though their nose is permanently running and they have a compulsive sniff, your playdate will insist that they do NOT need a tissue.
21. You’ll adopt a falsely calm and cheerful tone in all of your dealings with the children (‘Now, darling, you know we don’t write on books…’). Normally, you’d be screeching like a fishwife, but you don’t want your playdate to go home and tell their mum that you yelled at them…
22. Your child and their friend will come to blows over who gets to play with the Power Ranger and who gets the Barbie.
23. Despite your usual ‘No TV before dinner’ rule, you practically punch the air with delight when the kids ask if they can put a DVD on.
24. But they won’t watch the DVD: they’ll just leave it playing in the background while they pull all the cushions off the sofa to make an obstacle course.
25. Your child’s entire jigsaw collection will get emptied out and chucked around for good measure. It’s going to take WEEKS to get all the pieces back in the right boxes.
26. Despite the fact that you’ve checked your playdate’s dietary requirements with their mum and confirmed that spaghetti Bolognese is their absolute favourite meal, they’ll refuse to eat it because you’ve used the wrong sort of tomatoes.
27. At least one full cup of blackcurrant squash will be spilt all over the table...
28. ... and it just wouldn’t be a playdate without an after-dinner belching competition.
29. Even though the children have spent most of the afternoon whinging, bickering and fighting with each other, your playdate will still have a massive strop when their mum comes to pick them up.
30. Your child’s friend will go home with a badge or hairband belonging to your child. They swear your child said it was okay, but you’re not so sure…
31. You’ll go upstairs post-playdate and almost pass out at the state of your child’s bedroom.
32. Three days later, your whole family will come down with a cold. You just *knew* that kid was infectious!
33. You’ll swear that you’re never going to host another playdate… Until your child comes home literally begging for Sam to come and play. Here we go again…