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Old 09-17-2012, 05:15 PM   #1
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How do you do playdates?

We have a ton of friends that I love to get together with, but I avoid it like the plague! Every time someone comes over, even just to "stop by" for a quick visit, it turns into a 3-hour play date. I love chatting, and the company, and the kids playing but I need to do things - like my regular day-to-day rhythm, getting meals together, etc. I feel like it is rude to cook a full meal in front of someone without offering to feed them (and their 3 kids) which I simply cannot afford to do. I also like quiet time in the evening with my kids, and once my husband comes home I want (and the kids need) time with him. I have tried to do morning play dates, but then that screws up our morning rhythm and I feel pressured into feeding everyone lunch. I like visitors, but I also like quiet, and time with my kids, and routine. I tried today to plan for a friend to stop by for a quick visit early afternoon, after lunch, and we had to leave for soccer at 5. I was literally following them out the door, trying to get my kids ready to go (and my oldest to cooperate and get his soccer stuff on) while saying good-bye.

How do I politely kick people out of my house? I think our friends are starting to think I don't like them, because I keep declining get-togethers! I just can't take it! I don't want to say, "Yes come on over at x time but you have to leave at y time" because I think that sounds rude. But seriously, I need some advice!
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Old 09-17-2012, 05:34 PM   #2
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Re: How do you do playdates?

I would schedule a day and time a week (or however often) for the playdate. That way you can incorporate that into your schedule. If you don't want to make lunch I would do it after lunch or ask for everyone to bring something.

My play group is every Friday in the afternoon. We do have lunch but everyone chips in. In the summers we just do it at the park so no one has to clean up.
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Old 09-17-2012, 05:46 PM   #3
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Re: How do you do playdates?

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I would schedule a day and time a week (or however often) for the playdate. That way you can incorporate that into your schedule. If you don't want to make lunch I would do it after lunch or ask for everyone to bring something.

My play group is every Friday in the afternoon. We do have lunch but everyone chips in. In the summers we just do it at the park so no one has to clean up.
I tried that, but afternoon play dates turn in to "I have to make dinner but these people won't leave" and then my husband walks through the door to a trashed house full of kids, our own tired and cranky (and starving) kids, and a super stressed (but trying to hide it) wife, and he has to play nice until the company finally gets the clue and leaves. By that time, we're all in meltdown mode!
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Old 09-17-2012, 10:34 PM   #4
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Re: How do you do playdates?

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I tried that, but afternoon play dates turn in to "I have to make dinner but these people won't leave" and then my husband walks through the door to a trashed house full of kids, our own tired and cranky (and starving) kids, and a super stressed (but trying to hide it) wife, and he has to play nice until the company finally gets the clue and leaves. By that time, we're all in meltdown mode!
Ah! I can totally relate! I love meeting out at places because then the ball's in your court and you can leave anytime. I will usually prep them when we make the plans (ie DS has to go down for a nap by 1 so we'll need to leave by 12). Plus, I don't really see this as turning them away or being negative, its just giving them an idea of your day and setting expectations. If people come over to our house it's usually in the morning, and when I need them to go, I usually say the kids need to go down for a nap now (which is true!...after lunch). If I can forsee the visit lasting through lunch, sometimes I'll ask if they mind picking up bagels or something easy on the way over for the moms, then I'll make PBJ or pasta or something easy and fast for the kiddos. I'll offer the same when I'm going to their house.
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Old 09-17-2012, 05:52 PM   #5
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Re: How do you do playdates?

Politely ask them to leave? Say something along the lines of "I had such a great visit but I need to get the house in order and dinner started so we can have some family time together tonight when DH gets home. When would you like to get together next time?"
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Old 09-17-2012, 06:02 PM   #6
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Re: How do you do playdates?

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Politely ask them to leave? Say something along the lines of "I had such a great visit but I need to get the house in order and dinner started so we can have some family time together tonight when DH gets home. When would you like to get together next time?"
How can I set that up ahead of time, so I don't feel like I am springing it on them? The only thing I can think of is excuses of where we need to be when, so they know that they have to leave at a certain time, but getting the kids in the car and driving around the block doesn't seem super honest. I love your line, and will use it at the pre-determined departure time, but I need a a polite way to say, in arranging the play date, "you can come over from 3-5 but I need you to leave at 5 or I am going to rip my hair out and never want to get together again". ;-)

I do this when I go to other people's houses, too - I have a set time of when I have to leave... I can't tell you how many times I have set an alarm on my cell phone so that I can "get home for dinner - I have a roast in the oven!" just because I need MY time. Funny thing is, I am a super social person, but maybe that is what has caused this issue? My friends and I REALLY like to visit, maybe a little too much?
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Old 09-17-2012, 05:57 PM   #7
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Re: How do you do playdates?

I would just not invite them over then, or if they come over unannounced to say that you're actually on your way out. I would instead go to a park or their house for now on and set a time limit, saying you'd like to chat and hang out but only for an hour or so because you have other errands to do.
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Old 09-17-2012, 06:07 PM   #8
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Re: How do you do playdates?

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I would just not invite them over then, or if they come over unannounced to say that you're actually on your way out. I would instead go to a park or their house for now on and set a time limit, saying you'd like to chat and hang out but only for an hour or so because you have other errands to do.
That is exactly what we have been doing! I feel like we are constantly pushing people away. Today was literally our first play date in 2 months, the last one was at a park (I tried to make today's at a park too but my youngest fell asleep right before we were supposed to leave, so it turned into a "oh then I'll just stop by and drop it off really quickly then"). With cold weather coming and a new baby on the way, the park thing is limited.

I want to get together with friends, I just don't want to be so stressed about it!
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Old 09-17-2012, 06:16 PM   #9
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Re: How do you do playdates?

Mine are in the morning and I always put an ending time on the invite. 15-30 minutes before I want everyone to leave I start the kids cleaning the playroom. Normally the adults are playing a game and I will say ok last game before clean up or something like that. I have everyone bring lunch and we do potluck style or picnics in the yard.
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Old 09-17-2012, 06:35 PM   #10
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Re: How do you do playdates?

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Originally Posted by Kason's mommy View Post
Mine are in the morning and I always put an ending time on the invite. 15-30 minutes before I want everyone to leave I start the kids cleaning the playroom. Normally the adults are playing a game and I will say ok last game before clean up or something like that. I have everyone bring lunch and we do potluck style or picnics in the yard.
Tis about what I do. I usually make playdates 9-11 but tell people that it's ok if they run late, but everyone is usually out by 12. When I invite people, I let them know that we'll be playing for the first hour, then we'll do a craft, and when we clean up the craft it will be snack time. If the kids are playing well, sometimes we'll play for a little longer. Sometimes crafst take a little longer. But as crafts are finishing up I pull out the goldfish crackers and some apple slices for the kids, start putting away the crafts stuff, and tell the other moms 'Thanks for stopping by! We'll have to do this again in a week or two!' and usually most people leave right after snacks.
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