Play Dates. Just the idea of them makes me queasy. Not necessarily because of the actual play date—although I’m sure at times they have the same effect—but because I am absolutely horrific at creating play date opportunities.
That’s right, I don’t know how to make play dates for my kids.
My first born son is almost five years old and has only had a handful of play dates that were not with family or the children of really close friends of mine.
Even those aren’t often enough.
Now, I know that there are parents in the Northwest Ohio area that have children around five years of age. And I’m sure that some of those people are probably quite lovely, they might even be the type of people I would enjoy spending a couple of hours with while our kids played together.
I just don’t know these people personally.
Well… that’s not entirely true. Our neighbor is one of those people. She and her husband are very nice and two of their four children are right around my oldest son’s age. Our kids do play together and when they do they always have fun. They are ideal play date companions. And yet, the boys have only played together a couple of times this winter.
I feel like that is primarily my fault. Calling to ask if my kid can play with her kids feels so awkward to me. I’m not comfortable just sending him over to her house alone to knock on the door and the “pop-in” visit is something that I have struggled with doing for years.
How ridiculous is that? When I was young that was exactly how things were done. If I wanted to play with one of the neighborhood kids I walked to their house and knocked on the door. The cul-de-sac I lived in was full of kids my age and there seemed to always be somebody with which I could play. I don’t remember my mom having to set up play dates for me.
These days, I feel like I’m letting my son down by not having many friends with kids his age that he can play with. I feel that my asinine fear of the phone and making small talk is keeping him from days spent playing with other children.
So, how do I go about changing this?
Are there support groups out there for making play dates? Are these women at the park with their lattes and jogging strollers meeting life long friends who all happened to give birth around the same time? Will this get easier once my son starts kindergarten?
Holly teaches design at a small NW Ohio college. She spends her days off hanging out with her foxy musician husband and their gorgeous new baby and ridiculously smart pre-school aged son. Holly has a passion for food, photography, beautiful letter forms, and the possibilities that can be found in a single sheet of well made paper. You can read more from Holly on her blog, Artist Mother Teacher.