Playdate Etiquette – What You Should Know!

Last Updated on January 22, 2024 by Lori Pace

Playdates are a key part of parenting a baby. It makes sense for moms/dads to make friends with other moms/dads and get their children together, whether they are babies, toddlers, or elementary school age. Moms/dads need to teach their children how to be friends and have healthy social lives. Playdates are more than just pretending to be friends. There are “criterias” for what we call Playdate Etiquette!

Some moms/dads may not be aware of the rules surrounding playdates. This might take some time, but it will get easier as they play more. Once they get it down, they won’t forget what makes a playdate successful. Many moms/dads are passionate about certain things, and many moms/dads can agree on them.

Playdate Etiquette Guide for Hosts

Playdate Etiquette guide
  • If you don’t know the other kids well, keep the playdate to a maximum of 1-2 hours.
  • Also, keep the number of children at 2-4.
  • While you don’t need to be an expert host or craft guru, it is helpful to plan a simple activity ahead of time. Your child can come up with ideas.
  • Children will often ask for snacks. Ask parents if they don’t know anything about allergies or foods that their child should avoid. It will demonstrate that you are thoughtful and compassionate.
  • Invite the parent if it is the first time a child visits your home. Let him (or her) know that you are welcome to stay for a while until your child is at home.
  • Always share contact information with your parents.
  • Ask questions about safety and your parenting style. Some parents need more reassurance than others.
  • It’s best to not intervene in minor disagreements when children play together. Play dates are about teaching kids how to get along.
  • Let the other parent know about any issues and the steps you took to resolve them. This will keep communication open and allow you to both be aware of the relationship dynamics between your children.

What You Should Remember about Playdate Etiquette

Don’t Be Late

A late person is not something that anyone likes. The same goes for being late. It can cause a lot of stress for everyone and turn a pleasant day to one filled with chaos, negative thoughts, and emotions. You must bring your child to the playdate when you have set it up. You would expect the same behavior from the host parent if you are hosting. It’s common good manners.

You Have To Play Fair And Invite The Kid Over As Well

Playdate Etiquette be fair
Be fair, and polite!

Playdates are similar to the dinner parties you host. Your friends should invite you and your partner to dinner. Playdates should be fair and polite. Which means if you hosted a sleepover or playdate, the other parent would have your child over approximately the same amount of times.

Talk To The Other Parent When Their Kid Is Having Behavior Problems

Talking to other parents about your children is a difficult part of parenting. Everyone wants their children to behave well and nobody wants to hear the contrary. Playdates are a great example of this. All moms want everything to be a success because your children are playing with other kids.

If you host a playdate and notice that one of your children isn’t being very polite or if there’s an issue that you feel like it’s worth discussing, it’s best to speak to their parents. It’s not something you want to do, but it’s part and parcel of the playdate experience.

Don’t Take It Seriously | Playdate Etiquette

It’s important to show up on-time, be organized, and ensure that the playdate runs smoothly. You don’t need to list everything in your playdate agenda or contact other moms constantly about it.

If a playdate does not go as planned or an incident occurs, it is best to “let go” of that one playdate. It will all be fine. You won’t be able to worry about it for too long and will only get more upset. Playdates will not be perfect and things do happen.

It’s Not A Good Idea To Ask Someone To Host A Playdate.

It seems only natural that if you host a child for playdates at your home, the other mom will know that it is her turn. After a reasonable amount of time, she should invite your children over to play.

You can’t make someone invite your child over, unfortunately. And moms agree with that sentiment. You shouldn’t demand, and it is important to learn how to say no.” You want everyone to be polite, but not everyone will. 

Be Polite And Thankful

Playdates and any situation where politeness is important, it does not matter what. Moms should follow one rule when it comes to playdate rules: Thank the other mom for hosting, and have their child thank them as well. Being polite is a good idea. This is a great time to say “please” or “thank you.” If your children enjoy playing together and get along well, you want other moms to think your child is well-behaved. This is what the whole thing is about and it’s important to remember that.

You Should Make It Simple To Schedule Playdates | Playdate Etiquette

Is it not annoying that your one friend doesn’t respond to emails or text messages when you are trying to arrange a dinner date? It’s hard to plan, and you wonder why people make it so difficult. Playdates are no exception. It is important to make playdates easy and respond to moms who are interested in having your child over.

If Your Kid Is Allergic To Certain Foods, Pack Food For Them

Playdate Etiquette packed food
Pack food if your children are allergic!

You are already familiar with bringing food along with you if your child has food allergies. If you don’t plan ahead and are prepared, your child may not be able to eat certain foods. This is okay because you want your child to be healthy and have food to eat.

This is also true for playdates. If your child has food allergies, it’s a good idea for them to bring snacks to playdates. This way they will have something to eat, and the host won’t feel pressure if they don’t know.

It’s Good To Have A Healthy Mix Of Good Foods And Junk Food

While moms don’t recommend cooking elaborate meals for playdates, they do agree that giving snacks to children is a common practice. Have both healthy and junk food on hand. This ensures that the children get something healthy and fun.

Children might like different snacks, so if one child loves apples and the second prefers saltier snacks, everyone can enjoy a variety of foods. You can also enjoy snacks! They are not forbidden for moms to enjoy them.

Don’t Compete Your Kid Against Their Friends | Playdate Etiquette

You are proud of your children. They are something you would love to share with anyone who will listen. You love being a mother, it’s just a natural thing. But playdates are not the best way to compare your children to other children and pretend your kids are smarter.

You Should Teach Your Kids To Clean Up After Themselves

Playdate Etiquette clean up

You might have thought it was easy to maintain a clean home before you had children. It was easy to put away things as soon as they were finished, eliminate clutter, and have enough time to clean out your kitchen and bathroom. Think Swiffers and vacuum cleaners.

You’re a mom now, and things are different. While you care about cleanliness, kids are messy and that’s okay. Moms agree that it is important to teach your child how to clean up after others when they play at their house.

Pick Your Kid Up When You Say You Will

Late to pick your child up from a playdate is unacceptable. This is even more frustrating and will not be appreciated by the other mother. Mommyish refers to this as “playdate etiquette”. This is something all mothers know is important. You can say you will be returning at 4 p.m. to take your child home, but you should be there by 4 p.m. It is unfair to the other mom.

You Should Make Sure Your Kids Know It’s Not TV Time | Playdate Etiquette

Everyone enjoys relaxing and watching good TV. Children love watching their favorite shows, and would be happy to watch them during playdates. However, that’s not the point. Moms want to ensure that their children have fun and are playing together.

Telling your child that they will have fun with their new friend during the playdate and not watching TV. It will be much easier if everyone is on the same page.

Kids Should Follow The ‘House Rules’

Every house has “house rules”, and moms are familiar with these. They should also make sure they tell visitors. Children who are visiting your playdate will be able to tell their friends that you are polite and that they should follow your lead. 

If you tell your children that you prefer that they eat at the kitchen table rather than watching a movie, they will be able to agree with you. It will be a great play date if the kids are clear about this and won’t say “Well, that’s not how we do at our house”. (Even though that might be what they think).

When Your Kid Plays With Someone New, It’s Fine To Stay A Little To Chat

Scheduling a playdate for a mom you don’t know well or with a child you aren’t acquainted with can be nerve-racking. It is important that everyone enjoys the playdate and gets along with each other.

It’s OK to stay for a while to make sure things are running smoothly. Talk to their mom to make sure that your child is well taken care of. Once you feel confident that you are ready to go, you can return to the house and head home. Moms generally agree that it is not necessary to stay for the whole playdate. However, it is okay to check in with your child when you return.

Don’t Constantly Phone The Parent (Unless An Emergency) | Playdate Etiquette

If your phone rings and you are a mom, you immediately worry. Is it your child’s daycare? School? Is it okay? You worry that your child might have an emergency if she is visiting someone’s home for a playdate. It can be very overwhelming if someone’s mom keeps calling to check in.

The mom hosting a playdate shouldn’t call another mom unless there is an emergency. This is one of the unspoken rules that playdate moms are familiar with, and it will ensure a fun afternoon for everyone.

Lori Pace
Lori Pace

Lori Pace is a single mother of three daughters ages 7 and under. As a working mom from home, she balances kids, work and two crazy dogs with humor and love. Follow Lori as she honestly gives tips and advice based on her own experiences as a single mom!