Anxiety of The After-School Playdate


Wanna Play?

I went to my first official school meeting this month in preparation for sending our soon-to-be 5-year-old off to Kindergarten in August. The introductory information meeting was for parents to start getting used to the basic surroundings, meet the principal, and get a feel for the process of sending their child off into the world.

I was excited for the night and already thinking about the fun times we’ll have together: Room Mom – I got this! Club sponsor or charity auction planner – I’m your girl! As I looked around the completely filled cafeteria of anticipating parents, my daydreams started to fade and anxiety kicked-in. How will my daughter like it here? Will she keep up? Will she make friends? What kinds of friends will she make?

I’m not worried for my daughter in the aspect of actual learning; she is smart – at four she knows her letters, can write her full name, can count in English and in Spanish, and is overall a good listener. What I worry about is influence and what happens when my little tattle-tale, rule-follower, suddenly stops listening to that inner voice of reason and starts following the pack.

Drifting back to the the parents asking questions about permission slips and pick-up and drop-off times, I kept wondering who these people really are. They all seem nice enough, but what kind of personalities do they have? Are they strict? Will my child get along with theirs? Will I get along with them? What happens when she makes friends with these new kids and they want to have her over? What is the protocol for playdates with families for which you don’t know?

I’ll admit, I’m a bit of a helicopter mom, and I already wrestle with letting my girls get much out of my sight. Sure they play with friends we do know or neighbors we trust, but how am I going to deal with handing over the reigns to another parent I know nothing about?

Being a Type-A mom, and because one can ever have enough checklists and forms, I think what I really need is a one-page download that I can have the new parents complete before I decide to let my child go over to their house without me to play. Wa…la. Playdate Form

PlaydateFormI assume typical questions on this form should be: who lives in the home, their name & ages, phone/cell, address, who specifically will be supervising, what area where the child will be allowed to play, how do they discipline, do they have guns in their home, if so are they locked? OMG!! Is this too much? Would you feel comfortable asking a parent to complete this? #MommyFreakout

Get yourself together’s only the beginning.

Perhaps the form is a bit much, but I do think they are valid questions that should be considered. And while I’m not sure I will have every parent fill out a form, I did take a little playdate advice from some friends to help us ease into this this new realm.


  • Keep playdates short to begin with and increase the playtime as you and your child become more comfortable.
  • The less kids the better. One-on-one is a great way to create long-lasting friendships.
  • Provide or suggest activities to keep the children entertained.
  • Practice. Keep providing more opportunities for your child to learn how to manage when you are not around.
  • Provide your information up front to new parents, consider these cute little playdate cards from sellers on Etsy. Perhaps the parents will feel inclined to do the same.
  • If all else fails and you aren’t ready…tell little Susie she can come over to your place.


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Mom | wife | pug-lover extraordinaire. This type-A personality wife and mother of two girly princesses Ellie (5) and Emerson (3) and pug-mom to Coal-B-Jak, is living the dream (or sometimes just staying afloat), in Carmel, Indiana. A communication professional with over 15 years working for the world’s largest education company, Jamie manages over 25 social media channels for their technology learning brands. An avid interior design enthusiast and reader, Ms. Shoup spends most of her time corralling the troops on the home-front and finding new ways to create, organize and inspire her girls to experience all life has to offer. She reminds everyone to dance like no one is watching – because they’re not, they are looking at their phones. So get on the dance floor! Keep up with her on Twitter @JamieShoup76.