Feb. 13, 2023

Ask Amy: Can I Politely Decline a Playdate?

What do you do when your child and their friend are begging for a playdate– and you're not so sure it's a good idea? Here's how to redirect or politely decline playdates– plus when to consider going ahead.

Is there anything worse? Your kid is begging for a playdate at a friend's house, while that friend is standing right there listening. Plus that kid's mother. And the thing is, you think this other kid is not such a good friend for your child to have. What do you do?

A listener in our Facebook group asks:

"My kid is 7 years old. Has anyone ever experienced your child making a friend but you don’t feel comfortable with your child going over to their house solo for play dates? Any advice for how to navigate and what to say when your child is invited over? What if you got a chance to know the parent meeting at the park or a school event or sports but you didn’t get the vibe that you’d be comfortable with your child going over there— but you see them all the time and talk to the mom often and the kids beg for play dates in front of both parents?"

Amy suggests preparing a script ahead of time for politely declining in the moment and then exploring later what it is that's making you hesitant about this playdate. Is it the parents? The kid him/herself? Do you have anxiety about your kid playing at anyone's house, or just this kid? Sit with the discomfort and try to determine its root cause. Then go with your gut, while remaining open to receiving more information about the friend (or the friendship) later on that just might change your mind.

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