Play-date Dilemma

With JT now in Kindergarten and making his own friends (rather than just playing with the children of my friends), the subject of play-dates is coming up all of the time. Of course, we have done play-dates before but I’ve always been there. Now that he is 6 we are entering the world of the “drop-off” play-date. I’m sure for lots of parents this change is downright blissful.  While for some, including myself, the idea brings on instant anxiety. A few free hours of unpaid child care while your child plays and has snacks with friends actually sounds really great. But, I tend to be a little on the nervous and overprotective side anyway, now throw in JT’s allergies, asthma and medications and the thought of dropping him off leaves me a wreck.

Let’s just say Molly was old enough and going to a “drop-off” play-date. With no medical issues to think of I would still be nervous about plenty of things. Will this family supervise my child like I would?, Will they be in a safe place?, Is the family reliable?,  If they are gun owners, do they store them safely?, Are they good people? Now add in JT’s medical complications and I’m adding questions like: Is this family clean?, Do they have pets?, How do they handle food?, Will there be exposure to peanuts or eggs?, Will they recognize an allergic reaction?, Do they understand how serious this can be? On top of that is the responsibility I would be putting on another parent. In order to drop him off I need to teach that parent what foods to keep away from JT,  what signs to look for if an allergic reaction is starting , how to use an epipen and how to give JT his inhaler. That’s a lot to ask someone I’m not paying!

For now, we are laying pretty low on the play-date front because I’m not feeling ready for it to evolve into the “drop-off” stage, but I don’t think it’s doing JT any good. I know I need to think about that next step, but how?

So, parents who have been through this, how did you do it? Or did you not do it? What advice do you have for a little-bit-nervous, maybe-slightly-overly-protective Mom?

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5 responses

  1. Being an overprotective yet laid-back type of mom myself. I was ALWAYS very nervous dropping my kids off. When my daughter was in kindergarten and went to her first “drop off” play date, I stayed for about an hour then went to my car and parked at the end of the street until it was time to pick her up, of course with my cell phone at the ready just in case.

    Become friends with the parents. Stay have a cup of tea with them, then you get to know there habits and can relay your concerns with JT’s allergies, The Mom or Dad may appreciate the company and that you are not leaving them solely responsible for your child with these issues, until they get to know you both better.

  2. I can sympathize with you but with a twist. My older daughter was a severe asthmatic. She had to take her nebulizer to spend the night with friends. I had to worry would they remember to make sure she took it, would they understand when the asthma was out of control and how seriously they would take her asthma. As she got older, she was able to give herself her treatment and new when she needed it. It is scary to have a child with any special needs that you worry about others understanding. When you feel comfortable, you will allow it. Until then, do what you need to.

  3. I completely understand! For now, I have chosen to have play dates at my house with the parents present. My little is one is two and I’m so blessed to be able to stay home with her. That makes protecting her easier, for now anyway. The life of a food allergy parent is not easy. We have worries and stresses our friends will never quite understand.

  4. I get it, too. My 6 yo has been asking about play dates but so far I’ve pretended we are too busy (avoiding, I know!). Now, my 8 yo has been invited to birthday parties and we’ve actually attended three. “We” being the operative words. I do not let him go alone. I usually know the mothers well enough to explain why I’ll be there with him … and so far I haven’t been the only mom who’s attended. In fact, most of the other parents have stayed.

    I know it’ll get harder to attend parties with the kids as they get older, but by then they will be able to shoulder more of the responsibility of their condition. For me, I’m thinking they can go alone when they self-carry epinephrine. Hehe. Maybe that’s over-doing it. We’ll see.

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