A frustrated mum says she is starting to feel a bit put out when her son isn’t invited to his friend’s for a playdate…

A mum of one has posted on Mumsnet to share her frustration about her son’s playdates rarely being reciprocated. The mum says that she frequently allows her seven-year-old son to have his friends over, and enjoys having an open and welcoming home, but is beginning to notice that other parents are not as willing to return the favour.

A Rare Invitation

The mum says that her son is hardly ever invited to his friend’s homes. “My son really loves going to their house because it’s not his so it’s interesting!” she wrote. “But he very very rarely gets invited…they hardly ever offer off their own back.” The mum went on to say that, as far as she is aware, her son is always well behaved and polite when he is invited round and is struggling to understand the absence of invitations as a result. “I know it’s a personal decision, they have a very lovely house and kids running round may not be your thing…but I’m interested to know that if you’re not big on playdates…why do you feel that way?” she asked the forum.

Personal Preference

Responses to the post said that having children to your home for playdates comes down to personal preference. “Some people just don’t like having people over,” said one parent. “I find it stressful but I do it because my kids like it. But I’d rather not.” Others said that the mum was wrong to allow her son to have friends over and expect other parents to ask her son round in return. “You are out of order,” one wrote. “You invite the child because you want a welcome open house…You do not give in order to receive.”

While we understand where this mum is coming from, we also totally respect the choice of some families to not invite their children’s friends to their house and meet up elsewhere instead.

Do you think this mum is being unreasonable to expect playdates to be reciprocated? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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  • I think it’s just life these days. My husband and I invite people over for dinner, I wouldn’t say a lot, but a decent amount of times. But we have only been invited over others houses a hand full of times.
    People are just super busy these days and having people over is probably one more thing to do!
    I personally would rather kids at my house anyway, I don’t think I’d feel comfortable about my kids going to others houses until they were older unless I knew the family very well.


  • get over it, not everyone has the time or patience for other people’s kids, if you get your nose out of joint just don’t invite them back. You don’t make these arrangements to expect a returned favour


  • Play dates used to be for pre- school age little ones and the Mums met at the same time. It is really beneficial for Mums or children who are otherwise isolated.


  • Personally, I hate how other children destroy my house. It takes us ages to pack everything away. Some of my children’s friends are heavy handed or too crazy in our house. If that’s the case, I encourage them to play outside and then we’ll usually have another play date at a park or something!


  • It’s not something that you should expect in return. My boys loved going to their friends homes to interact with them out of school hours. I always let their Mum’s know that I couldn’t do this very often and they understood. Open communication is the best policy


  • We are still in the age of having play dates with parents here at all times. It doesn’t bother me if people don’t invite us to their house for play dates in return. We have made our house extremely kid friendly so it is safer and more relaxing for everyone. Other people tend to have areas or things that are off limits which requires parents to be on edge a bit. Just bring coffee or snacks and I am happy to host haha.


  • I certainly agree that it is frustrating when play dates are shared, my son is a very busy boy who loves being outside. This sometimes creates issues when he goes to peoples house which are technology filled. Their child wants to sit and play games and my son wants to get out and climb trees. I always suggest a meet up at the local park to avoid these issues.


  • So, my son is an only child so we always had play dates here. What I learnt was that kids with siblings much preferred to come here, whilst my son preferred to go there – for the same reason… the other kids! My son loved hanging out in homes with more kids, whereas his friends got annoyed when siblings would join in and play with my son. My son’s friends loved to come to our home because they didn’t get to compete with anyone and got to have fun without siblings. Once I understood that, it changed everything.


  • I think it’s personal preference just like how I don’t like giving people lifts in cars, it’s bloody annoying when people are late or you have to spend extra 20 mins driving, I don’t like driving


  • I think it’s true, we can’t expect it to be reciprocated as some people don’t like that responsibility to have other kids in their house, fair enough. If you’re not happy, just don’t do playdates yourself!


  • I have hosted quite a few playdates with very little reciprocation. My main annoyance is that when the parent doesn’t want to come in for a chat even though I sense they have the time, but they are not interested. I find playdates a great way to meet your child’s friends.


  • Play dates don’t always need to be at home. They can be a mutual places like parks or playcenters. I like getting invitations for my kids but I seldomly do too however I figure if I want my kids socialising then I’ll make the effort to do so.


  • I am a working mum and sometimes find it hard to find a time to have other kids over for playdates , My hubbie also does not like having kids around much due to noise and mess so I have always been limited in that area


  • It only bothers me if it bothers my kids. Chat to the other mothers there’s prob an easy answer. Love it when it’s at mine though so I know what’s going on


  • I think I would rather the kids be at my place so I knew what they were up to, but in saying that, I think it’s important for the kids to also get out of their own home and I remember as a kid it was always fun going to a friends place, so I think it’s just good manners to return the favor and not just expect other parents to essentially baby sit your kids all the time


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