Play dates - to push or not?!

Hi again, back for more advice :joy:

My son has his challenges which I’ve shared on here before - he hasn’t ever really been invited to play dates as struggles socially due to a mix of language disorder and subsequent lack of confidence.

He’s been invited to a couple of play dates coming up but my big fear is that he won’t detach from me to go and play. We went to one a couple of months ago and he literally wouldn’t leave my side. Wanted to play in the living room (all the toys were upstairs in the child’s bedroom) and whilst I validate his feelings, it can get a bit awkward with the other child / parents.

Do I just need to let him cling to me if that’s what he needs? Should I keep pushing play dates if they’re not his happy place?! He does mention play dates fairly regularly as knows others in the class do them so am keen for him not to miss out but also don’t want to go if he’s not going to participate. Also doesn’t help that I have struggled to make friends with the class mums as am only on the school run twice a week due to work and think a lot of them know each other from the local area / nurseries.

What do you all think?? Thanks in advance!

Hey, @singlemumof1. One of my twins is similar to this whereas the other one is quite outgoing/confident. If he’s stuck to me at a play date and not wanting to join in, I generally say “don’t worry, sit with me and join in when you feel comfortable” and more often than not he will eventually go and play….usually 5 mins before we are due to leave :woman_facepalming:t3:. I find it’s usually better for him if I host the play date - would you be able to try that to see if it helps?


Urrrghhh play dates are the bane of my life :joy::joy: Been here also @singlemumof1 and in the end I just had to suck it up and do all the hosting. Which is exhausting in itself on top of everything else isn’t it. Is there another mum you feel comfortable talking about it with? Explain that your son finds it tricky but you want to support him with play dates. Does he have anyone in particular he mentions? Sending you a big hug, play dates and playground politics can be the worst!!


Hi, this is a hard one. If your child has difficulty in all social situations, due to the language disorder and severe loss of confidence, then I would suggest not forcing him to go on a play date.

However, if he can make a reasonable relationship with children his own age when he is familiar with them or they are brothers and sisters, then what you might want to do is get in touch with the parent organising play date beforehand and explain the situation. Ask the friend’s parents to keep a close eye and be especially welcoming to your son. And for yourself, after you’ve dropped him off then you have to go, quickly! He will be upset to begin with but nearly always after 3 or 4 minutes children settle down.

Let us know how you get on.


Thanks @Prof_Stephen_Scott, you’re right, I can’t force him. I just get stressed he’s missing out but that’s probably more my issue!!

We went to a play date yesterday as I had been invited to stay for coffee also and it went so much better. He stuck to me for 5 mins then went off to play happily with the child so I think the answer is for me to try and stay moving forward.

Thanks again!