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 know I’m too busy at the moment to have kids over, but hopefully in the future


  • They should come from both Mum’s as it’s better for the kids to feel they are wanted at each others homes


  • It could just be the parents liking it that way. I know I always preferred my kids go visit their friends rather then the friends visit here. I think my kids preferred it too, a big if freedom from mum and dad and the annoying siblings


  • Each to there own, my daughter has had a friend come and stay a few times but my daughter has only stayed once their, we usually invite friends when we are going or doing something where my daughter will feel left out (all boys)


  • Search out new contacts who may be more in a place to have playdates, not everybody has the time or energy!


  • I have a friend who doesn’t deal with when lots of people are at get house so we are very rarely incite to their house. I’m now than happy to have her and her family cone to ours if it makes her feel more comfortable. My kids aren’t up to sleep over ages yet so will see what happens when they are. It’s a big responsibility to look after someone else’s child. They may be anxious about something going wrong.


  • Maybe have a quiet word with the other parents to find out if it’s just your child or if they don’t have any play dates. That should then set your mind at ease.


  • It’s tricky. It is certainly nice when play dates are reciprocated – especially for the kids and they do love other people’s houses but you shouldn’t have others children over expecting that it will be reciprocated. Some people are time poor and the last thing they want is other children to entertain/feed. For me personally I love having my kids friends over. You get a real idea of what the friendships are like and seeing your kids interact with their peers


  • It’s nice when it’s reciprocated but sometimes your house is the sleepover house for all the kids friends…lol


  • My son loved to go to other people’s houses where there were siblings as he’s an only child, however I know that his friends loved to come to our house to get away from their siblings. There may be more at play in terms of the reasons why. I organised play dates all the time simply because my son was an only child and I wanted him to socialise.


  • Sometimes it can be to the parents working or if the other parent isn’t as well off as you they may feel that the child may think it’s boring at their house because they don’t have as much “stuff” as their friend. (likewise the parent may feel embarrassed that they don’t have as many toys, technology etc)

    • Yes or they have siblings with special needs or ill or a bunch of other reasons like that.


  • Although my children are grown, I found that my children usually had a two-way street, however I have noticed with my grandchildren that this does not seem to occur to the same extent. I feel that this is often due to the parent’s working hours and other commitments which seem to be greater these days.


  • I think everyone can have personal preferences. I don’t always want people at me house and sometimes I do. I would be quiet hurt if someone was getting huffy cause I didn’t invite them over. Not everything is an even give and take …


  • People are strange when it comes to social etiquette. I have a friend who always wants me to come over to her place for play dates and always seems to find an excuse not to come to mine. I don’t know why but it’s annoying


  • My oldest did not have many reciprocal Playdates in prep and I did wonder why. Many parents work full time and have so little family time that they save their weekends for this. She is starting to be asked for more weekend Playdates in senior school.


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