Date: Thu, 3 Oct 1996 10:54:57 -0400


Subject: Re: New word? playdate

sayeth dale:

My kids have been playing with other kids for the past 10 years, but just

within the last year mothers have started saying "Let's arrange a playdate--"

a time when the kids can play. Even my daughter picked it up as a new term,

at least for our circle of friends. Is this really new or are we leading

sheltered lives?

at least a little sheltered. this goes back at least 5 years (when

my friends started having kids), but i would guess longer. i've only

heard it with reference to pre-schoolers. the phenomenon of

playdates i associate with the social changes that have resulted in

women not having kids at the same times as their friends or not

having women friends living near them--so the playdate is a sort of

artificial substitute for the former type of more casual interaction

w/ other families. so, when i was a kid, my mom didn't arrange

playdates--she took me along to her koffee klatch (or bridge game or

whatever) and put me in the backyard w/ the other kids. but

nowadays, the playdate focus is on the kids--you make a playdate for

your kids, but you and the other parent are there. so, that's

another relevant feature of playdates--it's not the same as sending

the kid to someone else's house to play--parents of both kids are

there. to some extent they do serve the purpose of koffee klatches

(or however you're supposed to misspell that)--letting the parents

(usu. moms) get some parenting support. the twist is that the focus

is on the kids, so helps to relieve abstract parental guilts as