Date: Thu, 3 Oct 1996 13:30:50 -0600

From: Luanne von Schneidemesser lvonschn[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]FACSTAFF.WISC.EDU

Subject: Re: New word? playdate

In message Thu, 3 Oct 1996 10:54:57 -0400,


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


My kids, born 1982 and 1984, had playdates with other kids, but it basically

was nothing but getting together to play with them as I did with other kids

when I was young -- the difference was that my children lived in a neighborhood

with few children, so that the other parent or I had to drive one of the kids

to the other kid's house. These were usually other children from preschool

or school (this was not just a neighborhood school, but a paired school,

one combined with another so that minority balance could be maintained).

Parents of both kids were usually not there, however. I dropped the child

off and picked him or her up later.

Luanne von Schneidemesser

Dictionary of American Regional English

6129 H.C. White Hall, 600 N. Park St.

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Madison WI 53706

(608) 263-2748