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Dear David Coleman: Does my seven-year-old need to have play dates every week?

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Meet-ups provide a good opportunity for children to play freely but it’s crucial parents don’t overload themselves

Meet-ups provide a good opportunity for children to play freely but it’s crucial parents don’t overload themselves

Meet-ups provide a good opportunity for children to play freely but it’s crucial parents don’t overload themselves

Q I'm really stressed about play dates, and what's okay for my seven-year-old daughter's development. It seems the girls in her class (small rural school) have play dates every Friday. This seems totally excessive to me. With work and the busyness of life, I can only manage for her to have a play date about once a month. I'm regularly turning down offers without her knowledge, but it's nagging at me, am I doing right by her? What if it has a knock-on effect socially for her?

David replies:  I think all of us have to prioritise what we can achieve in the limited time we have available on a daily and weekly basis. Working full-time and running a family can be exhausting and so it is crucial that we don't overload ourselves, trying to achieve some level of perceived perfection that is actually unattainable.

I can see why it might be a worry that, by not being involved in play dates, your daughter may be missing out. It is good that you have an awareness of this and that you see the importance of her feeling settled and secure, socially. The evidence, though, seems to be that she is doing fine socially. You are regularly fielding requests for her to come and visit at her friends' houses, suggesting she is happily in the thick of the social mix in school.