In case you missed it, here is a recent post from “Rosie to the Rescue”, my blog for Parents Magazine. Here I discuss the need for mindfulness when we are chatting amongst adults around our children. Don’t miss the rest of the “Rosie to the Rescue” posts, available here.
Whether you’ve become good friends with the parents of your child’s BFF, or you just make it work for the kids (you know what I’m talking about!), adult interactions during playdates can be tricky to navigate. While the kids are having fun, adult conversations can take an interesting turn, and we can forget that our children are potentially listening. (This doesn’t just happen on playdates, of course. Thanksgiving with extended family, anyone?)
I recently found myself at a playdate with a mom who shared her concerns about other kids our children play with. I noticed that my son was listening; we were, after all, talking about his friends. This got me thinking how often we potentially have inappropriate discussions around our kids, without even realizing it. It’s important to be more aware of what we say, as children can make assumptions or inferences that stay with them and can be damaging. I really want to encourage all of us to stamp out that alluring gossiping we can do when we get together during playdates, be active about the content of our discussions, and try and make them upbeat and not inappropriate. If you find yourself in a tricky situation just make a gesture to the kids, smile, and say “Let’s catch up about that later,” then swiftly change the topic. (“I love your shoes, by the way. Where did you get them?”)
After all, playdates and family gatherings should be fun for the kids, and you should never leave wondering whether little Joey heard you talking about his dad!