Usually, a parent would have cringed in disbelief to see their 12-year-old getting ready for a ‘date’. However, Neelu Kapur, an entrepreneur, instead organised one for her daughter earlier this month. “It’s a great way to let a child learn something new. I had really thought this through,” she said.
There is nothing romantic about this ‘date’. Kapur is among many new-age moms bringing the western concept of a ‘play-date’ to the Capital and redefining it to make it more engaging and constructive.
So, when a 12-year-old prepares for a date this summer, it can actually be a night-long baking session with friends at one of their houses or a sleepover full of stories and fun.
“I organised a baking date for my daughter and six of her friends. She learnt baking over the last two months and it was fun for her to make something for her friends and also teach them. They started baking late evening followed by a movie at home,” said Kapur, who lives in Gurgaon. She says it’s her way to help her child build confidence and also learn to work in a team.
“Initially, some parents could not bring themselves to allow their child to stay out overnight. But once they saw it’s a safe home environment, they agreed. Such playdates are a part of training your child in independence, discipline and learning new skills,” she said while adding that all six of them got up early at 8 am the following day, folded their linen and were ready to go home in an hour.
Parents say it’s convenient to organize such get-togethers at night as most of them go to work during the day. “I picked up the idea from my friend who has lived in the US for two years. She had hosted her daughter’s friends one night to help her get to know them better,” said Sapna Shukla, who lives in Vasant Kunj and is planning a Scrabble date during the day.
Many parents were initially sceptic. “I first found it a little unnecessary when the mother of my son’s classmate called up to invite him to a storytelling night at her place. I had never allowed my son to be out without us. So I stayed around for some time that night,” recalled Priya Sharma, a teacher from Rohini. “My 10-year-old son had written his own story which he read out to his friends and they had so much fun. I had never tried to make my son do it before. He is quite creative,” she added. Her son Garv is now preparing for a shirt-painting date later this month. “This time, he will go alone,” Sharma said.