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I Won't Let My Kindergartener do Drop-Off Playdates

Photograph by Getty Images

My son has begun kindergarten. A whole new year, all new things. New experiences.

It's been a great year so far. He's made friends at his new school and has already been invited to birthday parties and play dates.

After three years of nursery school, I've done the play date thing. In fact, I enjoy them. It's so nice to get to know the other moms, the kids and their families.

But now that they're in kindergarten, the play dates seem a bit different. The first play date we were invited on? The mom told me I could just send my son home on the bus with her son.

What?

I'm supposed to send my baby, the most precious thing in my world, home with someone I don't really know? I met the kid once (he seems adorable), I met the mom once (she seems lovely), but how can I send my five-year-old to a house I've never been to before? And what's more, a babysitter would be watching the boys after school while the mom was at work.

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Thanks to the Common Core curriculum in New York, my son gets a ton of homework each night. Our routine is to get homework done the minute he gets off the bus, so we can dedicate the rest of the afternoon and evening to having fun. So, I told the mom that I'd have my son come home and do homework before we came over.

Now I'm sitting here, in the house of someone I just met, while her son and my son play in his room. And you know what? It's fine! The kid is just as adorable as when I first met him. The babysitter is an honor student from our local high school who is firm, yet sweet, with the kids.

He’s my first child, and I’m sure by the time his little brother’s in kindergarten, I’ll have a different mindset.

Here’s what I realized: my son is ready for drop-off playdates, but I’m not. I can pretend all I want that it’s my five-year-old who’s not ready, not mature enough, but the truth is, it’s all me. I’m not ready to let him go off to friends’ houses by himself just yet. I don’t even let him ride bikes in front of our house alone.

He’s my first child, and I’m sure by the time his little brother’s in kindergarten, I’ll have a different mindset. Until then, I’ll continue to escort him to playdates and birthday parties until I feel comfortable leaving him alone.

RELATED: Going Beyond 'Helicopter' Parenting

It’s important to know your kids' limits, but it’s also important to know your own.

I’m not ready. And that’s okay.

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