Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Making Pre-school Playdates in Sweden (or just in my weird neighborhood)

I have to admit I’ve never had a pre-school age kid in the US, so most of what I understand of the culture over there I have learned second-hand from friends and family. But my current experience with a now 4-year-old Little Swede means learning to make playdates in Sweden, and man it is a jungle out there!

Things were tricky from the get go. I can’t say it is the Swedish parents of the kids at Little Swede’s pre-school, because most of the kids there are ‘mutts’ like mine (half Swede, half something else), but the parents at this pre-school just don’t talk to each other. Now I am shy, and appreciate the Swedish attitude of ‘don’t feel obliged to talk to anyone as it’s not necessary and often uncomfortable’ most of the time because I am naturally shy and totally an INFJ on the Myers Briggs scale (which might explain why I like it here so damn much). But even I think saying ‘hi’ to people who you have something in common with like ‘hey our kids go to the same school’ is a nice touch and not a social burden.

But fine. The parents maybe mutter out a little hello, if forced. Some insist on staring at the ground and pretending that they just didn’t hear you. And thus I was pretty terrified of how we would breech the whole ‘Hey my kid wants to play with your kid, can we make a play date?’ subject. I mean Little Swede plays with the neighbors, but he LOVES his classmates and asks about them CON-STANT-LY (as 4 year olds are incredibly gifted at doing).

So I agonized over ways to approach some of these ‘stare at the ground, whatever you do don’t make eye contact’ kind of parents. Put a letter in the cubbyhole with our contact information? Try to catch them in person at drop-off/pick-up? Arrange a telephone contact list by pinning a note on the back of the door? Which would be the least antagonistic way to make sure Little Swede could hang out with some friends?

Thankfully before I had to make a decision I received a text message. Apparently that is how you make play dates in Sweden. One of the ‘stare at the ground’ parents was too busy to say hello, but sent a text message implying that her 4 year old was badgering her equally about the need for a playdate, and might we possibly want to come over one day.

Apparently, the tactic she pursued was tracking us down on Gula Sidorna and then sending us a text message. Good to know for the future (although I am willing to shake things up a bit).


I really hope my pre-school is just a bit quirky in this department! How did your kids get Swedish playdates?

2 comments:

  1. Texts is the way to do it. Neither the sender or the receiver have to feel bad about a no ;) Another way is to leave a note in the other kids bag/shelf.

    /Maria - an EX Swedish PreSchool Teacher and Mom.

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    1. Thanks, good to get advice from a professional :)!

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