Parents Hire $400-an-Hour Playdate Consultants to Teach Their Kids How to Play

kids coloringWell people, here it is -- proof that parents have officially gone off the deep end when it comes to over-involvement in their kids' lives. Parents are now hiring playdate consultants to teach their kids how to properly play with other kids.

I wish I was making this up, but it's true. According to the New York Post, moms and dads in New York are paying $400 an hour for an expert to come in and help their child be the best little socializer he or she can be.

Suzanne Rheault, CEO of Aristotle Circle, which provides such services, told the paper:

Some kids need a little bit more work at learning how to play. Sometimes [parents] hear from our experts that there are some areas to improve.

Forget about letting them figure things out on their own and growing from it, let's just get an expert to butt in and orchestrate the crayon sharing. The reason they hire them is perhaps even sadder -- because they're being prepped and molded to get into "the right" preschools with a schedule full of classes and activities, and they have no time to just be kids.

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So much pressure. So young. No wonder they don't know how to play. It's heartbreaking really.

Before we climb too far up on our outraged high horses though, we really do have to take a look at our own approach to parenting. While I could never afford $400 an hour for something as crazy as this, my husband and I do what we can to give our children a "leg up" or whatever you want to call it when we can. When my son was chosen for an all-star baseball team, we coughed up the cash for a personal coach to work with him a couple of times. We send our kids to a private school because we think it's better for them. We drive all over creation to various sports and activities and playdates because we want them to be well rounded. Who's to say what we'd do if we had all sorts of extra cash? It's easy to say "I'd never" when you know you can't, but when you can, things can change.

In general, parents do so much more to "help" our kids these day than to just send them out the front door and let them figure life out until the street lights come on than our parents ever did. So while $400 playdate tutors sound ridiculous, it's really relative and perhaps just on the extreme end of what most parents today do for (or to) kids today.

Would you ever hire a playdate tutor? What things do you do to give your kids a leg up?


Image via one tiny spark/Flickr

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nonmember avatar Whitney F

I think it is fine to spend the money to teach kids how to play. I agree it is sad that children are in that situation.

I grew up an only child in a rural community. No children lived around me. I enjoyed reading, tv, and playing with my dogs. Not going to lie, I feel like I am lacking in relationships with others. At times I feel socially awkward. I am also a very introverted person. I can't help but feel this is the result of my childhood.

Remember, children are learning skills for the rest of their lives. If we do not teach them to forge positive relationship at an early age, they may lack the ability as they age. This can hinder them throughout their lives. We may not have $400/hour to help our children but we can encourage play dates and mentor their relationships with others.

mommy... mommy053008

That's crazy to me! I do, however, send my oldest DD to private school it's her first year this Aug and I have no regrets. The public school in our areas are not even sub par. I refuse for her to be in a failing school before she has even had a start. I know it's the best for her. 

Reen1 Reen1

I don't see anything wrong with it at all. Correction, I do think it is wrong that the PARENTS are not the ones teaching their own children how to "properly" play... but if they work too much or are not around enough (based on the fact that they live in NY and can afford $400 per/hr, they probably have hefty careers) to teach them themselves (which I definitely think is sad), then I think there is nothing wrong with them hiring someone to do it for them. Children are not meant to just be let loose on a playgound to "figure it out". It is a parents job to teach their children what is acceptable, what good manners are, and how to not be selfish butt heads when socializing with other children. It's not being "over involved" to show your children how to be civil, well mannered members of the world around them.

KacieLu KacieLu

Wow, when I was growing up, my parents had top scrape together the cash to send me on field trips so I wouldn't feel left out. I don't think you can teach someone to be nicer, especially as a little kid. You can teach them to behave, but that's something entirely different and should be done by the parents. Otherwise, all the kids will ultimately learn is that if a job is hard, or takes to much time, pay sunshine else to do it. Like their essays in school, or taking the SATs...


i think this is absurd, maybe instead of paying to teach their children, they should pay to teach themselves how to play with their children, its not up to anyone else to teach our children how to play, its the parents responsibility to teach them how to play with this toy, or how to get along with another child at a play date, this to me is taking it to far, and being a bit lazy if you ask me, yes i understand that parents work, and sometimes work a lot, and im sure thats how they are able to pay for this outrageous idea, but why the hell did you become a parent in the first place if you are just going to pay a nanny to do everything for you? you need to take the time yourself, no matter how tired or overworked you are to play with your children and teach them because YOU are the one who decided to have them

nonmember avatar lalalala

my son wouldn't need something like that hes way more socialized then what I am/was

grous... grousseau

Are you kidding? If a parent wants to higher a play consultant that is their choice. If a parent wants to drive allover theplace for well rounded play dates that is also their business. My parents let us run from sun up until sunset, when were young. We are all well rounded adults. Some families have more money than others. How they choose to spend it on their kids is nobodys flipping business.

Sharron Strong

WOW...I am going to re-think my current career.  I think I missed my calling!!

tuscani tuscani

That is such a shame! I could never afford to do that.. I had several sons who went into Hockey and Football. Hockey is a VERY expensive sport (as well as Football and any other I imagine). For him to just play 12 weeks would cost $1500 + Insurance..His equipment was just as much. Skates have to be customed fitted to the child's foot. Which we know grows every 4-5 months. The cost of Hockey Skates is not cheap... It would blow your mind away. Then came the offers for private lessons to make them the best...In everything..whether it was Hockey, Football, Basketball and Baseball Camps or Drama...There was always that extra carrot dangling that your child could be the best! if you just let him have private sessions...

tuscani tuscani

We could harldy afford the sports they were that was it..To your vest and play hard and we'll be proud no matter what... My husband would take our sons to the rink for free skating time as he used to paly hockey...Got him up early and got him back in shape.It's ridiculous what they charge for that when I was growing up was given for free! I know we all want the best for our children and we want them to be the best. Just because we can't afford it doesn't mean they won't be... My youngest child...had no acting or drama or voice lessons in his entire life..Tried out for a Huge Musical where there were kids who had the benefit of Vocal coaches and acting lessons.. My child went in raw..with nothing but his desire to sing and act. He auditioned and got the LEAD!!! So, don't feel bad if you can't afford the best. In the end, I believe it's the child's passion and natural ability that will carry them.. I have living proof so don't despair moms who don't have money to give their kids the best advantage...your child may already have the best advantage between their passion and natural talent!

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