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The New York Post recently reported that well-off Manhattan parents are paying top dollar just to ensure their little ones know how to properly socialize with other kiddos. Wow. According to the Post, parents are hiring recreation “experts” who will not only organize playdates for their children but teach said children how to socialize, interact and yes, even play with other posh kids. Kid social experts don’t come cheap with some parents paying up to $400 an hour just to make sure their kids know how to play with other kids. If this seems nuts to you, no worries, I’m right there with you.

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play dates, play date classes, over scheduled kids, kid classes, child peers, child classes, private schools, free play, free play healthy, organized play
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Suzanne Rheault, CEO of one play date firm, Aristotle Circle, doesn’t think playdate classes are crazy and tells the Post, “Some kids need a little bit more work [at learning how to play].” Many of these kids lives are filled with an overload of young child classes meant to boost their later ability to get into exclusive Manhattan private schools — so playdate experts theorize that while the kids may be well versed in music, language and the arts, they simply haven’t had the time to learn how to play with other kids. What happens in these playdate classes? Well, the Post points out that Rheault classes consist of three to five 4 year-olds playing while “Experts closely monitor how the kids share crayons, color, follow directions in Simon Says, and hold a pencil.”

Some child experts disagree with playdate tutors, including Amanda Uhry of Manhattan Private School Advisors, who not only advises against child coaching but notes, “The kids end up sounding like robots.” I’d have to agree. There’s simple and far less expensive solutions here. Perhaps cancel some of those music and language lessons and send your kid outside to play, head to the park, and allow plenty of free-play time. In fact, you could also set up playdates in (gasp) your own home.

Take our poll. Plus tell us what you think about pricey kid playdate classes in the comments.

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