Some Rich Parents Are Paying $400 An Hour To Teach Their Toddlers How To ‘Play’

shutterstock_132159902__1374336577_97.68.50.234I don’t understand the rich, because I am not rich. Maybe if I was rich, I would think that scheduling so many extra-curricular activities for my toddler that he’s too booked to learn how to play, was normal. Then maybe I would also think it was normal to pay someone $400 an hour to teach my over-scheduled toddler how to play – not for his own joy, mind you – but to ensure that he wouldn’t come across as socially inept during his super-competitive private pre-K admissions.

Again, I’m not rich, so I think this is totally fucking weird.

Instructors teach kids how to properly socialize with other rich kids during these pre-planned playtimes. From the NY Post:

“Some kids need a little bit more work” at learning how to play, said Suzanne Rheault, the CEO of one of the firms that organize play dates, called Aristotle Circle. “Sometimes [parents] hear from our experts that there are some areas to improve.”

“Given that admission rates [to elite kindergartens] are so low, parents don’t want to leave anything to chance,” Rheault said.

Why would you want to “leave anything to chance” when you can instead take your little being and pour all of this knowledge into him and ensure that he is well-bred enough to gain admission into elite Kindergarten classes? Maybe if you weren’t so busy filling your 3-year-old’s schedule with French and violin lessons, he would have some time to actually play, organically, on his own – and not be a total social outcast. Why bother worrying about these things though, when you can pay someone to “fix” him.

Rheault’s pricey play dates involve groups of three to five 4-year-olds playing in a room. The experts closely monitor how the kids share crayons, color, follow directions in Simon Says, and hold a pencil.

All this child’s play is deadly serious for parents, because the toddlers will be judged on these skills when they apply to top-end schools, such as Trinity and Horace Mann.

Yuck. Have you ever seen Rich Kids Of Instagram? This is how those little a-holes were groomed. Don’t get all up-in-arms, I’m not calling kindergartners “a-holes.” I’m calling them “future a-holes.”

(photo: iCreative3D/ Shutterstock)

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  • Justme

    I wish I had thought of this.

    • Maria Guido

      Haha. I was just thinking “I wonder if there is a market for this in Orlando?”

    • Justme

      I mean, really…it’s pretty ingenious.

    • Shelly Lloyd

      As another Orlando resident I’m thinking maybe the Heathrow area. I have a teaching degree that I’m not using.

    • Maria Guido

      Let’s do this.

    • talonsage

      Yeah, me too. I could be raking in the dough, just by introducing rich kids to fire!! What? It was MY first toy!!

  • Blueathena623

    This makes me really angry, but I don’t know why. One of my friend’s not-quite-two year old does play therapy with her to help with what may become an autism diagnosis when he’s older. She feels so guilty she doesn’t know how to “play” with him correctly. For some reason, this makes me outraged on her behalf.

    • brebay

      Clearly this article is not talking about a therapeutic service for children with special needs. You’re outraged about apples and this is oranges. This is a money-making venture for the willingly exploited, not play therapy for children with autism or other conditions. Relax.

    • Justme

      I don’t think she’s upset at the article but at the fact that these parents are paying for someone else to play with their child. Meanwhile her friend would love to NOT have to pay someone to teach her how to play with her child.

    • Blueathena623

      I didn’t condemn the people to hell or anything. I quite clearly stated that I’m not sure why this upset me, but that my immediate, gut reaction was to be upset.

    • SusannahJoy

      I can understand your outrage. This makes your friends completely legitimate problem seem less legitimate. It doesn’t actually make it less, it just sorta seems like it. Like when you get some bored rich stereotype who has to go to therapy three times a week even though the only thing wrong is that she’s bored, and the people who seriously need therapy just look at them and go “WTF? That is so not what therapy was intended for!” Does that make sense?

  • Andrea

    Some people have more dollars than sense. Whatever. SOmething tells me a kid like that would be awkward regardless of this intervention.

  • A-nony-mous

    I feel so sorry for these children. They have no childhood. From the moment they’re born they’re treated as tiny grown-ups with duties and responsibilities before they even know where to potty. It’s not really play if it’s just a list of assigned tasks that are graded. Everything in their lives is always about the next step, instead of about enjoying the moment. Kindergarten Preparatory Play Agencies, College Preparatory Kindergarten, SAT Preparatory Elementary, University Prep High School. It just goes on and on. They have little to no free time and I think this is why more and more kids are ending up on prescription drugs. I’d want some drugs by 9 or 10 if I had parents like this too.

    I watched a documentary, can’t remember the name of it now, but it was about Manhattan parents vying for spaces in elite preschools. The preschools charged ridiculous amounts of money (think private university tuition cost) and really they didn’t offer any activities over what low-cost and co-op preschools do that are in any way practical to a career. The cost comes from filler junk activities that seem important to these types of parents such as candle-making, glass-blowing and Chinese calligraphy but really has no real world practical value or likelihood to get them a better job down the line which is what all the parents are trying to ensure/pay for in the first place.

  • DMH

    Hmph. Before clicking the link, I hadn’t seen Rich Kids of Instagram. I wish I could unsee.

  • CrazyFor Kate

    How to teach most kids to play:

    Put them in a room, maybe with a couple of versatile objects. Let them go. Boom. Done. The cliche of the toddler playing with the gift box at Christmas? It’s a cliche for a reason.

  • Rachelle


  • Marian Dreaver

    I could do this. I could do this part-time and still earn more than teaching in the pubic system is going to get me. And it would be the exact same work.

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