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Playdate : Guide to immaculately plan it.


Socializing is an important part of everybody’s life and it’s important that it is developed when the person is at young age. So, parents came with the concept of Play Date. Those who are not aware of what Play Dates are, here is the definition

Play Date(n): A time that the parents arrange for their young children to play together.


The definition seems so simple. The parents call or email each other, decide the date, time and place and voila...A playdate! I am a newbie and I always use to cringe when I hear the word Play date. I believe tons of parents would agree to me. Its full of anxiety just like you are going on the blind date. Its unlike an actual date, you have got few unpredictable infant or toddlers running around your feet.

But Play dates can also be fun. I had a Play date some 2 months back with my 4-year-old boy with his friends. Today they are best friends and so are me and other moms.

Kids like to hang out with their pals and parents too need a break. If the situation is ideal, it is the blast for everybody. They are also one of the ways where your child learns so much like sharing and develop social skills. It gives the children an opportunity to make new friends and talk to the grown-ups. It helps them to practice their communication skills, taking turns, sharing their things and switching between the activities.


When should you start?

There is no specific age as when to start the play date. It can be started as soon as your child is some months old. Don’t think what’s the point of taking such small babies to Play date when they don’t know how to play. Infact they are developing the important life skills that is getting comfortable around other children.


But Play Dates can be stressful if not implemented properly. So, here are some dos and don’t for making this Play Date work:

  1. Keep it short and sweet: When your child is having a play date with any new friend, its better to keep it short and have the parents around them. An hour is a good amount of time for almost all the children. The older they get; they can spend longer time playing all together. If we parents keep it short, this way kids part wishing they could spend more time together and look forward for next Playdate. Just make sure Always keep them wanting for more.


  1. No Favorites: If the Playdate is happening at anyone’s house, remember to put away your child’s favorite. Your child may not be able to easily share these toys. Putting them away can avoid the conflicts that might occur.


  1. Snacks: Plan what snacks you will offer ahead of time. If your child is like mine, then with the friends around him, he will be digging into the cookies or unhealthy food by getting in the kitchen asking to get that from the pantry for everyone. It’s better to discuss and plan it with your kid in the morning of the play date so they know what is being offered and will not fuss about it. Make sure you ask everyone about the allergies in advance.


  1. Plan an Activity: If you have a 4, 5 or 6-year-olds, they can’t entertain themselves for 2 hours. They will play for some time but will end up coming to you saying that they are bored. Why not plan some activities beforehand. Collect some activities or craft work so that they can make some crafts or play some interesting games. Never over plan because some activities or games can backfire. Kids can be more interesting in talking and playing other things with their friend rather than doing the activities.


  1. Time warning: Ending the playdate when kids are having fun can be stressful. To avoid this, give kids the warning that the playdate is ending. Let them know that they just have 15 mins left, then 10 and finally 5. Give them time to prepare themselves. You can also ask the kids to do clean up indicating them that the playdate is ending. This will reduce the stress and can end it smoothly.


  1. Play outside: Getting them outdoors is a good idea if the weather permits. It would be good for them to indulge in sensory games and play ideas. The nature will naturally calm the child. Visiting the brand-new place with them like a park or a playground can be fun and open them to new experiences.


  1. Don’t hover over the child: We parents need to understand that as the kids are growing, they don’t want their parents to be around them when they are playing. It does not mean that you should stop checking as to what they are doing. Keep a check but stop hovering. Give them independence to play what they want to. Just relax and do not micromanage the whole playdate.


Don’t forget that Playdates are an awesome learning experience for your child, because its fun for your kids as well as you. If your child does not have the ability to share, use this as an opportunity to build these important skills.

So, what are you waiting for? Get some playdates on the calendar. Push yourself to invite new child in your kid class, move out of your comfort zone, make the first move and make the great group of friends for you as well as for your kid.

Happy Parenting!!

Photo by Ben Wicks on Unsplash

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