Kids At Play: Tips For Great Playdates
Kids at play need playmates- these tips help to assure your child a great playdate, whether at your house or a friends.
It used to be that you could just walk out your front door and your kids would have someone to play with. That's not the case anymore. In the cities and suburbs around the U.S., kids are more and more finding themselves on scheduled "playdates". Here are some tips to be sure your child (and their friend) has a good time.
- Always try and schedule a playdate at a good time of the day when your child is well-rested. Nothing can cause a playdate to deteriorate faster than a tired child.
- Depending on your child's age, you will either be staying with your child, or dropping him off. Either way, tell your child what is expected of him before the playdate. (Sharing, no roughousing, etc.)
- If a friend comes to play at your house, gently tell them the rules before the playdate so there are no surprises. (no food in the living room, no jumping on the beds, etc.) Also, show them where the bathrooms are and where you will be if they need you.
- Before the child arrives, ask your child if there are any special toys he wants to put away. This will help to alleviate any problems sharing "special" or new toys.
- Consider buying duplicates of popular toys and dress up clothes so that each child can play. This is especially important with younger children.
- Before the other mother leaves (or when you drop your child off) be sure and explain any food allergies and leave a number where you can be reached. Ask the other mother what time she will return to pick up her child.
- Check in frequently with the children to make sure things are still going smoothly. If there is a problem, try and point them in another direction or offer a snack or drink. Sometimes a break is all that is needed.
- Don't hesitate to discipline the other child if necessary, especially if their behavior is dangerous or against your house rules. But, keep in mind that while you may not allow rough play, another mother may. Be gentle, but firm.
- Periodically ask the children if they need anything. This will let them know that you are close by and involved.
- Teach your child good manners and they will most certianly be invited back to a friend's. Nothing goes farther then an enthusiastic "thanks for inviting me over!"