Organising a play date for your child can help boost their social skills. It also lets kids explore new places and make new friends. Below are some common concerns that parents have when setting up a play date for their child.
Who should my kid have a play date with?
As parents, we often try to choose who our kids spend time with. It’s understandable; safety is the main concern of all parents. Knowing the parents and family of the child playing with yours will help put you at ease.
One way around this is to give your child a choice from a handful of selected kids you already know. You may not know any kids directly, but you probably know other parents with kids in the same age group. Maybe it’s a child of your coworker, a friend from gym class, or a friend you made from a mothers group. These are all great places to start.
If you don’t know the other child’s family too well but feel comfortable enough to setup a play date, it is recommended to host the event at a park while you have a chat with the parent/s.
Play date manners
Before your child goes on a play date, it is essential to establish rules in order to avoid awkward situations. You may need to explain to your child how they should behave while playing at a friend’s house. It is equally important to be considerate of the other family by being on time. When hosting a play date, it is advisable to check if your kid’s friend has special needs such as allergies, diet restrictions and so on.
Always feed them
When hosting a play date, it is crucial to feed the kids. Well-fed kids are more relaxed and less likely to be moody. A great rule of thumb when feeding kids is the longer the play date, the bigger the meal. Alternatively, you can choose to provide more frequent, smaller snacks. If the play date falls at a mealtime, it is recommended to assume that you have to feed both children, unless previously arranged with the other parent.
As mentioned earlier, it is recommended to check if the other child has any dietary restrictions. Most parents are picky about what their child eats and work hard at making sure their diet is well regulated. When in doubt, always choose the healthier option. Planning ahead can work in your favour when including snacks or meals in a play date. Incorporate a variety of sliced fruits, juice and crackers for snacks. These types of snacks are easy to prepare and can buy you time while preparing an entire meal if needed.
How your kids act during a play date is your business. When children aren’t around their parents, they tend to embrace the freedom and switch to "anything goes” mode. Perhaps the most effective way to get feedback about your kid’s behavior during a play date is to ask the other parent. You may need to tell them to be as honest as possible because most parents don’t want to offend the other party. In situations like these, getting constructive feedback can go a long way and can ensure your child’s next play date will also be fun and exciting.