Do you have young toddler to school age kids? Do they want to go to a friend’s house or meet up at the park? My kids are 4 1/2 and 14 months and yes, having them play with their counterparts is often times much better than bouncing off the walls at home, alone or with Mom/Dad. Read the following tips/pointers to get repeat invites to meet at the park or get invited to regular playdates!
From another perspective, if you host playdates at your home and sometimes wish that one kid wouldn’t come? Have you been to the park/playground and given a mean look to the parents who are chatting away or reading a book/magazine and NOT watching their kid(s), who are inconsiderate like their parents? Well, I can say YES to the above and many other situations…
When I read the article from AmericanBaby.Com, it prompted me to create this blog post and share some of my playground and playdate guidelines.
Watch your child, especially if he/she is the biggest kid there or you “know” (be honest) he/she is aggressive or oblivious of other kids! This is a public facility and not a drop-off service!
Do not allow your child to monopolize any equipment at the playground when there are others waiting (ie. swing, see-saw).
Have your child practice common courtesy – wait their turn, no cutting/pushing in line for the monkey bars, slide, etc.
- Although playdates are a nice time to catch-up with other parents, PLEASE keep an eye on your child, especially when there are either unsafe equipment (i.e. exercise machines, boxes etc.) or worse, staircases nearby.
- You may be in the midst or “training” your child how to eat on their own, or you may be used to letting junior walk around with food spewing out of their hand or mouth, but in the case of attending a playdate — I suggest keeping the training at home, when in someone else’s house either feed your child yourself or sit your child down to minimize crumb/spill scatter. True story – we hosted a playdate when Julia was a young toddler, there were 5-6 others kids over and one mom asked if she could give her daughter fruits and cheese on the hardwood floor – we said “No, please use a plate” and the mom still put cantaloupe and cheese on the floor! Ugghhhh! Grrrrr!
- If junior or your princess is getting tired and starting to be disruptive, take him/her out of the room and settle him/her down, otherwise, it may be time to leave. If you’ve been anywhere where a group of kids are together, one strong emotional child can really lead to a landslide of fussy from the group.
- As the host, if there are a couple of toys that are “special” to your child(ren), it’s best to put them away so there is no dispute and tears over them. I consider this proactive and preventative and believe it’s okay for my daughter to have a few things that are special to her and she doesn’t want to, but she understands that all other toys are to be shared during the playdate.
- At least try to help clean up before you go — whether putting back a couple of toys that your child played with, or putting plates or glasses in the kitchen, throwing your napkins/tissues/crumbs away in the garbage can – it shows some consideration to your host – a playdate is not a party.
- Reciprocate and take turns hosting playdates – if you have a good group of parents and kids that all get along well, share the effort in hosting. If your apartment/condo/house is really too small, plan a playdate in your yard or at the park, but make the effort to coordinate and “host” it. Fair is fair.
- Lastly, but definitely not the least, do not bring your child if you even remotely think that he/she is sick. We’ve had playdates at our house in the past and a small runny nose from one child caused a mini-epidemic of the cold that spread to everyone else. I know its hard for stay-at-home parents to be cooped up, but its hard for everyone else too. At least inform the host/other parents about the sniffles and see if they still want to run the risk of the kids getting the germs.
The above is definitely not all-inclusive…but what come to the top of my list at this moment. The article below provides some further pointers to remember whether you are hosting or attending. The bottom line is, please treat others as you (or your home) want to be treated!
Make your baby’s play dates fun and positive experiences!
By Deborah J. Waldman
Play dates are a great way for kids to work on building their relationships, but it’s important to keep a few things in mind when planning one, according to Tovah Klein, PhD, director of the Barnard Center for Toddler Development in New York City:
1. Three’s a crowd. Toddlers do best in pairs, notes Dr. Klein. They don’t interact as threesomes or foursomes, so it’s easier to invite one child at a time.
2. Less is more. One hour is a good length for a play date for kids under 2. If you sense your child is miserable — if he’s tired, overwhelmed, or not feeling well — end it early.
3. Keep it friendly. Make the play date with someone your child likes, not someone who happens to be convenient, such as your best friend’s daughter.
4. Take a snack break. When kids run out of steam or get too wild, shift gears by offering a healthy snack of fruit or cheese.
5. Plan ahead. To cut down on toy disputes, think of projects that encourage side-by-side play, such as racing toy cars, running through a sprinkler, or drawing with sidewalk chalk.
6. Don’t overdo it. If your child is more aggressive than usual, cries, or doesn’t seem happy to have a play date, he may be saying, “This is too much for me.” We tend to think kids are better off with lots of friends, but they really don’t need to be with other kids all the time.
- Handling Bad Play Dates: Rough Kids, Biting, Fighting, and More (webmd.com)
- Playdate tips to keep toddlers and preschoolers happy and busy (mamasbagoftricks.blogspot.com)
- Tips to Adjust a Kid’s Attitude (declutterorganizerepurpose.wordpress.com)
- 5 Ways to Improve Social Skills in Children With ADD/ADHD (everydayhealth.com)
- Just-Right Discipline… (declutterorganizerepurpose.wordpress.com)