Blame it on air pollution, increasing safety risks, busy parents taking kids out to the park has become a rarity these days. But socializing with their peer group is an important part of their development. So, we as mothers love having playdates for the kids. If the playdate is hosted by someone else, we are more than happy to be a part of it. But when it is your turn to host one, don’t get all stressed up.
Here’s a list of playdate do’s and don’ts that will make you a playdate pro who is always willing to open her doors to other kids and parents:
Have a pre-decided start and end time: Having a set time helps you plan better for the event. An hour to 2 hours is ideal. Beyond that, you are likely to be having a tough time separating squabbling kids.
Have a limited number of children: Try to limit the number of kids to 5 to 7. If your kid is popular and wants to invite many friends, you might want to explore having one in a nearby park instead of your home.
Keep the snacks simple: If you spend all your time fretting in the kitchen, the objective of a playdate is not met. Keep snacks simple: fries, fruits, juice, cookies is more than enough. Have the same snacks for adults and kids with an additional coffee/tea for adults.
Have a small first aid kit handy: With so many kids playing together, one or the other child getting hurt is not unlikely. Keeping some antiseptic liquid, cotton and band-aid handy will save you the stress of having to search for it in case a child is hurt.
Every child gets a toy from home: Even though you feel your kid has too many toys, you might not have appropriate ones to suit 10 kids. So, it is a good idea to ask each child to bring along one toy. It also teaches them the value of sharing.
Confine your guests to a few areas: A playdate is certainly not an open house for potential buyers. So, don’t stress yourself out with cleaning the entire house. The playroom, washroom and kitchen are about the areas that will be needed. So keep these neat and tidy and keep the remaining rooms closed. This way you will have less to clean up before and after the playdate.
Keep the pets out: At a playdate, you will have curious kids who will want to experiment with your dog by pulling his tail/ears. And there will be others who will be scared of pets. Save the trouble to your pet and to sceptic kids by keeping the pet in another room while the playdate is on.
Prepare your child: Use the opportunity to prepare your child to be a good host. Do a role play with him where you are the guest and he is the host. This will help him be better prepared to share his belongings without feeling hurt.
Plan for multi-age groups: If you have kids across ages coming over, it is better to have segregated playing space for each age group. The parents will also be comfortable that their 6-month-old will not be trampled by a 6-year-old.
Plan for a few structured games/activities: Free play is excellent for kids. However, sometimes with seven kids screaming for their say, it is good to have a few planned games/activities to help them all focus in one direction.
A playdate is not only time for kids to bond, but also your chance to connect with mothers. It’s your date too, so sit back and have fun!
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