How To Host A Playdate
Playdates are so important for our littles. It gives them the opportunity to socialize and practice all sorts of social skills such as conversation, sharing, patience with another person, and of course, play!
Another added benefit of play dates is that you as a parent are getting the opportunity to observe your child interacting with other children in a safe space. You are also opening up your home to the possibility of both child and adult friendships. Hosting a playdate in your home is a stepping stone to creating and cultivating a hospitable culture for your family, and teaches your child how to welcome others into their space!
Here are some tips on how to host a successful play date!
Invite over your child’s friend and their parent.
When your child makes a new friend, or maybe you meet a new mom that you’re interested in developing a friendship with that has a similar-aged child, invite them over to your house for a playdate! Set a time that is 2-3 hours before both children will need a meal or a nap so that the kids will have plenty of time to play before getting too grumpy.
Set up an area in your house.
An important step is to set up a safe, child-proof area in your house for the kids to play! Inviting people over to your home does not mean that you have to give them free rein over your entire house. The living room, backyard, or your child’s room are great locations for the kids to play. Set out some toys that are conducive to partner or group play, such as dolls, Duplo blocks, Magna tiles, small figures and vehicles (AKA Paw Patrol), play dough, or drawing materials! If you choose to open up your backyard, great backyard play ideas could be a sandbox, water table, playset, balls, trampoline, or chalk!
Snacks are an essential component of a successful play date! It is inevitable that the kiddos will get hungry and need food to fuel their play, so be prepared! It’s never a bad idea to check with the child’s parents beforehand for any allergies. A trick that I’ve learned is to buy a large pack of non-perishable single-serve snacks and juice boxes from Costco to keep on hand for spontaneous play dates! Individual bags of chips, goldfish, fruit snacks, or crackers are great easy snacks that are handy to have around and are free of the most common allergens. Applesauce and yogurt pouches are also great for any age, even babies! Providing coffee, water, and a snack for the parent is another way to make your guests feel welcome!
Supervise and intervene when needed.
You’ve invited your guests, the toys are out, the snacks are prepped, the kids are playing, and the moms are sipping coffee. Now what? Sit back and watch! Your child may surprise you with how well they play with their new friend. There will definitely be moments when they both want the same toy or can’t agree on what to play next. Allow them to try and work it out. If they are still struggling, step in to offer some guidance or language for them. They are still learning how to interact with others, and you as the adult are a helpful tool to help them do that!
Enjoy the community!
Hosting a playdate is not only beneficial for your child, but it’s beneficial for the adults as well! Motherhood is not for the faint of heart, and we shouldn’t do it alone. It is so refreshing to have another mom to talk with about parenting struggles and successes, or even non-parenting topics.
It’s also important to continue to flex your hospitality muscle and welcome others into your home! Hosting a playdate is a special way to build community for your child, yourself, and your family. Use these tips to host your next playdate and bring a few friendships to life!