How to Host a Playdate
The two types of playdate
There are two types of play date.
- Play dates where the parents are friends and the kids are forced to forge a friendship.
- The other type is where the kids are friends and the parents are secondary to the interaction. You will know the difference because in the second scenario you’ll be referred to as “ben’s dad” or “bob’s mom”.
This post is about how to handle the second type of play date, the ‘hi, nice to meet you, welcome into my home stranger, please let this work and be fun.’
The Playdate where its your child’s friend
We have only just entered the foray of the second scenario. I personally had NO clue what to do.
I’m still fumbling through it like a over-attentive waitress. forcing things at the kids and then tidying up immediately in case the parent I’ve just met thinks I’m useless or messy.
Our first experience was not good
The first taste we had of this was when my son was 18 months old and he had his eyes on this little girl he liked. The playdate ended with my son dropping his nappy. I didn’t know he could take his nappy off. He proudly showed the little girl who was visiting and her shocked mom his private parts. I was mortified!!
It then got worse!
My son then made a break from my grasp and ran out to our garden. He found the people painting our house and showed them how he’d learnt to wee standing up.
We didn’t have another play date for a very very long time.
We’re back in the Playdate Game
So now I’m back in the game. Somehow I won the lottery and have been invited to other mom’s houses for the play date. This is fantastic. This way I got to see what they do and how they manage the situation.
I’m also embarrassed to admit (for those of you reading this who know me) that I also siddled up to my son’s day care teacher one day and whispered ‘I’ve been invited to a play date what do I do? Do I go, do I drop and run, do I take something’. She laughed at me and made a few suggestions, I’ll include these below.
What I’ve learnt about play dates for pre-schoolers
- For the first playdate you go with. I did not know this 🙂
- Mornings are best. If you schedule a playdate for the afternoon you will find the kids are too worn out from the excitement of waiting for the playdate.
- If you don’t know the mum at all maybe meet at a park. This way the kids have the option to play or not play depending on their moods. You also won’t feel motified if they ignore each other for a bit.
- Healthy snacks are generally available – fruit, crackers, yoghurt, muffins. Best not to offer chips and sodas 🙂 Not that you would.
- Have one thing that you know will take up some time. Maybe set up play-doh, drawing, swimming, a car track or cup cake decorating.
- If it’s over lunch make sure you know what the child can or cannot eat.
- If parking near your place is confusing explain it to the mom coming.
- I always take something for the mom or the kids but that’s just me.
- Take some pics to commemorate and then swap with the other mom.
- The TV isn’t on at first 🙂 some moms do have music on though.
- Have a place in mind where you can sit and chat to the mom but still have the kids playing. It’ll make it easier to connect to the mom and keep an eye on the kids.
- Don’t feel bad if the kids have a few moments where they decide they hate each other – it’ll pass and they’ll be mates again soon.