Play Date Tips
Play dates are a great way for moms and kids to socialize, so get together with a few of your favorite moms from daycare or music class and arrange for the kids to meet up to play once a week or a few times a month.
Picking the right playmates
Finding a group of kids that your child likes to play with as well as moms that you like can be challenging but don't get discouraged if it takes a few tries before you get it right.
Pick a time when all the kids are usually the happiest and most content. For many kids this is in the morning. A morning play date can also be convenient to accommodate nappers and non nappers.
Every kid loves snacks and having great snacks can help to get the kids comfortable the first couple meetings and can also help to diffuse some of the small squabbles that could arise. Communicate with all the moms to be aware of any food allergies and foods to stay away from as well as get a list from all the moms of the kids' favorite snacks.
To avoid some of the fights put favorite toys away before friends arrive if you are hosting at your house, and if you are the guest try to leave all toys at home or in the car. It's already hard for kids to share and sharing a favorite toy can almost be too much to bear, so just tell your kids the toys are taking a nap while their friends come over to play.
Keep the play date short and sweet, about an hour or two is the perfect amount of time for the kids to play and not get too tired or hungry which could lead to crankiness.
Small is better especially if you plan on hosting at someone's home. About three to four kids is big enough for the kids to socialize but small enough to still be manageable in a home.
Decide upon a usual meeting place like one house or on a rotating schedule of houses. When the weather is nice it can also be fun to take the play dates on the road to the park or local zoo.
Know when to end it
Kids have good days and bad days, if your child is having a bad day while on the play date don't feel bad cutting it short. Remember that this is for the kids and them fighting with other kids and you getting stressed out is not good for anyone and just removing yourselves from the situation is the best thing for everyone.
Kids get sick and plans change but in the age of smart phones it has become increasingly easier to get in touch with people. Have all the numbers stored in your phone to send a quick text if plans change and have email addresses stored to easily exchange details about upcoming play dates.
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