5 Ways To Have a Great Playdate, Because It Shouldn’t End In Tears

Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash

The goal of any playdate is the same: you want your kids to have fun. And hey, if you and the other mom have fun, too, the better. Still, so many things can go wrong during a playdate that can cause your child (or you) to wind up in tears. There could be a thousand toys on the floor, but inevitably your child will want to fight to the death for the one naked Barbie in the corner. Or your child refuses to share. That’s why you need to know how to have a great playdate, so that it doesn’t end in tears. These 5 tips can help you teach your little one how to be an awesome host — and have a fun playdate, too.

Watch The Clock.

How long (or more to the point, how short) your child’s playdate is will largely depend on her age. For younger children, a get together shouldn’t last more than an hour or two. Anything longer than that and you’re running the risk for a meltdown. So make sure that you schedule the playdate for when your child is well-rested, so that playtime won’t clash with a nap.

Give A Warning.

Imagine that you’re having a great time with your bestie when all of a sudden someone wants to yank you away and take you home. Not much fun, huh? Well, the same holds true for your child. Even though the playdate has to end at some point, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to your kiddo that you want to leave right now. So you should offer reminders of when you’re going to leave. You might say something like, “Okay, we’re leaving in 10 minutes,” and then actually leave in 10. Otherwise, your child won’t understand the concept of time–and more importantly, probably won’t take your timed call-outs seriously.

Emphasize Sharing.

Prior to the playdate, talk to your child about sharing. Explain why it’s good to share, and help her choose toys that she won’t mind having her friend play with. She’ll feel more in control of the situation and (hopefully) more like to want to share her playthings with her play date partner. Any favorite toys, such as loveys, should be put away to avoid a potential problem.

Supply The Snacks.

Kids (and adults, too) can get pretty cranky when they’re hangry. To avoid pangs of hunger during the playdate, have some snacks on hand to ensure that everyone’s bellies are full and happy. If you’re hosting the playdate, speak with the child’s parent to see if there are any allergies to be aware of. And if you’re going to the other person’s house, be sure to bring a snack that will be safe for everyone.

Offer Options.

Kids sure do have short attention spans. That’s why you should have a variety of entertainment options for them. You can have a craft project (or two) that they can enjoy, or invite them into the kitchen to make some slime–and brownies, too. And when you want the kids to be calmer, you can always break out a movie or show for them to watch. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll get to enjoy a few minutes of peace and quiet as well.

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