Children learn as they grow up, and one of the most exciting ways they do this is when they are exposed to various stimuli. This is why most pediatricians recommend bringing children to playdates as a way to introduce them to enrichment activities.
Playdates are great in developing a child’s sense of personal identity. It’s also good for learning the different dynamics of friendship while sharpening other faculties, such as communication skills. Here are some tips to help you prepare for your child’s playdate:
Prepare Your Child
Your child will enjoy the playdate if they are full of energy. Make sure they get a much-needed nap time before the scheduled gathering. Feed them a light meal for at least an hour so they will have enough time to digest their food before they run around.
If the playdate is in your house, check the play area and see to it that it’s safe for all. Prepare an accessible hand sanitiser and wet wipes in case kids get any dirt. Remove anything that shouldn’t be touchable to kids.
Have Variety of Toys
Make it easier for the children to share by providing them with different types of toys. It may be hard to control toddlers tugging away toys from each other when they only have a few that will get their attention. Also, check if the toys are safe for everyone. Clean or wash them before placing them in the play area.
Kids have tons of energy, but they’ll get hungry after a few hours of play. Keep them happy by preparing them light snacks they can share. Refrain from having any heavy snacks to prevent them from having a stomach ache. Check if your guests have any allergies so you can plan on what to offer for snacks.
Allow Kids to Familiarise
Once you notice that your child is warming up to their new playmate, it’s time to step back and watch them from afar. Let the children play and engage in some squabble as long as no one is getting hurt. This will help your child develop a sense of independence, particularly when it comes to resolving disagreements with other people.
Introduce Variety of Friends
While it’s okay to have your child become familiar with a few friends, it will also be good for them to broaden their range of friendships. If your child has been playing with three-year-olds, why not introduce them to five-year-olds? This way, your child will have more avenues for learning from an older child. It’s still important to supervise as necessary, as some older children will have a rougher concept of play compared to younger ones.
Give a Heads Up
If the playdate is about to wrap up, give your child a heads up. Let them know it’s almost time to clean up and pack away the toys. Start the process at least 10 minutes before it’s scheduled to end. While it would be good practice for them to let them clean up on their own, you’d still want to help them. One good way to encourage them is to turn the clean-up into a game.
Evaluate and Improve
Ask your child what they enjoyed about the playdate and what activities they would want for the next one. Try to introduce a variety of activities so children will have more to look forward to.
Playdates are always fun for kids, but you can also make it interesting for everyone if they can plan it with other parents.