Playdates are a treat for kids. It’s exciting for them to share at home or in a special outing with a friend outside of school or the norm. Playdates offer children the opportunity to socialize, practice character skills, relax, try new experiences, and have fun.Playdates for parents can be a whole different story if not guided by the right preparation and consideration of judgement.A playdate can be watchful serenity of observation from a far, or a playdate can be a nightmare experience for all involved.
Truthfully, many of us in reflection to our childhood rarely heard of the term “playdate” because we simply had to play with whoever was closest around. Our chosen playdates mostly encompassed of those who lived in our home like our siblings, neighborhood friends, or our classmates at recess with the exception of church activities. Things have surely changed in parenting. Setting up playdates and attending them is now the “norm” of socialization in American society. Many of us have experienced or witnessed playdate meetings were the parents live almost an hour apart. I am not opposed to playdates at all. I didn’t experience them often as I child. I was kinda stuck with playing baby dolls with my little brother, and he was stuck with me acting as quarterback in playing football! I learned more of the opportunities and was exposed to playdates in our season as homeschoolers. We’ve had some amazing playdates and activities with friends at home. We’ve had some fun playdates visiting others. We have unfortunately had a playdate or two that were not so great in experiencing that everyone would like to forget. We are still open to our children sharing and playing with friends at home or vice versa. We chose as a family to be open minded ,yet we are wiser in our decisions in doing so.
Here are a few things for consideration for playdates:
- If you are hosting the playdate be sure that you have the time, focus, and energy to be of watchful care. Don’t take on the responsibility if you are busy or overwhelmed.
- Be sure to have a good and welcoming rapport with the other parents. It’s important to have a good background on the parents regardless if your child(ren) were invited or you are the hostess for the occasion.
- Pay attention to see how well the children respond in interacting with one another . If you notice any tension or that your child (ren) feels uncomfortable or constantly upset it may not be best to proceed. This protects you and your child from feeling uneasy. Don’t place yourself or child (ren) in a compromising situation.
- Communication is very important. Where is the location ? Are you all sharing as parents in company in watching the children or is one parent sole responsible for watching the children? Does the child(ren) have a special diet or food allergies? Share with one another any medical or behavioral concerns. It’s important to communicate this information. Don’t forget to fully communicate pickup and drop off times.
- Know that it’s okay to set boundaries. There may be certain things that you do or don’t do in exposing with your children that the other parent’s home could contradict with . Politely share any concerns. Make sure that everyone is collectively on the same page.
- Understand that it’s not necessary for you and the other parent to be the best of friends. However, it’s important for you all to show mutual respect, courtesy, and communicate effectively in making the arrangements for the playdate.
- Be sure to share any rules with your children in regards to their expected behavior with friends and guests. Make them equally aware if they are a guest of a friend to be respectful in following directions by the other parents.