With the schoolyear almost over, your kids and her friends will need a venue to meet up for play. It's time to set a playdate! But before you do, heed these tips to ensure that the experience will be enjoyable not only for the kids but for the parents as well.
1. Meet the parents. Getting to know the playmate’s folks can help give both sets of parents a sense of security and comfort over the course of the playdate. Establishing a relationship with them will encourage the kids to socialize more, and can give you a firm grasp on the environment your child is in when invited over.
2. Do some fact-finding. Information on allergies to animals or to food, any delicate medical issues, and emergency contact numbers should always be exchanged prior to any playdate.
Helpful Hint: Type up all the kids’ information on cardstock, photocopy, and laminate at the bookstore. It’s a thoughtful and useful “present” to hand over to all playdate moms!
3. Fix your schedule. If your child has found a regular playdate partner, work out a schedule with his parents, perhaps alternating venues between your house and theirs.
4. Set the rules. Whether or not it’s your child’s first playdate, it’s good to brief him on the Dos and Don’ts. Go over the importance of sharing toys, packing things away, and keeping clean and tidy. Talk to your kid about the merits of being a good host or guest - interacting with others presents a wonderful opportunity for him to start learning about good manners.
5. Time it. Playdates sometimes end in tantrums when one child has to go home; other times they run for too long and result in kids getting cranky. Setting an end time to playdates helps kids end things on a high note, and leaves them excited for the next one!