This article is part of a series produced for Belo Baby Talc-free Powder.
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Playdates mean so much more than just pinning down a date, time, and place for a bunch of kids. If you ask mom blogger Patty Laurel-Filart, playdates are also amazing opportunities for fostering social interaction and values formation among kids. Says Patty, "Playdates teach our kids to be considerate of other people's needs and feelings, how to wait for their turn, how to share, how to identify with people with different backgrounds and personalities, and so on. It's also a great way for kids to learn new cognitive concepts—and even get some exercise, too!"
For Patty's toddler son, Theo, playdates also serve as "practice" for his interaction with the outside world. Here, Patty shares some tips on planning, handling, and hosting playdates—and how to make sure they're worth everybody's while.
Know what playdates should be
"Playdates should feel relaxed, comfortable and natural. Your child as well as other children in the group should feel like they can be themselves at playdates," explains Patty. So choose a time, venue and group that will make the children feel most comfortable.
Create learning opportunities
Plan activities that encourage working as a team, so they also learn how to be patient and considerate of others. It's up to the moms and adults at the playdate to set the example. "It may sound silly to expect this of a one-year-old, for example, but I think they are capable of learning these values early on, especially if we just model it carefully for them every day," Patty relates.
As both host and guest, flexibility is key especially when dealing with little children and their parents. "Being too rigid and having high standards might only rob you of the joy of having simple and meaningful interaction with other families, so be open-minded and welcoming of all the differences that come into play," says Patty.
Pack the essentials
Be ready with diapers, extra clothes, baby wipes, books, and toys. Patty suggests you pack healthy snacks for your child, and snacks to share. (Light and healthy snacks are always encouraged, so they are properly nourished while playing.) "Playdates are perfect venues to encourage the concept of sharing and considering others. And it could all start with your toddlers sharing toys and food with their peers," she adds.
Dress your child in comfortable clothes that are not too tight so they can move about freely. Make sure to use only gentle and all-natural products for your child just like Belo Baby Talc-free Powder.
Belo Baby Talc-free Powder is made of certified natural rice and maize to keep your child's skin soft, fresh and dry. Right before you head out, you can also spritz on Belo Baby Cologne—in Cool Drizzle, Happy Tickle, and Sweet Snuggle scents—to make sure your child smells fresh the whole day. Pack a bottle in your bag, too!
Find a whole range of baby-friendly products from the Belo Baby Line here.