Your little ones should learn how to socialize at an early age. Interaction with other children helps them understand how to communicate, share, empathize and work together. Set up a playdate that will excite the kids and keep the parents happy, too. Here are some tips on how to host the perfect playdate:
Find a Friend
If your children aren’t in school yet, set up a playdate for them and a playmate around their same age. Call a friend or acquaintance who has a little one who is no more than a sixth month age difference from your children. Talk with the parents about what their child likes to do, so you can make sure you have the right toys and can plan fun activities all the children will enjoy.
If your children are school-aged, let them choose a friend they’d like to have over. If you don’t know the parents, give them a call and discuss the playdate. Ask if their child has any behavioral tendencies, medical conditions or food allergies. Also, if they can attend the playdate, encourage them to do so. This gives you an opportunity to make new friends, too.
Set the Location
Keep the location of the playdate simple. It should be kid friendly and in an area that isn’t too hectic. The ideal playdate spot is your house, as it has easy access to toys, food, first aid and a bathroom. Plus, the kids can roam around with more freedom since they aren’t in public.
If it is a beautiful day and it seems silly to be cooped up inside, venture out of the house. Take the kids to the beach or a park. Make sure you bring along some extra toys and snack provisions, so they can stay entertained and maintain their stamina.
Plan an Activity
Tailor the activity options to the personalities of the kids. If they are artistic, set up a craft station where they can make a creative masterpiece. If they are into the sciences, let them indulge in some exploratory experiments.
Stay away from screen-based entertainment if you can. While screens are popular with your kids, it is good for them to take a break when they are socializing. If the two kids have bonded over their love of video games or a TV show, however, you can bend the screen rule a bit. Just make sure you check in with the other parents about their media and screen rules.
As the playdate supervisor, it is your job to ensure the kids are safe and happy. Take some safety precautions into account. Your first aid kit should be fully stocked and you should remove any hazardous items that are out in the open (i.e. pruning shears, knives, tools). Keep the kids safe from the sun’s harmful UVB rays with a patio umbrella. Have healthy snacks available for the kids. Check out some easy recipe ideas on The Food Network’s website.