When you think about hosting a playdate, the word smooth likely doesn’t come to mind, especially if you’ve never hosted one before. Many parents of young children can feel overwhelmed trying to plan the perfect play date to ensure that the children have a happy and safe time and impress on the other child’s parent that you are capable of taking care of their child they’re at your home. Instead of overwhelming yourself and overthinking, arming yourself with a few tips to ensure a fun and safe first play date is all you need to do. Keep reading for the best tips to make this seemingly impossible feat easy.
Eat the Rainbow
Every parent is familiar with picky eating, whether your child went through a phase or is 12 years old and still selective about what they’ll eat, but keeping things simple for the play date while also eating the rainbow is one of the best things you can do. Just like adults, kids need food to keep their energy levels high, so healthy snacks like cut fruit, cheese sticks, crackers or pretzels, and a muffin to satisfy a sweet tooth are all you need. You can quickly curate a child’s version of a charcuterie board filled with fresh produce and style it to look like a literal rainbow.
Music is known for being able to set the tone at backyard barbecues or the most elevated black-tie events, and the same goes for your first play date. There are so many kid-friendly music options that you can blast through Bluetooth speakers to ensure that the children’s mood stays high and that it is a fun play date. You don’t even have to take the time to create a playlist, simply find a station on whatever streaming device you use and put it on repeat, sit back, and relax. Young children love dancing, and utilizing music is another way to take the load off as far as creating activities for the children to enjoy.
Safety is paramount to all caregivers, but when you’re going to have other children over to your home for the first time, it’s a good idea to give your home a once-over look to make sure that anything that could become a hazard for someone else’s child is out of the way. Whether that’s dogs that need to be put in crates, tempting items on high-up shelves that a child that doesn’t live in your home may be drawn to, or any other safety concern like locking gates around pools, the child coming to your home for the play date is not used to your environment and may not know to stay away from things that your child does. Look through the lens of the other parent and correct any potential safety concerns before your play date.
Have Adult Options
Whether you want to call it helicopter parenting or just being a responsible adult, most parents attend the play dates alongside their children, so having adult options for you and the other parent to enjoy is just as important as options for the children. While you may be willing to nosh on the same kid-friendly charcuterie boards you made, having a chilled bottle of wine for the two of you to enjoy and get to know each other better isn’t a bad idea. It’s hard making adult friends, so forming a connection with your child’s friends during a playdate is a great way to potentially make a new friend, and adult options make that easier.
Set Time Frames
Play dates are an important part of childhood development, from learning how to share to even having companionship for only children, but time frames are important for playdates, and they should be stuck to you. When you arrange The playdate, make sure you have a start and end times so your child’s routine isn’t disrupted even though you want them to enjoy themselves. The average play date only lasts for 2 hours which is the perfect amount of time for children to get some energy out and the adults to get to know one another.
There will be other things that you’ll need to consider that are specific to your home size, your family’s lifestyle and the age of the children for the play date, but the above tips will make your first play date that you host run much more seamlessly than if you are going off the cuff. Have fun!