Have you ever thought about hosting a playdate, but are too scared or don’t have the energy to host one? Or maybe you have hosted one, but it didn’t go according to plan. I have experience all of the above. Hosting a playdate can be stressful especially if you are not fully prepared. The thought of having more kids come to your house can be a little overwhelming.
Why are playdates important?
Playdates can be really great experiences and learning tools for your kids. By being around other kids your child will learn how to interact with other kids appropriately. Learning to share, communicate, take turns, be respectful, and follow others rules. Playdates can be fun for the parents too! Spending time with other adults can be a luxury at times. It is also a great time to share stories and swap advice.
Over the years, through trial and error and some bad playdates, I have come up with some tips and tricks to make for a successful playdate. It is mostly about covering all of your bases and being prepared for any situation.
The most important part of hosting a successful playdate it to know how you are going to keep the kids entertained. Toys alone will probably not be enough. Before long the kids will be bored with the toys and they will probably start getting crazy or maybe even ask to leave. We all know that when kids are bored they start causing trouble or get into things they shouldn’t. All of these scenarios can be avoided if you set up a game plan. Plan out activities that are fun and age appropriate for the little ones and will keep them interested for a period of time.
- Draw pictures
- Make puzzles
- Paint rocks
- Bake cookies/ decorate cookies
- Build a fort
- Play a game (hot potato, hide and seek)
- Scavenger hunt
- Play dress up
- Craft project
- Blow bubbles
- Draw with chalk
- Obstacle course
- Play ball
- Water balloons, squirt guns
- Scavenger hunt
- Jump rope
- Hula hoop
If you are planning a lunch playdate then have the food ready when they arrive. Choose food that is easy to eat and will appeal to most kids. Chicken nuggets, sandwiches, or frozen pizza are my go tos. I like to serve them with a side of fruit. You can always check with the parent to see what their child likes to eat or if they have any food allergies.
All of the playing can make the kids hungry so be prepared to have plenty of snacks. A great idea that has worked for me is to set up a snack bar on your counter or table. Be sure that the kids can easily access it when they are in need of a little snack. I like to put out a variety of snacks such as cheese and crackers, fruit, nuts, pretzels, baby carrots and juice.
Remove Problem Toys
Before your playdate arrives remove any toys that you foresee a problem with. I like to put away all of the electronics or any toys with a lot of small pieces that can get lost easily. You should also ask your child if there are toys that they don’t feel comfortable sharing. There may be toys that are special to them that you want to put in a safe place. By putting away certain toys you will avoid some of the sharing issues that may happen later.
Discuss with your child the rules that are in place when their friends come to the house and be sure to enforce them. If there are areas of the house that are off limits or things that are not supposed to be played with make sure to let all of the kids know. Let them know if you are going to be playing outside or staying indoors. If your child is clear about the rules then they can be sure to follow them and you will avoid some of the tantrums.
I hope this post has been helpful to you so you can start planning your next playdate. My kids and I really enjoy playdates and hopefully you will too. Follow this advice and your playdate will be smooth sailing! Comment if there are any ideas I didn’t mention. I’d love to hear your tips and tricks for hosting a successful playdate.