Play dates are fun, but can go wrong without proper planning. Here are some quick tips to ensure a great time for both kids and families.
Meet at a mutual location.
The first play date should happen at a place where the kids can get to know each other well and not feel like one kid has more rights than the other.
Can Jacob come too?
Don’t assume that its okay for your other child to join the play date. It’s really important that you don’t push this on the other parent or the other child. This puts everyone in an uncomfortable position. Some kids might say its okay only to find out later that it really doesn’t work for them. As time goes on, children will naturally invite others if they want to play with them.
Always ask the other parent about their overnight policy.
If you want another child to spend the night over at your house, never ask, “Can Justin spend the night?” It’s off-putting and puts the other parent on the spot. Approach the other parent openly by asking them about their overnight policy. This leaves room for the parent to tell you that their child is not allowed to spend the night at anyone else’s house, without them feeling to bad about the situation.
Ask the parent about their food and Television/Movie policy.
When your kid comes home and tells you that they had a great time because they got to watch the latest R-rated movie with lots of snacking on foods that you don’t ever allow your child to eat, it might feel like fumes have started smoking from your heard. Be sure to always ask the other parent about movies or cartoons that they may watch on the play date. Spongebob, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody or Hannah Montana might not be okay for some families.
Play dates aren’t for parents.
I’ve seen parents use play dates as a way to declare that they are the “best” parent in the whole wide world. Be sure to keep play dates about kids. Don’t plan anything to extravagant; let the children play and keep it authentic. When you do this, it manipulates the situation and the other kid only wants to come over for the ‘cool’ things you are doing as oppose to genuinely connecting with your child and playing together.
Remember to have Fun!
Next week I’ll be talking about When Play Dates Go Wrong.