Arranging Play Dates

If you’re a stay at home mom, then you know the importance of allowing your kids to have social interaction with other children. Preschoolers need to have friends around their same age to learn how to play with others (and siblings do not count- though they are your child’s first best friend). Arranging play dates can be a little intimidating, especially if you live in an area where you don’t know many people. Here is a guide on how you can connect with other moms and set up dates for you children to play together.Kids playing

Play dates can be advantageous for everyone. For kids it gives them an opportunity to make new friends and gain social skills. For parents, it can give you a much needed break to have some you time. Here are some ways you can try to arrange a play date for your child.

Social Media
Thanks to social media people are able to stay connected with one another. Likewise, it can be a great way to meet new moms. Search for and join local parenting groups in your area. Get to know other members and set up a time that’s good for both of you to meet at a public location such as the park. Believe it or not, I’ve actually made friends with other moms I’ve bought second-hand items from that they posted on resale pages. This way you can get to really know the other parent and your kids can become familiar with each other before the first ‘official’ play date.

At Public Events
If you regularly attend church, social gatherings, or other events in your town, make an effort to meet people. Go to the park on regular occasions to allow your child to meet new friends. After a few greetings and casual conversations you can exchange numbers and discuss arranging play dates for your children to get to know each other.

Play Date Rules

Once you have broken the ice and agreed to make play dates with another child, there are a few rules you should keep in mind to ensure things run smoothly. Not every child will get along and this goes for parents too. Try to stay open minded and follow these guidelines.

1. Keep the guests to a minimum for children under 3. Toddlers can easily become overwhelmed or intimidated when more kids are around and this can also spell trouble for the play date. It’s ideal to stick to one-on-ones and then gradually move up to 2 or 3 friends as your child gets older.

2. Be a good host to your guests. Offer snacks and fun activities for the kids to do. Always check with the other child’s parents about food allergies or anything they are not allowed to have. Also plan to have things that the kids can do to keep them busy such as coloring, play dough, or outdoor activities.

3. Take turns with the other mom. No one wants to be the babysitter every single time so alternate the play dates so that you and other parents are taking turns to give the other a break.

4. Give kids a chance. Sometimes play dates don’t always go as planned. A child can be having an off-day. If your child and the other don’t quite click on the first date, give it another try. A good rule of thumb is 3 strikes and you’re out. If after 3 play dates they still don’t seem to be getting along together then it’s time to move on. You can be polite by telling the other mom you’re really busy at the moment and not sure when would be a good time to schedule another play date.

5. Don’t drop off siblings or extra guests. It can be really tempting to leave your other children with the mom for a play date if you have errands to run, but consider how the other mom might feel about this. Would you appreciate someone dropping off extra kids unexpectedly? Consider finding a babysitter or ask the other parent ahead of time if it’s alright. Just don’t make a habit of doing it.

Arranging play dates is a great way for kids to make their first friends outside of siblings and cousins. Once they start school, they’ll likely make new friends and the play dates may become fewer and far between. Stay connected with parents, especially if your children get along really well with each other. Hopefully these guidelines can help you towards arranging successful play dates with other kids.

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