Playdates are a lifeline for many parents, giving children the opportunity to play with peers and adults a chance to socialize in a relaxed way while their children are occupied. As a parent, it is likely you have experienced playdates of all sorts. And, as with all events, some of them were probably wonderful while others went poorly. There is no doubt that there is a formula for how to plan a playdate. This is not to say that each one must be the same, but simply that the host should put thought into what would work and how best to facilitate an enjoyable time. Here are the key components to consider the next time you’re inviting tiny tots to play.
Structured vs Unstructured
You may have a very specific type of playdate in mind. Perhaps you are inviting friends and their children over to bake Christmas cookies, go swimming, or create an art project. If this is true, be sure to make these expectations clear to everyone you invite so that they can prepare their own children and bring any supplies you might require. On the other hand, you may be hoping for a relaxed, unstructured playdate. If the playdate is in your home, be sure to only leave toys out if they are okay for everyone to play with. Similarly, close doors or put up gates to any rooms that should remain off-limits. If every available area and toy is fair game, children will have a much easier time playing and you will be able to relax and host the adults without anxiety.
Many playdates take place in homes. If you plan to host in your home, be prepared for small children to explore any room they can access. Also, prepare your own children for the need to share and be polite to the best of their ability. If your children would benefit, come up with a plan in case the playdate becomes too overwhelming. Perhaps they can spend some time in a quiet space like your room until they are ready to rejoin the fun. If your house is unavailable for hosting, there are plenty of other options. Greenville is full of parks and other public spaces that work very well for playdates on warmer days. Alternatively, if your guests don’t mind a small cost, you could all meet at the Greenville Zoo, The Children’s Museum of the Upstate, or Big Air Trampoline Park.
Playdates definitely don’t need to include snacks. However, a small bite to eat will probably help children play longer in peace. Also, after all the running around they’ll be doing, they’ll likely work up an appetite! Be sure to check with all of your guests regarding food allergies or other food concerns. Also, if the timing of your playdate is near a meal, be sure to communicate if you will be providing food or you expect your guests to bring something with them.
Don’t Forget the Parents
When you plan a playdate for small children, much of your focus will be on ensuring that the kids in attendance have a blast. But, in your desire to create a play-topia, don’t forget your fellow parents! No attendee will expect you to provide anything big, but making sure that there’s plenty of seating and offering something to drink will go a long way toward making your guests comfortable. This time of year, having hot tea, coffee, or warm apple cider on hand is a hospitable gesture.
You may feel intimidated as you plan a playdate, but take heart that your guests will be grateful for the invitation. No one expects a pristine home or gourmet snacks. Instead, focus on being friendly, welcoming, and kind, and you will put your guests at ease. When in doubt, invite people anyway. The chance to develop relationships is most important. Are you looking for a childcare facility that emphasizes community togetherness? Consider Legacy Academy Greenville. For more information, call or visit today.