Anyone who has spent time around children knows that drama is sure to happen at some point in one way or another. Try these tips for a happy, drama-free playdates.
1. Time It Right
Avoid drama by planning playdates when kids are more likely to be well-rested. Playing after other activities or before meal or nap time can result in cranky little timebombs, just counting down the seconds until they explode in an arsenal of tantrums. Read more here.
2. Review the Rules
Before meeting with playdate friends, review the rules of being a host or a guest. Remind your child what it looks/sounds/feels like to share, compromise, listen to others, speak kindly, and follow rules.
3. Non-Competitive Activities
Competition can teach children many valuable lessons for life, but playdates may not be the best scenario for learning these lessons. Clear free of drama by planning non-competitive activities for playdates such as baking, crafts, or even playing house.
4. Oversee Play Time
Giving children space to play alone encourages them to learn to get along and work out disagreements on their own. However, by checking in on playdates every 10-15 minutes, young children know you are near and present if needed. Furthermore, during these brief check-ins, provide positive feedback for children, letting them know what they’re doing right as they play together cooperatively. More details here.
5. Manage Meltdowns
If with you overseeing activities by checking in often, arguments will likely occur. Before rushing in, give children a few minutes to try to work things out on their own. However, if play friends are showing no sign of compromising, manage meltdowns by calmly getting involved. Parents.com shares more about how to intervene with playdates get a bit heated.
6. Meet At the Park
Avoid drama with toys and electronics at home by arranging playdates at the park. Playing outside will encourage active imagination, exercise, and even promotes problem solving skills. For park activities and other playdate ideas, visit What Mommy Does.
7. Avoid Parties of Three
No one likes to be the third wheel, and, let’s face it, they’re kind of inevitable with groups of three. Keep group sizes even in number whenever possible to avoid the drama of someone being left out.
8. Feed Your Child Before
To avoid some potential meltdowns, plan playdates after everyone is fed. Not only will kids be less cranky from the get-go, but you’ll also avoid issues such as food intolerances/allergies and picky eaters. Creative Child shares more suggestions here.
9. Keep Pets Away
On the day of playdates, keep pets away from new curious little faces and hands. Even the mildest, calmest pets can get scared and snap out at grabby hands. Protect your pet and your playdate friends by taking the precaution to keep Fido away from the kids.