Play dates are a great tool for young families because they help forge friendships and strengthen social skills like co-operation and empathy. Children can gain exposure to different family cultures, values, foods and traditions. Here are a few tips for organizing a successful play date for your child:
- Ask your child and their educator who your child plays with most. Educators see the emerging friendships first hand and may be able to help suggest a friend for a play date.
- Keep it simple. You don’t need to plan an elaborate schedule of events and activities. Usually, your child simply wants time to play together with a friend in a familiar setting.
- Allow uninterrupted time for play so the children can practice their friendship and socialization skills. Give them time to engage in their own play ideas and let their imaginations take over.
- Make the visiting child feel welcome. Go over the rules (where the children can play, what they can play with etc.) but do not hover.
- Keep it short. You do not need to have a friend over for an entire day. A couple of hours should be enough time for a play. You can always organize a future play date if it went really well.
Naomi Pelss is a wife and mother of four children ages 12, 10, 7 and 1. Naomi is the manager of a child care centre, and has been a registered Early Childhood Educator for almost twenty years. She blogs about her parenting journey at www.morewithfourblog.com.