Play dates are integral to a child’s growing up years and as many families take on a smaller unit agenda, these play dates become even more crucial to the child. Organizing play dates is usually the parents job and this is where a mom will need to come in. right from the first step of the play date to the last one, mothers need to put in thought into it all if the interaction is to be a successful one. Remember, children like adults need to spend time with their peers and so it is never a good idea to shelve these play dates are unnecessary.
A few tips on what to keep in mind when organizing play dates for your kids:
- Age bracket – While you need not find the exact aged child as your kid for the play date, still it will help to stick within a year age bracket when organizing the date. Unless your kid is about 7 years plus, it is best to not mix kids much older or younger with your child. If the kids are roughly the same age, their abilities are also more or less the same. They can enjoy each other with equality as opposed to feeling inferior or superior to the friend. This equal footing will give your child the much needed expertise in holding her own once she is grown up.
- Time factor – Toddlers will tire of each other much quicker than a preschooler will and kids in junior school can play all day long. So when organizing the play date you must keep the time factor in mind. Keep the date long enough for he child to have fun and long enough so that she doesn’t tire of it. The time slot should also be one where the child is happy and energetic as opposed to irritable. So steer clear of the nap times and feeding slots especially in the case of a toddler.
- Interests – As kids grow older they develop their own interests. While it is good to have your child mix with all types of kids, it is also important that you organize play dates with other children who share common interests with your child. If your kid is into soccer then another child who enjoys soccer would make a great play date. If you child loves cars and you bring in someone who has a liking for doll- houses, this may not go very smoothly, since they will want to play different games.
While there are no set rules to the play dates, there are a few basics that help tremendously. The basic idea of these arrangements is to inculcate a social sense in the child and teach kids how to interact and play with others in order to enjoy. Be prepared for small fights and maybe even some hitting amongst the kids, since this is bound to happen. However, instead of getting frustrated with these episodes, see them as lessons for the child, who will understand how to tackle these episodes better as they grow up.