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What is a Play Date? How Does a Play Date Work?

Play dates are known to be the most effective element for your kids to make them more outgoing & expressive. Parents often feel passionate about arranging a play date not only to maintain the level of friendships but also to keep them away from any harm. But one question always remains there, how does a play date work?

Believe it or not, kids love to hang out with their buddies, no matter how much you spend your time with them. Besides, as a parent, you need a break too! And if play dates work according to the set plan, it will be a blast for everyone, a good one, might I add.

Play dates are necessary for your kids’ growth. Play dates help them focus on their communication skills. Though it is not a requisite for kids, but they need it to thrive in today’s world.

The most important thing is play dates should include lots of fun activities. Also, it works in both ways. It can be arranged in such a way that both the kids and parents enjoy it at the same time. It is up to parents whether they want to go to their kid’s friend’s house or invite them over. It’s totally up to them how they plan to work on play dates.

Related Article: 10 Smart Parenting Hacks To Ease Your Parenting Journey

Now, the crucial part, is how does a play date work?

1. Listen to your kid(s):

Two kids reading & writing at their play date

Before planning or visiting any play dates, make sure you listen to your kids. Pay attention if your kid mentions anyone’s name all the time and asks you to visit them. Ask your kid if s/he would like that friend over to your house for a play date. Or if there’s anyone in the class that your kid wants to invite to the supposed playdate. Also, you can ask your kid’s teacher if your kid is more interested in talking to anyone from his/her friends. That’s how you start working on play dates.

2. Plan Ahead

Guest list preparation

Before jumping on and starting to work on play dates, make sure you have contacted the kids’ parents. It will give hosting parents an idea of what things are off-limits for the guest kids. It could be no television, no computer, etc. Planning and working on play dates to be a success is not as hard as it appears to be.

3. Keep it close-knit

Two kids playing with each other at play date

If any parent is working on arranging a first play date ever, it is better to host a one-on-one initially. It will make the play date quiet and help the kids play independently without quarrels. Once you get the hang of how the play date works, you can invite more kids to play dates. But keep in mind that more children mean more involvement.

4. Make your presence known, but do not ruin their fun

A mother is playing with her kid.

Parents tend to worry about their kids. More so when they are still kids and finding their way in the world. While inviting the guest kid to play dates, try to engage with them, making cordial contact before letting them play. Help everyone when they need your help, like setting up a toy or game, etc. Be present when they need you, but don’t stay there longer.  

5. Are they fighting? Let them resolve their issue

A kid posing as a boxer.

It is undeniable that wherever kids play, there will be some sort of dispute among them. Unless it’s physical, try not to indulge in their quarrel and let them resolve their issues. But if it escalates to the next level, it’s time to intrude and explain the consequences of their harsh behavior in the future. Play dates are fun, but sometimes it requires more from the host than a pleasant greeting.  

6. Offering age-appropriate playthings

Kids enjoying fun-filled activity.

First and foremost, give a thought to what kind of toys or playthings your kid or guest kids might like to play with. And if there is anything your kid doesn’t want to share, keep it away from the eyesight of other kids during play dates. Also, if any kid wants to bring their toy or other things to play with, let them. But make sure that you know what they bring with them on play dates, so it becomes easier for you to return them without much hassle.

7. Do not plan on overstaying

A mother is holding her child

It is the universal rule in play dates that the smaller the kid, the briefer their play date is. For babies and toddlers, an hour is an ideal timeframe. Whereas, for preschoolers, two to three hours are best for them to enjoy their play dates. 

8. Try to be the best guest

A mother with her kids. Picture courtesy to Google

If your kid is a part of a social circle of his/her age, you might receive an invite to the play dates once in a while. In such a situation, try to pick up or drop off your kid on time. Offer to fetch some snacks to the hosting parents, just in case your kid is a fussy eater. At the end of the play dates, make sure your kid thanks the hosting parent & kid for their generosity.

9. Become a perfect host for play date kids

A mother is playing her daughter

When it’s your turn to host a play date, make sure to get the contact information of the kids’ parents/guardians in case of emergencies. Also, do ensure whether guest kids have any health issues or allergies.

10. Perfect play date treats for kids

Kids enjoying picnic at their play date

What will be a perfect play date without a perfect treat for kids? Play dates will become fun only when the hosting party offers the kids some goodies they relish and enjoy. That’s why it’s imperative to know allergies and health concerns before working on play dates at your home.

11. Introducing the end of their play dates

A kid is cleaning his room after the end of play date

Around 15 minutes before any play date is planned to end, tell all the kids that it’s time to clean up. Though they will not clean the ground, they will learn how to clean and tidy up the space. 

Final Words:

Play dates are undoubtedly the best source for your kids to work on their communication skills, time management, cleanliness, and other things. But at the end of the day, it’s just a play date. If instead of enjoying the play date, you (as a parent) receive a massive headache, then it’s better never to repeat it. However, if you relish the experience and are content with your kid’s behavior, then it’s certainly time to work on the next play date. And if you are dealing with the dilemma of making your kids happy and pleased with studies and extra-curricular activities, apart from playdates, you can visit PiggyRide. The website offers kids and parents an extensive set of skills and learning experiences that will help everyone to expand their knowledge.

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Shireen Ansari

Hello Folks!
My name is Shireen. I work as a content writer at Piggy Ride. I completed MA in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Lucknow. I am a passionate writer and an avid reader.

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