Summertime is a great time for having friends over. We’ve all seen playdates go wrong and end in crying. Hopefully these few tips will help your child have more successful playdates!
Invite one friend per child: If you have one child, invite only one other child. If you have more than one, let each have a friend over. Many children struggle in groups, and uneven groups are difficult for most children.
Make a plan for the difficult times: If your child struggles sharing his toys, prep him ahead of time. Remind him that to be a good friend, he should share; also remind him that his friends share their toys with him when he is at their house.
Don’t make the playdate too long: If history tells you that your child can manage a two hour playdate but not all all-day event, keep playdates to an hour or two. It’s better to end with success than try to stretch it out all day.
Plan structured activities: Allow for some unstructured time, but plan a structured activity mid-playdate. Great activities include: baking, doing an art activity, or playing a game.
Use a variety of scenery: Children may become disinterested in the same environment. Plan part of the playdate inside and part outside- maybe even turn on the sprinkler or do an outside water activity.
After the playdate, allow for downtime: Many children need a break or a chance to unwind after an exciting playdate. Encourage your child to sit with a book or take a rest to reset.