Welcome to Playdate Planet's Playdate Tips! We'd love to hear what you think about the tips we share and if you have some recommendations of your own, send 'em our way and they may become featured items!
Less is More!
Playdates are about fun! They should be fun for the kiddos and a fun break for you. They don't have to be a lot of work to host. Here are two things to keep in mind that should help:
1) Do Less. Children benefit tremendously from unstrutured play so the best thing you can do as a parent is give them as much freedom to direct their own play experience as possible. Sit back, relax and let them play!
2) Leave them wanting more. Especially for younger children, schedule initial playdates for no more than 2 hours until you know that the children can handle a longer play period. If you use the Playdate Planet website, you can enter the start time and end time right in your playdate invite so that everyone is on the same page.
Hide the Jewels!
Avoid problems before they begin. If there are certain toys or other prized possessions that are too special to share, identify them with your child in advance and store them out of sight. Explain to your son or daughter that the visiting child will be his/her guest so you want that guest to feel comfortable. Toys that are visible are fair game and must be shared so hide the jewels!
Cover the Bases!
These days many children come with dietary restrictions, an epi pen, allergies, or other medical conditions. Make sure you know all of this necessary information, and have the parent's contact information, as well as an alternate emergency number, before that child's parent says goodbye at the door. If your home has any unique features such as a pool, trampoline, pets, or guns, it's best to let the parent of your child's friend know about these in advance so you can discuss any concerns she may have or answer any questions. Playdate Planet lets you add pertinent information about your child and home right into your profile to make it simple to always have your bases covered.
Three's a Crowd!
Our experience is that odd numbers are a challenge for playdates. One unlikely child often ends up left out of the fun while the other two take the lead on what the group should do. Until you get to know your child's friends and how they gel together, stick to inviting a single child or expand the group to four. Playdate Planet lets you control the number of guests you end up hosting on any playdate so you can avoid this problem!