I hate toddler playdates!
Toddlers can be difficult and overwhelming to handle at times. Allowing opportunities for your child to develop social skills is a key part of growing up. It is important to set you and your little one up for success before attending and or hosting a toddler play date. Here are nine easy tips that will allow you to be more prepared on your next play date and help you have a more enjoyable experience.
1. Ease Your Self Into the Play Date
Typically when you think of a play date, you may picture tons of children running around crazy in your head, right? This does not need to be the situation that you place yourself and your toddler. Start by only inviting another child to the play date. This will cut down on the chaos and still allow your toddler to have a great playdate experience.
2. Do Not Do the Play Date Alone
You may feel comfortable and confident in hosting your first toddler play date. However, do not go through this activity alone. Be sure to ask the parent of your toddlers’ playmate to stick around. Ask them to join you in supervising the toddler hangout time. This will take some of the pressure off of you and allow you to become much more relaxed throughout the entire playdate.
Additionally, some parents do not feel comfortable with dropping their toddlers off it; they do not know you very well. By inviting them to stay, they may feel much more comfortable. Furthermore, it is extremely common for parents to stick around for the playdate if the child is under three years old. At this age, children still need their parents close by, and it is more of a social event for toddlers as well as parents.
3. Set a Time Limit
There is no need to have a play date the entire day. And quite frankly, no parent or toddler will survive that long. When you are first beginning play dates, you may want to start with half an hour or an hour to get your toes wet. This is the perfect time frame for the toddlers to play and socialize, the parents to chat, and then everyone may go their separate ways. Fast, easy, and does not consume the entire day. Plus, if you end up not enjoying the other parents’ company, the time limit allows a quick and painless escape! The playdates may get longer as the toddlers grow in age.
4. There Will Be a Mess
Go into the playdate, knowing that by the end, there will be a large mess to clean up. Understanding this is key to having a more enjoyable time. If you are constantly trying to clean up the mess during the playdate, you are never going to have a nice experience. A huge expert tip to cut down on your cleaning is to play a cleanup song before the end of your play date. A few minutes before the playdate’s end time, flip on the song, and have both toddlers assist in cleaning up their toys. This teaches them good life skills and limits how much mess you will have to clean up later.
5. Plan Around Nap Time
You must be sure to plan around your child and the other toddlers’ nap times. Playdates can be set up for any time. However, trying to have a play date around or during their typically nap time could set you up for a miserable time. When children are well-rested and full of energy, they will be less irritable and cranky.
6. Be a Great Host
It can be a lot of pressure to be the host of a play date. Be sure to ask your guests if there are any food allergies to avoid any issues. You should also take the time to check with the other parent for their rules and regulations on screen time. You will also want to make sure you have simple and easy drinks and snacks at the ready for your toddler and their guests.
7. Hide Favorite Toys
This tip will help you to avoid any unnecessary fighting between toddlers or tantrums centered on cherished toys. Be sure you help your toddler pick out select toys that they do not want to share or risk having broken during the playdate. By doing this simple step, you will be able to avoid needless fighting.
8. Get Outdoors
Always try and schedule a play date for outdoors if it is possible. This will allow everyone to be in a neutral setting. By having a playdate outside, toddlers are quickly opened up to different sensory experiences. There are several fun activities to do outside, such as visiting a playground, a park, or even a nature preserve. Enjoying the outdoors can be a great playdate option for toddlers as well as parents.
9. Plan an Activity
Planning activity is not ideal on your first play date. However, it can be a great idea later down the road. It breaks up the typical play date and can add some much-desired variety to the toddler hang out. Countless activities will help toddlers and parents find playdates more enjoyable. You can have a dance party, do a scavenger hunt, or make easy crafts.
10. Play Dates Are Part of Life
Playdates are one of those tricky activities. Playtime can be extremely stressful for parents, but they are hugely beneficial for toddlers. They help young children begin practicing a variety of social skills needed in life. It can be very common for parents to hate playdates, but with these easy tips, they will become much more manageable. Who knows; maybe you will quickly fall in love with play dates after implementing these tips and tricks.