Play dates are vital for children because they offer them the opportunity to connect with their peers outside of the structured classroom setting. They also enhance children’s language, social skills, and self-esteem. By providing such an opportunity for your child to connect with classmates, students can carry these relationships back into the classroom. Play dates build children’s confidence and make them more comfortable, which is especially important for students with speech, language, and social challenges.
So, go ahead and arrange a play date. Don’t wait for others to call you – call them!
Before the Play Date
- Invite one of your child’s friends. Decide who to invite with your child. One-on-one play dates are best for developing close friendships.
- Keep the get-together short.
- Be specific about a time and date when organizing a play date. People get busy and if you offer a specific date and time, it’s more likely to happen.
- Set up play date rules. Discuss with your child how to be gracious.
- Discuss discipline with the other parent. If mom stays for the visit, and it’s a good idea at first, it may be more effective for each parent to discipline her own child.
- Make a list of activities with your child that might be fun.
During the Play Date
- Be involved. While you don’t want to be hands-on for the entire play date, it is important for parents to have a role in the play date.
- Keep the activities rolling. Suggest changes in activities when you sense restlessness or misbehavior.
- Always have snacks. Food is a great diversion for a play date that’s getting out of control. Make sure you ask about any food allergies her child may have, and always choose a healthier option.
After the play date
If your child feels good about the play date, let the other mom know and plan another play date!