New to the field of Playdating? Here's some insight from our best clients at Learning Ridge..
Are you new to the area and are trying to have your children integrate with their peers at school? Then organizing a play date with one or more of their friends will be a sure win!
As you learn more about your child and their friends, here are a few PlayDate Host Rules:
1. Be gracious with your accommodations
You do not have to change your home to Disney World, but you should make your little guests feel welcome. Make sure they know where the necessities are (bathroom, place for their belongings) and where they need to be for the duration of their playdate.
2. Establish ground rules
Before the playdate starts, make sure that you reinforce "house rules" with your child and their friends. Depending on your parenting style, you may use a more active approach by discussing important topics with the child and their parents or you could use a less direct approach by engaging in conversation with your child where the information will be relayed to their friend. Be sure to use proper language with your child’s friends and expect them to do the same.
If the playdate is at your house or is in an area that you may not be as familiar with, ensure that there are safe zones for them to wander in (kitchen, basement, playroom) and red zones where they are to not be out of your sight (garage, pool area without adult supervision, garage). This will ensure unnecessary search teams looking for your child and the other children on the playdate.
3. Discuss meals/activity options
The last thing a parent wants to hear when their child is finally in the car from a playdate is that their friend’s parents did not feed them anything at all. Parents, it’s a playdate, not your version of “Survivor: Home Edition”. If things are too hectic for you, pick up a pizza, grab some donuts or take them to the park. If you are the parent of the child and know that the other parent runs a tight pantry, send your child off with a few snacks and an activity book to keep them occupied.
4. Count how many children you are responsible for
This is so important but some parents miss it. Make sure that you leave with the exact number of children that you came with (this advice is really meant for the fathers who might have "mommy duty" when their wife is out of town). Otherwise, if you miscount and accidentally leave a few children behind or inherit children from another play group, you’ll end up meeting someone dressed up in blue later on that evening.
5. No matter how much you want to pry, don’t be nosy around your child’s friends
I was having lunch one day and this mom was looking for a way to have her son join a baseball team. She kept prodding her son’s friend about the team, the coach, the players, until her son’s friend said, “Are you thinking about having your son play?” It was really tacky, and most children like playing with their friends rather than be interviewed on a playdate.
If you need to find out more about the other service providers your children's friends have in their circle, it may be best to ask the other parents. Using interrogation techniques does not make for a pleasant play date atmosphere and makes you look a little too.... tacky.
For more information about Playdating or General Questions about Education, feel free to contact Learning Ridge at 404-964-8533 or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org