Whoever evented the play dates should be kissed a thousand times. Think about it: moms getting together to allow their little ones to foster new friendships while hopefully eating, drinking and entertaining each other—it’s absolutely brilliant! Though it may sound a bit stressful to imagine hosting yet another mouth to feed in your home, with some quick planning tips, play dates can be a delightful experience for everyone.
- Timing is everything. You probably wouldn’t want to show up to a blind date 30-minutes late, so you should stay on schedule with your appointments for playing. Likewise, avoid being too early as most moms are still finishing up with their tidying and food prep minutes before guests walk in the door.
- Come prepared. While everyone forgets a diaper at one time or another, some parents have been known to use a host’s home as their own personal retail outlet. Bring a well-stocked diaper bag complete with an extra change of clothes and anything your child would need on a typical afternoon out. Just because your host’s home has diapers in your munchkin’s size, doesn’t mean they want to lend them out.
- There’s a two-hour time limit. Yep. Two. Hours! That’s all the time your child is allowed to stay at a friend’s house, and vice versa. And keep in mind, that two hours doesn’t include drop-off and pick-up, so you’ll need to build travel time into your busy schedule. You get two hours and not a moment more.
- It’s Nice To Take Turns. If you’ve formed a relationship with a great mom who continues to invite you over, make sure you reciprocate the invitations. You don’t want to model to your child that you only socialize at the extension of someone else’s invitation.
- Let it go.Surrender to the idea that you’re in someone else’s home and your child may be exposed to things that you have previously shielded from them. Take a breath and realize that as your child continues to explore, she will have to learn how to navigate new environments and it’s better she starts learning under your watchful eye.