Play dates are a great way to help your child develop socially, however, it’s also a great opportunity to meet and network with other parents. Developing this support system is beneficial in so many ways.
I recently polled a “Mom’s Group” who frequently hosts play dates, where I asked about etiquette and other tips. Their responses were interesting and quite helpful, as many of them brought up issues that I hadn’t even considered.
Here are some comments and tips directly from this group of moms:
- Be prompt for both pick up and drop off as a courtesy to the host family.
- Have an activity planned for the children when hosting
- Please reschedule the play date if your child is sick
- Inquire about the safety practices in the home. After all, this family is briefly looking after your child and you need reassurance that your little one is in safe hands. Also, please don’t be offended if someone asks you about safety in your own home – this parent needs reassurance as well.
- Don’t forget to ask the other parent about any dietary restrictions. This will impact the type of food served.
- Always exchange contact information before every play date to ensure each parent can reach the other, if necessary.
- If you are hosting, then it’s important to set your child’s expectations that they will be sharing their toys with a friend. This will hopefully limit any heated exchanges when a child gets territorial about their own toys.
- I’m embarrassed to admit that I hadn’t even considered this one. One mom suggested that if you‘re invited to a play date and you would like to stay with your child during the play time (while at someone’s home), then be sure to ask the host first. One mom commented that it’s a pet peeve of hers because she feels like she needs to entertain the other parent when she would rather do housework while watching the preschool-age children play.
- One of my favorite tips: “My rule of thumb for play date length is age minus 1 for the number of hours playing with a friend.” She added that her five year old may have a four hour play date on some weekends and her three year old will have a 2 hour play date or less.
- If the play time duration goes too long then it can be counterproductive because the child would likely become more prone to a meltdown or increased crankiness.
- One mom has a strict rule that she needs to be consulted before her child is taken anywhere during the play date.
- One suggestion if the children make a mess while playing then please offer to help pick up before you leave – many moms said they will typically decline the offer but it’s appreciated as a courtesy.
- If you have been invited on a play date – don’t forget to reciprocate with your own invitation.
Thank you to these moms for sharing their opinions, thoughts and expertise on play dates. Do you have any tips that you would like to add? Please feel free to comment on these suggestions as well.