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Playdate Etiquette: The Quick Guide for Hosts

Photo by Christopher Futcher / iStock
Photo by Christopher Futcher / iStock

Playdates are a standard part of American parenting with good reasons: They build supportive communities of caring adults, boost kids’ social skills, and help toddlers and young children bond with people outside of the family. Plus, kids love 'em.

Here's how to host a successful play date with aplomb.

Share your ideas for great  playdates in the comments section below! 

Guide for Playdate Hosts

  •  Keep the length of the playdate short, especially if you don’t know the kids well: 1-2 hours max.

  • Keep the numbers low, too: 2-4 children.

  • You don’t have to be a super-host or go craft crazy, but it is a good idea to have a simple activity planned in advance. Let your child come up with some ideas.

  • Kids will likely request snacks! As a courtesy, be pro-active and ask parents you don’t know well about their child’s allergies or foods to avoid. This will show them you’re being especially thoughtful and empathetic.

  • If it’s the first time for a child to visit your house, invite the parent over as well. Let her (or him) know that she is welcome to stay a while until her child is comfortable.

  • Always exchange contact information with parents.

  • Be open to questions about safety in your home or even about your parenting style. Some parents simply need more reassurance than others.

  • When children play together, it’s best not to intervene in small disagreements: Play dates are about kids learning to work things out.

  • If there is an issue, do let the other parent know what happened and how you resolved it. This keeps communication open, and allows you both to be aware of your children’s relationship dynamics.

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