In a time when electronic gadgets consume of our children’s attention spans, play dates can actually be a blessing. Read to Know How to organize a Perfect Playdate? This article is part of Your Complete Guide to Playdates.
‘Play Dates’ are modern age indulgences that can work like magic if leveraged well. Playdates can be defined as an event where kids and mommies, too, can come together to indulge in planned or unplanned play.
Kay Redfield Jamison, a Contemporary American professor, sums it up beautifully in these lines,
“Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity…..”
Play dates give a perfect opportunity for the tiny tots to interact with others of their age. A number of positive traits such as kindness, sharing, and helping one another can be imbibed in children during playdates. Learning to be with others and establishing comfort-zones with them can turn into being an essential life skill for them in the future. Playdates are a great way to create bonds and affiliation with kids from different backgrounds and schools.
The take-away from a play date are aplenty. Shares Komal Patel, a vivacious mother to 4-year-old Jiyana, “I think the most beneficial thing about a playdate is the kind of exposure in terms of socializing and bonding that a child gets. Today, when most parents are opting for a single kid, children should be introduced to the concept of sharing. This also nurtures the right feelings and emotions in them. Early Childhood Development should go beyond learning alphabet and numbers.”
How to Plan the Perfect PlayDate For Your Kids
You can take the kids to play zones for showing them a good time, but if you are planning to organize one at home, weave the playdate around an interesting theme. Here’s how to sail through one and organize an amazing play date for your munchkin and their friends.
1. Age group: Ideally stick to inviting kids from the same age or maybe widen the age bracket to a couple of years older or younger maybe. Kids of the same age group gel together better. Having extremely younger or older kids could lead to chaos and tiffs as their interests differ.
2. Perfect Spot: The traditional way to have play date is at home, where your safety, security as well hygiene are under parental control and supervision. But a lot of mothers treat it as ‘mommy time out’ and prefer to have playdates outside like in the Play zones or parks. It also helps them escape from after-party mess. Depending on the season or reason, you can pick a spot conducive for you. Just make sure the kids have a lot to do.
3. Time: When it comes to kids and their moods and comfort, the time of the day plays a pivotal role. Although, there is no fixed time to arrange a play date but it is advisable to schedule a play date when the Kids are active and fresh which ideally is after a good nap. Also another thing to keep in mind is the time limit. Stretching a play date for more than two hours could make the kids cranky and irritable.
4. Prep up: If you chose to organize a play date at your house, a little preparation and baby proofing the play area will save you fretting over and sweating over stuff. Move the expensive and fragile items to another room or out of the reach of the children. Also make sure you clear the room of sharp and dangerous objects.
5. Activities: If you have called kids who come from different schools or vicinities and do not know each other well, an ice-breaker game can get the ball rolling and help kids to get comfortable with each other. You can plan some interesting games to keep them engaged by planning some fun games and activities like a word relay or a quiz depending on their age group. You can even reward the winners. Make sure you keep the rewards motivating yet inexpensive and simple. Gasless cooking is extremely easy and fun. The kids can learn to make a cookie or sweet.
6. Be a host not a ghost: While adult supervision is indispensable, don’t hover over them unless the kids are really young and their mothers aren’t around.be warm and welcoming. Be alert and aware. Give them basic instructions to follow and guide. Don’t turn into their home room teacher. Leave that job to them. This is not their school.
Also arrange tea, coffee and some snacks for mommies and make the most of this time bonding with them.
7. The food menu: Goes without saying… keep it kid friendly and interesting but steer clear from serving junk. Opt for veggie finger foods cut in interesting shapes and moulds and serve them. You can opt for fruit smoothies so kids can get nutritional treat.
8. Make Good byes memorable: Good byes can be difficult for kids as it means they will lose their friends and althey will have to put a stop to their fun time. While engaging them in an activity, let the kids know in advance that the date is ending soon. You can make them to a walk or a marching activity to keep the momentum high even as they leave. This will not make them feel like they were stripped away from their play zone or their dear friends.