Your toddler making friends for the first time is a special moment to be a part of and it is also helps them to develop their social skills as they learn to play with others. Play dates are a great way for your toddler to interact and share with others and can also be an opportunity for you to connect and socialise with other mums. If you are thinking of organising a play date here are some tips to help it run smoothly:
- Keep it small, learning to play alongside another toddler will be a challenge so don’t invite too many people until your toddler is used to interacting with others
- Keep it short, while your toddler is getting used to playing with others keep it to an hour or so, most have a limited attention span so won’t last longer than this
- Location, rotate who hosts the playdate. Your little one may become territorial of their home and find it difficult to share their toys. Try hosting play dates in other places, such as parks, beaches or playgrounds, rather than just at home so they can explore and have new experiences
- Organise around naps and meals, plan play dates to be at times of the day when your toddler is not likely to be overtired or hungry
- Too much of a good thing, schedule play dates no more than once or twice a week. It is good for toddler to have something to look forward to but hard for them to be on their best social behaviour every day
- Always supervise, keep a close eye on things during a play date to avoid any potential dangerous situations or little ones hurting each other
- Be prepared for some conflict, it is likely that some conflict will occur on your toddler’s play date and it will probably be over a toy, so be prepared to step in. For more information read our article on Teaching your toddler to share.