Having a little one around is a hoot and a half, but seeing your little one playing with other tiny people is even better.
Playdates are a great opportunity for social development, fun times and one Mama (in this case my gorgeous neighbour) having a rest. To ensure playdates run as smoothly as possible, here are some tips and tricks I try to adhere to. They might not float everyone's boat, but they work for me!
Since I like to snap everything that moves, I always check with parents if a) it's OK to have their children in pictures and b) if it's alright to put them anywhere (Facebook, Instagram etc). If they say no, respect their wishes and abide by them. Fortunately, my neighbour is a good egg!
Set Activities and Free Play
Before guests arrive, have a few games/ideas up your sleeve to encourage structured play. This provides ready made entertainment and a little bit of focus. Once they tire of that (and that really depends on age and character), leave them to their imaginations. Darcy and Becca spent more time playing in her bedroom with princesses and dolls than they did painting with me. Time just slips away when they're in play mode. It's lovely.
Expect and Allow Mess
In my books, making a mess of your bedroom whilst playing is entirely fine. There's little point getting in their way and tidying up behind them so as long as the chaos in confined to one room, I'm gonna let them go for it. It might feel unnatural to let destruction rein but for the hour or so they are playing, I like to see children be free spirits. When Darcy is a little older, I'll expect her to clear up herself but for now, it's a pleasure to put it all away knowing she's had a good time.
Offer Drinks and Toilets
But not at once, heh heh. Offering regular drinks is obvious but when you're little and you're caught up in the moment of play time, it's easy to forget you need a loo break. Just a bit of gentle asking here and there is worth it.
Love Love Love
The way I look at it is this- if Darcy were at someone else's house, I'd want her to feel loved and cherished there. With this in mind, I like our miniature guests to feel looked after and wanted too. I'm not saying go wild and squish them to bits, but encouraging words and a few cuddles (if they don't mind!) don't go amiss.
And that's about all we do. What are your top tips for smooth running play dates? I'm always open to learning more.
Contributor - Louise
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