6 super easy ways to make sure that playdates don't end in tears 4 years ago

6 super easy ways to make sure that playdates don't end in tears

Ah the playdate.

It wasn't really 'a thing' for those of us growing up in this country in the 80s and 90s but it sure is a reality for those of us parenting in 2018.

Gone are the days of kids heading off by themselves to knock into their friends or organise a massive game of kerbs or tip the can. The world of playdates can seem like a vague and confusing place if you're a newbie but fear not, HerFamily is here to guide you through the modern etiquette of organised play.

1. Agree a beginning and an end

When you are organising a playdate with another parent, either in person or by text, don't be vague in an effort to be super-welcoming and polite. Specify the start and end times of the playdate. As a general rule of thumb, the younger the children the less the stamina. Anything from 1-3 hours is perfectly reasonable. If it's an after-school playdate, bear in mind that kids can be tired and adjust the timeframe accordingly. Clarify pick-ups and drop offs in advance to avoid any back-and-forth "no, no I'll pick them up/I'll drop them" conversations or misunderstandings.

2. Meet The Fockers

If your children are pals with their children, it's likely you'll be seeing a lot of each other - especially if they are classmates. It's worth extending a coffee invite to the playdate's mum or dad at the beginning or the end of the playdate. You don't have to do it every time but it's nice to be nice.

3. Inside or outside 


Whether it's in the garden, a park, or a local playground, kids generally tend to vent their energies better outdoors. Of course, in this country, that's completely weather-dependent but if you can chuck 'em out do. Having them spend most of their time outside also means less mess and little clean-up for you after the playdate. Play centres are also a great indoor option if you want to out-source the mess and the food.

4. Always have a back-up plan

If the kids disappear off to play on their own without problems, that's great, but you should have a plan B to capture their attention and prevent them from fighting if all is not going exactly to free-play plan. Creative projects work well for all age-groups. One guaranteed-to-be-popular activity is to let the kids unleash their inner stylist and decorate some cheap white t-shirts with markers, or fabric markers if you can get them. This will keep them busy and focused for hours, and they will also have souvenirs to take home. Win-win.

5. Food

First things first in the maze of modern parenting: always ask (or inform) about allergies in advance. Providing a snack or a meal (depending on the length of the playdate) is a great way to break the ice or break up any boisterous goings-on. There is absolutely no need to spend hours baking or preparing lavish meals of any kind. Avoid looking at over-achieving playdate mamas on Pinterest; trust us, a few ham or cheese sambos will do the job just grand.

6. Keep an eye but give them space

Obviously, if other parents are entrusting their precious cherubs into your care, it is a good idea to watch them carefully and ensure everyone is safe and having a good time. But try to give them some space. Even if there is a disagreement, give them a little room to try and resolve it alone before stepping in.

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