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Successful play-date tips

Some Pre-planning

  1. Think carefully about when you invite children and for how long. Don’t have someone over when you are very tired or stressed or busy and the ideal playdate is usually less than two hours

  2. Plan ahead with your child

How long will the child stay?

What kind of activities can you do?

(get a couple of spare things that might be useful in case of crisis – it helps here to have something that is new like 2 sticker books)

Are there any things not allowed?

Where will you play?

Any suggestions for games/toys?


What type of kid is coming – what will they like to do

What will you do if you cant agree what to play

3. Make a plan for a break – perhaps a snack – after an hour, but be prepared to be flexible – suggesting a break when there is conflict or a pause in games is a good thing to do. Know where to take this snack and whether you can access it on your own.

4. Which adult will be around, preferably doing their own activities, within earshot so that they can help if conflicts arise.

For little ones don’t try to resolve the conflict – try to move them on to

the ‘next game’ (if stuck sometimes letting them crate something with

furniture or with kitchen utiensils is so novel they are willing to adapt

2. Be precise about time limits on electronic games, computers or tv as these cut down on the social interaction, but feel free to use them if the playdate is not going well as sharing time is the start of a friendship.

3. Don’t allow your child to do silly, rough or dangerous things just because they have a friend over – keep discipline limits even if it means explaining to the friend what is permissible and what is not in this house.

Good host tips to encourage

1. Greet the friend positively with a smile and some enthusiasm – but recognize that they might need time to settle in so don’t charge at them!

2. Ask if they would like to be shown around or see the bedroom or play area.

3. Start conversation by asking if they had a good day or what else has happened to them. Perhaps you could find out their likes and dislikes? Remember to listen to their answers and not to just tell them about yourself!

4. Suggest a game or toys – based on what they have said they like – and try to negotiate when sharing or making the rules of a game. Remember you need to make them feel accepted so they will relax and enjoy playing with you.

5. Try to give in a bit, or to say what you want in an encouraging, constructive way.

6. If you get stuck, bored or start arguing, suggest a break, a move to something new or a walk outside.

7. Try to keep a standby activity such as dot to dot books, craft or making a smoothy on hand and involve an adult if the relationship with the friend is proving difficult.

8. Remember to check and ask if the friend is okay, to compliment them and to show enthusiasm.

9. At the end of the playdate thank the friend for coming and tell them you hope to play again sometime – don’t rush to fix a date and look desperate. Just make sure they leave knowing that you had a good time and enjoyed them.

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