Who doesn’t love a playdate? Meeting up with several moms while the kids have the time of their lives can be completely rejuvenating for both children and parents. The kids work on their social skills while the moms have their own social interaction (because sometimes we totally lack that). Hosting a group playdate can be stress free and doesn’t have to live up to Martha Stewart standards. Here are 8 tips for a successful stress-free group playdate.
1. Location, Location, Location
Choose a location that is fun and easy. It doesn’t have to be at your house, which is all the better, so now you don’t have to clean up before or after!
We love a park play date at Limitless Park in Ormond Beach. It checks every box for a great time. It is a colorful playground with various play structures for kids to climb, slide, hang, and swing. The soft rubber surface on the ground makes any fall for early walkers not so devastating. The park is enclosed with a fence, so parents with a runner can relax. For more on our favorite parks, checkout our park guide, here.
Some of our other favorite places for an indoor play date are the Ormond Discovery Center, MOAS, and the Reptile Center. For more on our favorite indoor places, see our children museum guide here.
Bring Satisfying Snacks
Don’t forget snacks! No one likes to be around a hangry child. But don’t go crazy with an elaborate hostess of the year charcuterie board. Keep snacks easy and simple. ALDI is the local king of moderately priced organic and gluten free snacks. So when you need bulk snacks at a competitive price to feed a hungry mob of children – checkout Aldi!
DBM PRO TIP: No one will be upset if you bring a white claw to the playdate as well.
Keep It Small: Keep It Simple
It’s important to keep the play date as simple as possible. One component of that is limiting the attendees. Choose wisely and choose parents that you get along with. It also helps to make sure the kids are around the same age so they can entertain each other. Keeping it a manageable number of attendees also helps everyone there to get to know each other. After a few successful play dates, you can always expand.
Alternate the host for each scheduled play date. The host chooses the location, time, brings snacks, and is generally responsible for the play date on that occasion. Alternating the host helps the play date from feeling like a burden to any particular mom. Another idea is to keep it the same time and same place every week, so everyone keeps it available on their calendar.
Shorter Is Better
Establishing a time frame is a must. This keeps everyone on the same page on what to expect (i.e. the play date does not include dinner). Although the children may want to play hours on end, it is advisable to keep the play date to two hours. Two hours is optimal as it allows children plenty of time to settle into play and also limits the opportunity for a meltdown. It’s always better to leave on a good note.
Share Or Stay Home
In a perfect world, children share beautifully at a play date. Enter reality. You know your child. Does he freak if someone touches his scooter? Understandably, sometimes you don’t know until it happens, but it’s best to have conversations before the play date on sharing. If sharing that precious new scooter isn’t an option, it may be advisable to leave it at home to avoid your kid going nuclear.
Get Crafty (but not too crafty)
It’s easy to just let the children have free play but bringing an easy craft offers another creative element to the play date. No need to go overboard on multiple structured activities or Pinterest level complexity, but one structured activity will keep the kids engaged and supplement the free play. For more ways to foster creative play, checkout 4 Ways Encourage To Appreciate Art.
Healthy Kids Only
If your kid is contagious, stay home. No one will be upset you cancel last second because your child is sick. It will also be the best practice to foster your relationship with other moms.
Finally, don’t forget to be present and enjoy your own play date. As your child builds new friendships we hope that you do too!
If you liked this, you may like 5 Reasons To Visit SeaWorld – with friends!