With the new school year beginning, the prospect of making new friends is on the horizon. Planning play dates is a good way to get the ball rolling for both your children and yourself. Don’t worry though; setting up a play date does not have to be stressful. Pick a day, invite a new friend or two and follow these tips to keep it all under control.
1. Keep it simple – First and foremost, do not go into birthday party mode. Trying to impress other moms can backfire. Keep it laid back and inviting, not pressure packed perfection. You do not need decorations, party favors, or special games. After attending a play date where all that and more were in place, I was hesitant to invite the new friend to our house. While she turned out to be a great friend, the first impression was overwhelming!
2. Walk and talk – There is nothing worse than sitting around awkwardly with other moms while your children play. Get out of the house, in fact, get out of the backyard. Consider meeting up at the local park or nature preserve and simply walk and talk. Lulls in conversation are easier to handle when you are not sitting face to face. Besides, meeting at a location means you do not have to shine your guest bathroom or worry about “the guest who will not leave.”
3. Plan a tea party – If you really want to plan something interesting, include food. An informal tea party can be a fun way to spend an hour or so together. Set out juice and fish crackers for the kids and coffee or wine for the adults. Girls can come dressed for tea and bring their dolls to play with afterwards. Remember, you do not have to have matching tea sets or anything remotely fancy to pull this off. Let imaginations carry this play date.
4. Just add water – Invite your play date guests to bring their bikes or riding toys over for a car wash. A bucket of water, sponges and towels can keep kids happy for a long time. After all the bikes are clean, the kids can take them for a spin. A few containers of bubbles can also keep moms and toddlers happy for a surprisingly long time. Blowing bubbles for the kids to “catch” is a relaxing way to spend a play date.
5. Time it – Keep it short and sweet. Having everyone leave while they are still having fun is better than letting the play date drag on until the kids, and the moms, are ready to scream. Just say good bye.
More by Sylvie Branch:
5 Chores Your Toddler Should Be Doing
Make Summer Reading Fun for Kids
Boost your child’s brain power: Focus on these 5 categories