Playdates are a great way to boost preschoolers’ developmental, social and communication skills. The childcare experts at Celebree Learning Centers provide some tips on how to make the most out of playdates for your child.
Planning the Playdate
Include your child in the planning process. Ask them who they want to have over, or observe who they often play with at daycare, preschool or the playground. Talk to your child about different activities they might enjoy doing together, and have them help set up different play stations such as a putty or clay area or an arts and crafts table.
Help your child understand what it means to be a good host by preparing for the playdate together. Put away their favorite toys and set out some collaborative games such as building blocks and puzzles.
Be sure to touch base with other parents. This would be a good time to discuss any food allergies/sensitivities, while also understanding their core home-rules as it applies to yours. Plan to keep the playdate under an hour. Consider inviting the parents to join—at least in the beginning—to help ease the transition.
The Real Deal
The beginning of the playdate can be awkward, but you can help your child and their playmate feel comfortable with each other by setting out games or toys that they are both familiar with. Give them a few options so they can switch between activities, but be sure to explain that they need to clean up before moving on to the next one.
Encourage children to work out their problems on their own as much as they can, and limit your interventions until conflicts escalate to verbal or physical confrontation. Be sure to acknowledge good behavior in order to keep negative behavior at a minimum.
It is often difficult to come up with unique and healthy snacks that all kids will enjoy. When you’re in need of inspiration, take a look at this list.
Give the kids round crackers spread with peanut butter or cream cheese. Use cut-up grapes, dried fruit and shredded coconut to complete a silly face (allergy permitting).
Mix cream cheese and honey, and spread the mixture over small pita bread triangles. Top with apples, bananas or fruit of your choice, for a healthy twist on afternoon pizza!
Let the kids string together Cheerios or any other ringed cereal on thin licorice strings and tie the ends in a knot. The kids can happily display their snack necklaces and bracelets before eating!
Sometimes, playdates can go too well, and parting ways may be difficult. Give the kids a heads up when playtime is almost over. Remind them to finish up their games and begin clean up time. Talk about their favorite part of the playdate. Instead of getting upset about the end of this get-together, encourage them to look forward to their next playdate by brainstorming activities that they can get excited about.
There are many ways to enjoy playdates together, and as your child becomes more comfortable, playdates will become much easier to facilitate. For more information regarding playdates for your preschooler, contact Celebree Learning Centers today.