Friday, October 7, 2011

Day 7 - Playdate Etiguette

I am here to confirm that there are rules and tips for successful playdates.  Here are some of my TOP recommendations for ensuring you play fair during playdates:

- Set a limit. I like to keep playdates reserved for children within 1 year of Munch's age (4-6).  Any older or younger would defeat the purpose of play and isn't fair to the children.

- Invite.  Be sure to allow for enough time for your guests to plan to attend.  I prefer for playdates not to exceed 3 hours. Although, we have 1 friend who stays overnight without issue.

- Plan.  I recommend planning every minute of the playdate to ensure the kids are active (boredom leads to poor behavior and noise... O the noise)...  Remember, children thrive in structure, even if it's as simple as saying 15 minutes or free play. Sample plan below:
  • 15 MINUTES - Construction paper tiaras (stickers, crayons, embellishments, etc.)
  • 15 MINUTES - Princess makeovers (lip gloss, eye shadow, tiaras, high heel shoes, etc.)
  • 15 MINUTES - Princess Dance Party
  • 15 MINUTES - Food Prep (have them make their own mini pizzas)
  • 15 MINUTES - Cupcake or cookie decorating (while pizza cooks)
  • 15 MINUTES - Food time
  • 30 MINUTES - Free play (while I clean-up and pull out "princess prize bags" of sparkle nail polish lip gloss, dollar store treats, etc.)
  • 15 MINUTES - kids clean-up free play area and prepare to sit down with their prize bags for a princess movie until mom comes.
This will work for any theme so get creative (I've done Hannah Montana, tea party and I'm planning a Pumpkin Painting Playdate).

Playdating at the casa... Rock Star tea party... with pizza and salad the 2 little chefs made.

- Food.  Though it is etiquette to bring snacks with your child to playdates, do not plan on your guests feeding their child (or bringing food).  I always have a meal, a snack and something sweet for kids. 

- Attire.  Dress your child appropriately for the activities, and more importantly, MOMMY (you too) must dress appropriately.  now is not the time to wear heels and uncomfortable clothing... You need to be able to comfortably sit on the floor and help clean-up without the worries of ruining something special (I'm a fabulous girl... but special things are reserved for special reasons).

- Time.  Be on time to pick your child.  Nothing worse than being late when someone is kind enough to babysit your child and you show up at your leisure.  If you're going to be late, call the host and let her know.... then bring wine... and apologize :)

Our overnight playdater... they call each other sister-cousins.

- Review the rules.  On our way, I go over the rules of playing fair.  "Munch, remember to say please, thanks, yes ma'am, no ma'am... SHARE.  USE YOUR INSIDE VOICE.  Use your hands for helping...".  She usually entertains me and says, "I got it mommy," and then proceeds to remind me that I forgot something... "Mommy, you forgot to say good girls don't let dinosaurs dressed up in ballet tutus come and dance and then they knock over a lamp on their friends head.... GOOD girls don't do that!!!" Yea... Dont be too specific: keep the rules generic because the list of the damage glamorous dinos can do never ends.

- Meet offsite.  "HEY! Let's meet for a playdate at the park!" It's neutral ground, is free, is the perfect opportunity for a picnic(who doesn't love a picnic?!) and it's free entertainment! Did I say free?

Zion and Stella at her 3rd Tinkerbelle Birthday Party... IN THE PARK.

Mommy tip: Work out a deal with your friends who have children of similar ages to coordinate playdates around each other's date night.  You could improve your love lives without having the munchkin miss out!  Plus, it's always better to have a sitter you know and trust... What kid wouldn't want to play with a friend instead of sit around with a no-fun babysitter?

So, don't be shy... INVITE... HOST... Make your next playdate a mini party.  It's what little ones live for!


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