Children who struggle to mingle with others can benefit from a playdate. Having a one-on-one playtime with another kid will help them open up and become more comfortable in socialising. In addition, it will help develop their social skills and be more confident in dealing with others in the long run. Here are some things to consider if setting up a playdate for your child for the first time.
Choose the kid to invite over
Choosing the right child to invite plays a significant role in the success of the playdate. If the kid and your child get along, it will be a positive experience, and it could open opportunities for more playdates and friendship between them. It will also be good for the social development of your child. First, ask your kid if they have someone in mind that they would like to invite. If there is none, get recommendations from their teachers, as they would know best which children will be friendly to play with. Start with inviting only one child to prevent your tot from getting overwhelmed. Then, you can ask more kids over in the future when your child becomes more comfortable.
Prepare activities they can do
You want them to enjoy their playdate, so prepare activities that will make it fun. Ask about what your child wants to do. You can prepare art materials to draw or colour or toys that they can play with. Consider soft play at home too. There are soft play items that you can get, including puzzles, slides, balls, shapes, and blocks. They are fun and safe at the same time.
Talk to the other parents
Get the consent of the other parents to invite their kid to have a playdate with yours. Set a date that will be convenient for both sides. Ask them about the child’s interest to consider them when you prepare the activities. For example, see if the kid has a food preference or allergic to something, so you can also consider that.
Remind your child about positive behaviour
Keep kids’ manners in check. Remind them to treat the other child well and with respect. Ask them to avoid fighting with the kid, but instead share and play with the other kid. If they have toys or things that you know they don’t want to be touched, keep them aside to avoid problems.
Keep the playdate short
An hour of play is ideal so as not to overwhelm your child. It will be enough for them to experience the company of another kid. A longer playdate can be too much for them, especially if they are starting to develop their social skills. Take it one step at a time.
Prepare some snacks
A playdate will not be complete without snacks. Consider not just your kid’s favourite foods, but that of his playmate too. Remember what the parents told you about the foods the child prefers, so be sure to serve that too. Both will be happy, and that will add to the positive experience.
If your child turned up enjoying the first playdate, set up more in the future to continuously develop their social skills. Once they are more comfortable, you can invite additional kids to come over.