Toddlers look forward to playdates because they get to hang out with another child. In general, playdates are fun but many parents may still feel uneasy about the whole thing. Before a scheduled playdate, some parents may already brace themselves for the possibility that a child may not get along well with the other child.
It is during the toddler years when kids learn to interact with others. Thus, it is common for play dates to go sour because a toddler’s temperament may get in the way with his unsuccessful attempts to socialize. Although toddlers have already earned quite a reputation for being “difficult”, there are still ways on how parents can make playdates effective.
For playdates to go smoothly, parents should consider some factors that can contribute to its success. Playdates aren’t just about scheduling play time in which kids and even parents interact with others. It’s also about having the right elements working together to promote a pleasant atmosphere favorable for growth of all the parties involved.
Some parents may consider age as a determining factor in finding a playdate for a child. While older kids may prefer to play with other children of the same age, it wouldn’t really have any bearing for younger kids. In particular, toddlers benefit from any interaction that they can have with kids of different ages.
Toddlers can learn new things from others, and by bridging the gap with older kids, you are also providing an opportunity for greater learning. And at this point, parents should also not think of gender as an issue when choosing the right playdate or even crowd for that matter. A playgroup comprising of both boys and girls may work well, until such time that your child may already prefer to spend time with kids of the same gender.
Parents should also make sure that toddlers don’t get overbooked with playdates that they may already find it too tiring or demanding. With equally challenging work schedules, it may also be taxing for parents to squeeze in enough time for playdates. Thus, it is important to find the right balance so that it will be enjoyable for parents and children alike.
A good number to consider is at least twice a week. The frequency of playdates can in some way affect a child’s perception towards the activity. While it can be fun, the general rule for toddlers is just to take it easy. Hence, playdates that go on for at least two hours may be ideal. With this time-frame, a child can already play, take breaks, or even have light snacks. It is also good to note that the best time to set playdates is when a child is fully rested and well-fed. If you can determine your toddler’s nap and feeding schedule, it may be good to work around these times.
Try to work closely with other parents on how you can keep playdates exciting. A change of location once in a while can be a good learning experience for kids. If you just exert an effort to look for safe areas to hold playdates, you may be surprised with all the possibilities.
It is also essential that you constantly work to make playdates more fruitful. Make changes when necessary so that your toddler will continue to reap the rewards that this important social activity brings.
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