Now that rainy season is almost starting its time to find some fun indoor activities for the kids.  Why not plan a play date with some friends?  Whether you are hosting or attending the play-date, here are some super tips to help you & child have a great time.

Planning a play-date is really simple and it is a great way for both you and your child to make some new friends. Here are some tips to help you PLAN a play-date:

(1) Invite 1-4 kids (& moms) for the play-date.  Inviting too many kids over for a play-date might be overwhelming for your child, so try to keep it small.  Make sure the time of the play-date does not overlap with nap-time or mealtimes (unless you plan to serve lunch/dinner).

2)  Set a time limit to the play-date.  Usually 2 hours is more than sufficient time.  Otherwise you run the risk of over tired and/or bored kids.

(3) Make you house play-date friendly.  Move some of the furniture to the side to have more room to play.  Remove any breakable items.  Put away any small toys or messy toys like markers, playdough, chalk (keep only age appropriate toys out for the kids).  Make sure you clean your toys and tidy up the place before your guests come.

(4)  Setup some Snacks & Drinks:  Arrange some simple healthy snacks and drinks (and maybe one dessert) for both the kids and moms. Some ideas are: popcorn, veggies & dip, cut fruits, pretzels, raisins, chicken nuggets, banana bread, healthy popsicles, jello, brownies, cookies, etc. Kids are usually ok with just juice, milk or water. If it is not too much trouble, offer the moms tea or coffee. Try not to serve soda or candy, those are usually special treats for “special occasions” and are not necessary at play-dates.

(5) Set up some activities. For younger kids just playing with toys is enough. For older kids try to set up some activities, such as a coloring/crafts project, board games, dress up clothes, etc.  Try to avoid turning on the T.V. – the whole point of a play-date is for the kids to play.

(6) Set ground rules for your child before the playdate starts. Remind your child that they need to “share” their toys.  If your child has a special toy that he does not like to share, make sure to hide it before the guests arrive.  Also, inform your child what toys and games are “appropriate” when their friends come over.  For example, during play-dates, my sons are not allowed to go in the kitchen or the master bedroom.
If you have been invited to ATTEND a play-date here are some tips to help make sure you get invited back:
(1) Make sure your child is well rested and not hungry before going to the play date – the last thing you want is a tantrum or a meltdown at someone else’s house.
(2)  Remind your child before the play-date to mind their manners.  Share toys, clean up after yourself, no hitting, fighting, crying, jumping on furniture, breaking things, acting greedy….

(3)  Show up on time.  If you are running late send a text – “So sorry Alexis took a really long afternoon nap, we will be about 20 minutes late. See you soon.

(4)  Offer to bring a snack item to share (although most moms don’t expect this) – it is a really nice gesture. Even something store bought is fine.

(5)  Clean-Up.  Help put back the toys after your child is done playing or make sure your child cleans up after themselves.

(6)  Don’t over-stay.  Be respectful of the host’s schedule. The last thing you want is to cut into the other child’s schedule (homework, dinner, bath, sleep, tutoring, etc.).

(7)  Send a thank you text after the play-date to the host mom for inviting you and indicate how much fun your child had.  Maybe offer to host a play-date in the near future.

Don’t be disappointed if the play-date doesn’t turn out as expected. Even the best laid out plans can be disheveled by unpredictable kids.

Extra “Super” Tip: Have a camera handy to take some fun pictures of your child with their new friends.