Making Toddler Playdates Work

Planned activities are a great way to keep playdates on track.

Children begin developing friendships at a young age. Not only does having a few pals make life more fun and interesting, kids learn to socialize from peers. By spending time with one another, kids learn to share, cooperate and listen – all valuable skills to have at school and even professionally. How can you host the perfect play-date for your little ones? Read on.

Select a friend

Little ones are perfectly capable of making their own friends. In fact, inviting a pal over that is already friendly with your child is a better idea than trying to force an amicable relationship upon kids who have never met. Ask your kid who he or she would like to come over to play. Stick with just one friend, as having more than that can become a handful and turn into a less-fun situation. If you have multiple kids, you may even want to make sure the siblings are doing their own things that day so the focus of the playdate is just your child and his or her pal.

Pay attention to time

Timing is key with young kids. They are often used to routines and messing with that normal daily rhthym can turn a fun couple hours into a screaming mess. Try to schedule the playdate around each child’s needs, allowing the tots to nap before or after so they are well-rested. If you’ll be hosting the hangout sesh during a time when the kids need food, make sure you know both children’s preferences and allergies. This will help you avoid upset and hungry kids and provide a nutritious and tasty meal or snack.


toddlers, playing, play outsideLittle ones who enjoy being outside can use their imaginations to play.

Plan an activity 

While teenagers can come up with plenty of ways to spend their time, little ones won’t. Without outside stimulation like toys or activities, they might not even acknowledge one another. Playdate hosts should facilitate fun games and interactive fun to keep the kids engaged. This may mean breaking out the building blocks so the duo can create their own world. Or perhaps both children love being outside and would like to spend the day in the sandbox or running around in your yard. It’s likely that your child and his or her friend met because they have something in common, like a specific recess pastime or because they love the kids’ keyboard at daycare. Use this knowledge to inform what you have ready for the playdate.

Make sure you’re prepared

Whether the parent of your child’s friend is coming to stay during the playdate or he or she is leaving, it’s important to gather some specific information ahead of time. You should know any allergies the visiting kid has, as well as any rules he or she should follow while in your home. Also make sure that you share a loose agenda of the day with the child’s parents, especially if you’re doing anything extra special like going swimming or heading to a restaurant to eat together. This way the parent and child are amply prepared and can offer up any important relevant information beforehand like food allergies or if the child requires a life jacket.