A play date is when 2 or a few more children get together, usually in the supervision of one of their parents to interact with each other or play. This can be introduced into the lives of children at a very young age. Clinically, developmental milestones of a child are assessed in 4 aspects. They are gross motor (movement), fine motor and vision, language and hearing, and social skills. A play date is an ideal setting in which almost all of these aspects are stimulated to develop. But mainly it is the social skills that are stimulated.
Importance for Children
Play dates are a great way for the little ones to build confidence. They will learn to spend a few hours without the supervision of their parents, which helps them become independent. This will also help them make an easier transition to preschool. Children will learn to express empathy and share their toys with others. This will help them build emotional maturity. They learn to become emotionally responsive to the needs of others. Your toddler will also learn from other children.
It is a give and take situation. While your child could teach others new things, they can also be learning new things, thereby benefiting each other. Not only from children, but your child also learns to experience a new family, thereby learning new habits, new food and others. You want to make sure that you know the family that you are setting up dates with and that you approve of their beliefs and principles beforehand.
Importance for Parents
Having children can be a very exhausting life. Especially if you have more than one child. Parents can tend to forget their own health and leisure activities. Play dates are a good way to get some time for yourself. Not only can you spend that time to focus on yourself but also finish the chores at home. Spend the time to do your favourite activity; read a book, watching a favourite show, do some writing or just taking a walk in the garden. It is also an opportunity for you to spend some quality with your partner, making your relationship stronger.
How to Organize A Play Date?
First you must find a family with a child that is of similar age to your child. They will be eager to organize a play date as well, so always ask without hesitating. Then you can take turns to supervise both children during playdates, which can be held at home or a kid friendly environment like a garden. You must be informed and you must inform of any special requirements or considerations of the child.
For example, food allergies like peanut allergies. Keep the play date for a maximum of around 90 minutes and around 3 times a week. This will help not tire the toddler out. You can organize play dates with more than one family. Always be friendly and speak to other parents. You will be surprised on how much you will find out just by conversing about what’s better for your child.