Limiting play dates

Play dates for two- to 3-year-olds work best if they’re limited to two children close in age, somewhat structured in terms of activities, and supervised by both sets of parents.

When tots socialize

Around the time he turns 2, your toddler will start to actively reach out to other children. But as with any other skill, he learns how to socialize with others by trial and error.

Limiting play dates

Unless you relish the idea of a pair of hyper toddlers trashing your entire house, limit the domain of play dates. You can either gate off a single room or simply shut doors to rooms that are off-limits.

Keeping occupied while playing

After your toddler starts to play on his/her own, keep a magazine nearby and sneak a peek at a page while she is stacking blocks. It’s okay to take a break! She’ll let you know when she needs some more attention, interaction, or direction.

Toys in groups and alone

Plastic bats are great for solo play but a disaster in a group. Select age and temperament-appropriate toys.

Socializing your toddler

Around the time he turns 2, your toddler will start to actively reach out to other children. But as with any other skill, he learns how to socialize with others by trial and error.

Looking for playdates

Many parents are lucky to have built-in playmates for their children through neighbors & friends. Others have to search them out. Local parenting support groups, churches, childcares, and other social organizations are good places to look.

Time limit for playdates

Two hours is the magic number when it comes to playdates. That’s just enough time to play, have a snack, take a break, and play again, before wrapping things up.

Fast-food play dates

A play date at a fast food restaurant may not be the healthiest choice, but it’s still a lot fun. Meet at one that has that has an indoor play area.

Play dates and tot’s ages

For toddlers, the age of the other children at the playdate doesn’t really matter. Most kids will find some value in spending time with another child even if their ages don’t match up perfectly.

Preparing for playdates

Having a clean and child proofed home is important, especially when hosting a first ever play date. For first play dates, parents often want to attend or at least view your home.

Encouraging make-believe

Stock your shelves with goodies like boxes of various shapes, dress up clothes, puppets and kitchen items, to encourage make-believe skills.

Play-doh playdate fun

A Play-Doh playdate activity is perfect for children ages 2 and above. You can purchase play-doh of different colors and let their imaginations go wild.

Playdates for infants

“It’s never too early for a playdate for a child, even an infant”, says Jenn Berman, PhD, author of The A to Z Guide to Raising Happy, Confident Kids.

Play and social situations

Group games offer a chance for kids to be social, though toddlers will more often play alongside their friends rather than with them.

It’s okay to be silly

Start laughing and be silly. It’s okay to be silly with your child. Just because you are the adult doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun too!

Play date behavior

Children aren’t the only ones who must behave properly during play dates. Parents need to respect each other as well.

Sharing is learned

Sharing is not something that is innate in a child and they will only learn it through your constant observation and guidance.

Avoiding sharing issues with todders

If you know that it is going to be an issue to share a special toy then try to leave it at home. Don’t expect other kids not to want to play with it.

Playdate toy tip

Before friends come over, toddlers should have a chance to put away their most special toys if they don’t want anyone else to play with them