Any advices for my children's first play date?
My kids are 4 year old twins and I've invited two of their friends, it's at my house...
Prepare them for what will happen: the other children will want to play with their toys. Tell them it's ok, they're not taking them - teach, again, about sharing. It's different when "outsiders" come into your home!
Review any household rules that you think may affect the ability of the children to get along with your guests as well as avoid any "acting out". Review feelings they may experience - good and bad. Prepare them how to handle a lot of excitement and/or the not-so-happy feelings in a manner that is acceptable and healthy.
I find when I prepare my younger children before playdates, the time is filled with more fun.
Prior to your friends' arrival, decide which clean-up method you desire: everyone helps before leaving or if it's easier for you to clean up by yourself. If you want everyone to pitch in, you may opt to quickly and cheerfully remind all of the children to clean up what they have out before getting another toy or game.
Do you want to provide the snacks for everyone (bc you can count on four year olds getting hungry!) or do you want your friend to bring their own food? Communicate your thoughts with your friends. I usually provide healthy snacks for adults and children, as well as paper plates and napkins -- to make clean up easier. Occassionally, my pantry has been low and I've asked friends to bring something to add to the "spread".
Sound, practical and obviously 'put to the test' advice here. Two thumbs up!
Loved the idea of preparing them... very important, especially with my son, since he is a bit territorial with his toys... really loved your ideas... I'm a bit lost, because I'll be alone with 4 kids, since the other moms won't be staying... scary!
Have some fun age apporatie activites planned and make sure that things they can get hurt on are put away. Also if you have animals make sure with the parents if it's ok for the animals to be around them and if you are serving any type of snacks or drinks I would consider checking with the parents to make sure for potential allgery's.
Hi, Kat, already checked on allergies - nothing to report - I'm particularly worried with the stairs, I think one of the kids lives in a flat and I'm not sure is he is used to stairs... Wonder if I should keep the 1st floor off limits...
I would if you happend to have any baby gates around maybe put them up.
What a great question to pose from an obvious caring parent
Importance of sharing
Rooms OK to 'wander' into-which are off limits
Move scared pets out of the area
Lunch or snack-allergies, fave foods
Time: how long...and how long is too long
Keep a close eye on the group; don't get sidetracked with social visit w/ other parent; at least for the first one, to intervene quickly if you see things going awry
Break up a long play period with snacks or hands on actvity: craft or art project
Go outside, weather permitting, to break it up or take a walk through your neighborhood
Put some music on and have a 'band' activity: marching, drumming, clapping etc to break it up or DANCE
Dress up clothes to play in
Down time to slow things or bring some quiet if too loud and overwhelming: a movie w/ snack or a Story and something to sip on...(that's the KIDS, mom...not the drink for the adults, LOL You can have that later, after they leave, haha)
Anyway-the point is, keep it upbeat, friendly and FUN and always keep a close eye on the activity so you know how they are getting along and if there are any conflicts.
There has been tons of great advice, so I'm not going to repeat the same info. But, one thing you may want is an ending time. Kids get tired from playing hard and they'll start to get grumpy and the tears will come easy and over nothing. If it's getting to this point, try to end the play date on a good note. They will have a blast and they'll be exhausted afterwards (and so will you).
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