Monday, 9 January 2012
A tip for smoother playdates
The following week, I had invited a different friend over to our home one afternoon with her son and baby girl. They came along and had brought a couple of small toys for my son to play with (I hadn't asked her to). This time, being the host of the playdate, I saw the benefit of this simple gesture.
At age three now, friends are starting to become important to my son (as I think they are meant to around this age). He talks about them a fair bit, he hopes we bump into some friends when we go out and about locally and he likes the idea of having friends over to our house. Sharing toys, which I remember around the 18-month stage was simply not an option, is now something to at least contemplate.
However, I've seen my son be a bit uncomfortable in his own home when certain friends have come around and got stuck in, playing with his toys. He's always excited about having the friends over to play but when they are here and he sees them playing with his toys, it's as if he feels like he can't play with his own toys while they are there. (This doesn't last the entirety of the playdate, I hasten to add).
If the invited friend brings something for him to play with, this changes things for the better. Either he really likes the toy they bring and has a fun time playing with something different or even if he doesn't especially love the toy, it still serves as an initial distraction and is recognised as a kind gesture. He then forgets any anxieties about having someone else playing with his toys and everyone is happy!
You might already follow this playdate etiquette and wonder why it's taken me this long to get up to speed but if you don't, I'd recommend taking a small toy next time you and your toddler are invited to someone else's home. Don't feel shy or silly about asking a friend to bring something for your child too when you are hosting your next playdate.
Do you already do this and have you seen it make for smoother playdates too?