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Choosing A Playdate For Your Child

Posted on August 07 2016

Today is Friendship day. And, in celebration of that, we bring you an expert written blog about choosing a playdate and the importance of it.

A trip to a friend’s house may seem tedious to a parent as compared to a ballet class or an afternoon of soccer drills, but it’s just as important. In today’s society, opportunities for children are many. While it’s fortunate to have a lot of options, sometimes parents can go overboard. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the choices, your child probably is too. That’s where playdates come in.

Signing your child up for a select number of classes can add to your child’s social and mental development. But unstructured and uncontrolled play gives kids the opportunity to imagine, play pretend, and be silly with peers – without an alarming bell.

7 Reasons Why Playdates Are Important

1. It improves social skills
Playdates give your child the opportunity to mingle with other kids. They learn to
master their skills in negotiation, cooperation, and sharing. Even though some play may end up in fights, it teaches them decision-making and how to take actions.

2. It teaches communication skills
When she/he is with his playdates, a child’s communication skill develops. She/he can be a good listener and a good speaker when she/he is playing.

3. Your child learns to take turns
When you take your child out of your home and into another’s home, they get to work on their manners. He/she must ask nicely to play with those new exciting toys. Both kids learn to take turns.

4. A chance to exercise the right brain or build on creative skills
The playmates can make-up games together, have a picnic, play dress-up, or just
put on hats and go for a safari in the backyard. Kids also love to imitate actions from
others like trying to maneuver a bike after watching a playmate who successfully did it.

5. It develops their physical strength
Playing involves physical activities. The strength and the endurance of a child are
tested. Playing enables the child to conquer the limits of his growing body. His baby
muscles develop when he climbs, swings, and runs!

6. Playdate makes play more fun
Heading over to another kid’s house for a playdate gives a child ample time to know
more about the interests of his playmate. Not just that it would be a comfortable
setting for play (and free toys) and the children can be guided by the adults.

7. Playdates provide a space for parents to bond
Invite the other parent (or caregiver) to join you for coffee and a chat while the kids
play, or let them know that it's fine to hang out for a while until their child settles in.
This would be a great way for parents to bond and understand parenting from a different perspective. 

The Do's and Dont's Of A Playdate

  • Don’t over plan the to-dos of a playdate. Keep it simple. Give the children a little space at your home, a set of coloring materials and a small glass of milk to start with.
  • Plan activities that you think they like and enjoy the most. But, let them have the final say.
  • Remember, kids’ playdates should not be too long. If it drags on for hours, they will get tired and bored. A 60-minute playdate is recommended for a first attempt.
  • Make sure to be around during their playdate to monitor them for any signs of disagreements, such as name calling or hitting. In such a case take charge and do help the child understand what behavior is appropriate with friends and other people.

About The Expert

Namrata Jain is our Consulting Psychologist at Brainsmith. She has a Masters in Psychology from Mumbai University and has worked with children and adults to help them achieve a better state of mind by encouraging healthy mental and behavioural growth.