The day started with a buzz. The house was tidier, the kitchen was brewing, the toys were laid out. It’s playdate day and we were hosting. Everyone was busy doing something, least of all my little co-host. She napped on time, ate her meals and didn’t throw any hint of a tantrum. I guess she knew something special was to happen.
Since our playdates are getting serious, I decided to make a rough agenda of activities so the kids can warm up to each other faster and let the real fun begin. Here are the 5 steps to our memorable playdate:
1.Decide if your child is more comfortable with an all-girl or all-boy group. At the age of two –plus-minus 6 months –it seems that it’s more harmonious for my daughter to play with other girls. So we invited three girls.
2.Start the date off at a small space to make it feel intimate. It might feel cramped with 4 kids, 4 moms and nannies but grown ups adjust easily. We want to “force” the kids to acknowledge each other even if they’re playing with toys individually.
3.Introduce a group activity that is universally well-liked. We pulled out the stickers and play tattoos to encourage some graffiti art on the kiddie chairs and on themselves.
4. Make something to eat. With the kids warmed up, they can move to the kitchen or living room and make something together. We made pizzas. The four girls shared two pizza crusts and took turns putting on the toppings.
- Fun fact: kids eat the food they make!
5. Bring out a select number of toys to be shared and ensure everyone feels included. We brought out some coloring books, a piggy bank, baby dolls and bottles, musical instruments and dough.
By this time the playdate is in full swing and the kids are revved up from their snacks and their collective energy.The magic has commenced: they’re officially socializing with each other! Your remaining job is to play referee, cleaner, and photographer. Of course, as host mom make sure your guests (moms and nannies) are fed and that your child is sharing freely. Also, it’s a nice touch to ensure your child says goodbye to each friend personally as they depart.
The next day, I asked my daughter if she remembered that her friends came over. She paused as she accessed her hard drive and suddenly said all her friends’ names with a smile.