The key to a good play date is the mom.
A good play date doesn’t have much to do with the kids. My kids are happy playing together, so adding more kids to the bunch doesn’t faze me. If you are coming to a play date at my house, chances are, we are friends first and we just happen to have kids too. We’re hanging out and the little people we made are with us, because they have to be.
I get to do something fun (like go to the beach, apple and berry picking at a local orchard, or drink an adult beverage- cuz it’s not JUST about the kids).
I do not wake my kids up unless it’s absolutely necessary, like the house is on fire, or they have an ill-scheduled doctor’s appt. (which would be my fault- oops). Getting a nap each day makes or breaks the day (and I nap with them too – mama needs her sleep to recharge for the next half of the day)! Most of my mom friends have their kids nap around the same time as mine, so we know play dates will be early morning, or late afternoon. We don’t even bother asking about a lunch time play date. We know it’s not going to happen.
We stay home.
It’s so easy to simply invite friends over and have everyone play at my house because we have tons of toys. Moreover, I have learned most kids just want to play with someone else’s toys, no elaborate planning necessary! My girls are always pumped to check out someone else’s house and play with all their stuff too, we don’t need a special craft or activity, just new toys in a new environment.
We all parent our kids together.
If my kids are getting out of line, but I don’t see it, I want the unacceptable behavior addressed. Likewise, if your kid is about to do something I know you would disapprove of, I’ll step in. I love having this level of comfort amongst friends. Also, I know it takes a village. I’m not trying to do it all and I really rely on others to teach my girls right and wrong.
Food is communal.
We pack food for our kids to eat, but we know it’s up for grabs by any little hands present. Moms are basically walking lunchboxes, so who wouldn’t want to eat what the other mom brought? I think it’s actually a good way to introduce new foods.
I get other stuff done too.
If I can check something off of my “to do” list like, buy apples at an orchard play date, then the play date is a 2 for 1! We get to hang out and I have one less chore to complete – it’s a good feeling.
There is no bullsh*t around planning the play date.
The best play dates are kind of thrown together haphazardly. My first communication is, “Hey, are you free tomorrow? What do you feel like doing?” We may end up some place totally new, or just at our house, but it’s always easy to plan and guaranteed chill fun.
We remain flexible and there are no hard feelings if we cannot get together.
If someone suddenly is full of boogers and snot, I appreciate the heads up and choose if we still get together (I honestly don’t mind being around sick kids – it builds immune systems). If we have to cancel due to emergency illness, there are no hard feelings. We have talked about cancelling play dates for much less like, “Eh, my girls napped really late today, do we still feel like getting together now?” I am not flakey; I just know when it’s time to be lazy.
The other mom offers to help out.
Honestly, the BEST thing anyone can EVER do for me is see I need an extra hand, and just offer it without asking. This requires a sense of wherewithal not many people possess (in my experience), but my mom friends usually are attuned to the situation and see I am obviously outnumbered. “Hey, come here and let me help you get your shoes and jacket on” is like music to my ears when a friend offers to help me suit up my girls. I have six shoes to keep track of, three jackets, and countless loveys (my kids do not like to travel light), so every little bit of help is welcome.
10 components of a perfect play date
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