Socializing your baby is one of the best things you can do for him or her, and you may find that it’s great for your sanity as well. Planning playdates for your baby gives your child a chance to play with other children and allows you time to connect with other adults, or get stuff done on your own to-do list. Whether you plan to do this once a week or once a month, there are certain tips to keep in mind to make the most of playdates for you and your little one.
Put it on the Calendar
For most mom’s, if it’s not set in stone on the calendar, it won’t happen. The last thing you want is for your baby’s playdate to get lost on the list of things that you want to do, but never actually do. Sit down with your spouse and your planner on a monthly basis, and iron out a consistent play date schedule for the month. Discuss why playdates are important, and make a list of what you hope to get done or accomplish while your baby is occupied. Once you have a few dates ironed out for your family, contact some friends with children of a similar age, and see if they’d like to participate. Work out some dates for them to take the kids, and some dates for you to take the kids. In addition, plan some of the playdates where you all share the responsibility of watching the kids at the same time. Planning playdates where multiple moms are watching takes pressure off of everyone and allows parents a much needed social hour as well. Put these dates on the calendar in advance so that there’s no questions as far as your schedule for those dates.
Have a Plan for Baby
Each date that you schedule, make sure to have a plan in place that everyone is well aware of. There should be no question in regards to what your child will be doing or watching or where they will be for the duration of their playdate. You should know exactly who will be attending and how long it will last. No details should be left unsettled for the day of, and should be arranged well in advance.
Have a Plan for Yourself
Just as you’ll have detailed plans for your baby in order to make the most of the playdate, you should have a detailed plan for yourself as well. Try to focus on one thing for each play date, and don’t cram too much into one day. For example, dedicate one playdate to getting things done around your house; dedicate one to getting things done for yourself; and dedicate one for socializing with your friends. More than anything, don’t leave your day unplanned, unless you plan to keep it that way!
Put Someone in Charge Who You Trust
Be sure that you trust whoever you organize the play dates with. Your child will be alone with your playdate partners, and you don’t want to spend your day away from your child worrying about whether they’re safe or not. Similarly, make sure to communicate your plans thoroughly with the other parents involved, so that they have no reason to worry about their child during the playdates where you’re in charge.
Playdates should be fun and productive, for kids and adults alike. With a little planning ahead and proactive organization, there’s no reason to not take advantage of playdates very often.