How to Survive the Dreaded Play DateNovember 17, 2017
It’s unavoidable… it’s your turn to host the next play date and they are coming to wreak havoc on your home whether you like it or not. Here are some useful tips for surviving (and protecting your home) from the bundles of joy in the style of the Garbage Pail Kids…
What Is a Play Date?
A play date is a social occasion, planned by parents, for two or more children to get together for a few hours to play together. Not only do play dates offer children the chance to enhance their social skills, they also provide the opportunity for the non-hosting parent to relax for an hour or two, socialise with other parents, and generally unwind for a little bit.
Play Date Etiquette
As a rule of thumb, the younger the children in question, the shorter the play date should be. For babies and toddlers, around an hour is usually enough, and the other parents usually stay to supervise. When children are this young, their moods and needs can change in a split second, so having mum or dad around will help to keep them calm.
Older children can handle a little longer, and less supervision, especially if they’re buddies from nursery and are already familiar with one another.
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The Child with the Constantly Runny Nose (AKA Snotty Lottie)
Did you know that children can get, on average, five to six colds every single year up to as many as 12? It’s a small wonder that we seem to spend half the year wiping their noses and the other half wiping our own! When it comes to
If one of your fellow parents has brought over a contagious, or sick, child remember that you are well within your rights to ask them to sit this date out. If they’re just recovering from a cold, then there are few survival tips that might just keep the germs at bay:
- Keep lots of tissues and anti-bac to hand
- Skip the buffet-style snacks, lunch, or dinner in favour of individual portions
- Throws and bedsheets are great for keeping sticky fingers at bay and off your sofas or rugs
The Child Who Won’t Stop Staring (AKA Claire Stare)
We’re all guilty of staring every now and then, but what do you do when one of your play date guests just won’t drop the eye contact? There could be many reasons why they’re staring at you, but our advice is to try and engage with them as much as possible. Make eye contact and ask them questions, get them involved in the activities, and be sure to encourage their communication and engagement with the other children. Even if you feel like you’re not making any leeway, this interaction will still be helping, and growing, their social skills. Other top tips include:
- If the child is staring at something specific (such as your favourite vase), it might be a wise idea to move it out of sight and out of reach
- Offer up a biscuit, snack, or entertainment to break their trance
The Child Who Has All the Answers (AKA Smart Alec)
Whether you like to think back that far or not, there’s no denying that, as children, we all delighted in ‘outsmarting’ our parents at one point or another. If you find yourself in the presence of a child who enjoys partaking in sarcastic comments, then there are a few actions you can take:
- Don’t follow their orders. You’re in charge, not them!
- If it’s your child being bossy during a play date, take them to one side and tell them
- Teach them how to ask nicely for the things that they want
Unfortunately, if it’s your guest that’s the sarcastic one then there’s not much you can do; discipline is the right of the child’s parent alone, so pass on the time-outs and punishments, but perhaps have a word with mum or dad when it’s time to go home.
For brighter children who are just inquisitive, you can protect your home by:
- Ensuring that their self-confidence doesn’t extend to using the oven, or working out the trajectory needed to shoot a cat with a Nerf-gun… In fact… just put the Nerf-gun away and keep them out of the kitchen just to be on the safe side
- Leave your tax return lying around in the hope that they might just finish it off for you (joking! Or are we..?)
The Child That’s Clumsy (AKA A&E Amy)
Every parent’s worst nightmare is that a child in their care will injury themselves. Unfortunately, there’s almost always an A&E Amy in every group who always seems to find a way to injure themselves.
How do you survive with an A&E Amy in your presence?
- Bubble wrap valuable ornaments (or move them out of sight and out of reach, at least)
- Think soft; what can go wrong in a cushion fort?
- Got kids? Scotchguard your carpets (bloody noses stain)
Fun fact: If you run out of plasters, a tea bag makes a naturally absorbent package that also has haemostatic capabilities due to its high content of tannins!
The Child Who Won’t Look Up From Their Tablet, or Phone, or the TV… (AKA AddicTed)
Shockingly, more than half (55%) of pre-school children use a tablet whilst 16% own their own. In our day, we were happy with a cardboard box…
If you’re faced with a child who can’t pull their eyes away from the screen then there are a few things you can do:
- First up, hide your expensive tech to avoid dropped gadgets, sticky fingerprints, and settings being changed
- Got anything you need setting up? Perhaps your wifi’s been playing up? Tech support is on hand…
- Try and encourage the kids to all play outside together. Something that doesn’t rely on a huge amount of sporting prowess might be a good starting point.
The Child Who Destroys Everything in their Path (AKA DeeStructive)
Every parent’s nightmare number 2: the one child who doesn’t understand the word “no”. When it comes to smaller children, they often have a desire to touch, feels, and taste, everything around them to understand it, and a firm “no” will have little to no effect. Be sure to provide plenty of child-friendly toys for them to interactive with, rather than any of your fixtures and fittings.
In older children, destruction is often the result of boredom so if you find your home at the hands of a Dee-Structive then you might need to up your play date game. Be sure to offer plenty of activities to stop boredom in its tracks. We’d also recommend:
- Lock any rooms that you don’t want the kids to go in, if possible. If you can’t lock them, at least close the doors, but don’t make a big deal about not going in that room. There’s nothing like tasting the forbidden fruit…
- Keep them busy with fun activities. Crafts, sports, baking, or something hands-on is a good way to keep their attention focused on the task in hand.
- Silence never led to anything good… if the kids seem unusually quiet it’s probably because they’re up to something.