Having a child over to play in your home can be very exciting for your child, and it can be a great way for them to socialise. It can also provide a valuable opportunity for you to meet the parents of other children and to see how your child interacts with other children.
Play DatesHere are a few ?Dos? and ?Don?ts?.
Establish a firm time for picking the child up or having them dropped off, and perhaps even more importantly, a firm home time. Without this, there can be crossed wires and lack of surety as to when the child is going home. You could be running the risk of being mistaken for a free babysitter and the child may be anxious about when they will be seeing their parents again.
Talk to the child’s parents about their dietary requirements if you plan to offer a snack or meal. A quick chat about any allergies or favourite foods can save a lot of worry in the long run!
For the first few times the child visits, try giving the children a mixture of organised activities and free play so that there is a little structure and a little freedom. This will help your child’s friend to settle into your home for their visit and to feel comfortable with you. In time, they will more than likely have their own ideas about what they want to do.
Be firm ? if the child says they always have biscuits for dinner and never have to wash their hands, explain gently how your family do things. If they resist, bring it up with their parents later. It isn?t your place to discipline someone else’s child but many children will play on the fact that you want to please them and so it is common for children to challenge another adult’s authority.
Don?t abandon your house rules for the guest ? it will be confusing for your own children. For example, if you always insist on dinner being eaten at the table, don?t let them eat dinner in front of the television because there is a friend over; they will challenge why they can?t do things this way all the time.
Never let yourself be taken for granted ? if you feel like you are doing all the play dates and your child isn?t being asked around in return, then feel free to suggest a change, or cut down on the times you have the child around.
Don?t overshare ? whatever your child’s friend hears, they are likely to share at home. So be very careful what you say or do unless you are completely happy for it to be reported when your little guest gets home!
Having children round to play is a great part of growing up, and how you as parents deal with these play dates has a big impact on them. So make it fun, relax and treat the child in your care just as you would like your child to be treated.