Playdates are an excellent way to fill your family’s schedule, and help your kiddies interact with others their own age, but did you know that it can also be a good opportunity for you to network too?
‘Playdate’ is a funny word for a relatively old concept. Essentially, you arrange for kids to spend time with their friends, or other children their age, and encourage their social skills. As parents will be in attendance at these events too, it’s also a good chance for you to make new friends too.
Here are some of our favourite things about playdates:
- Playdates can be creative
If you’re going to the trouble of making plans and putting something in the diary, you might as well make the most of it and use this time to try something new. There are lots of different playdate venues, so don’t just stick to your front room. Try city farms, picnics at local parks, eat ice-cream by the sea, or challenge your children to come up with their own ideas. If you want something quick and easy that doesn’t require much travelling then why not just head to the garden and have a go at making your own worm farm. Kids will love getting messy in the dirt and you can also teach them about this curious little insect at the same time!
- Playdates are a great way (for parents) to make friends
Parenting can be lonely at times. If you’re a single parent, a stay-at-home parent, new to the parenting game, or just simply want a break, playdates avoid the need to pay for a babysitter while giving you some quality adult time. They’re also a good way to initiate a friendship with an adult: found a friendly mum at the school gate who lives nearby and with whom you have lots in common? Schedule a playdate. Not only will you get the chance to make a new friend, but your kids might too.
- Playdates teach kids important social skills
This brings us on to another key benefit. Playdates are a way to teach your children about happy, productive socialising. Unlike when they’re at school or playing with their siblings, on a playdate you really get a chance to see how your child interacts with her or his peers. This is useful information that might inform your parenting style as your kids’ will be able to use their playdate time to hone important social skills and work on any areas that need improvement – such as if they are bad at sharing or get shy when talking to others, for example.
- Playdates can be cheap
Children always want to go out and do new things, but sometimes that can get a little expensive. One of the great things about playdates is that they can be as complex or simple as you like. So if you find yourself a little strapped for cash at the end of the month, schedule a playdate at yours and the simple fact of having a different family visiting will be distraction enough. Our idea above of building a worm farm as one of your playdate activities is another example of how you can stick to a budget while having fun with your little ones.
Whether you’re planning an intricate scavenger hunt of a playdate or just a simple afternoon with friends, these events are a fun and happy time to spend time with your kids, their friends and yours. Schedule them in whenever you can and then simply enjoy!
If you have any cool play date venues or ideas to share with us please do so in the comments section xxx
Photo credit: Remy Sharp