10 rules for play dates

Sharing is caring
Sharing is caring

Play dates can be a lot of fun for children and parents alike (usually when another parent is hosting, you know how it goes).

Trusting someone else with your child isn't always the easiest, and being responsible for someone else's can feel equally as challenging. The important thing to remember is that play dates are supposed to be fun, so don't stress about it too much. As long as there are some ground rules established and safety measures put in place, you're all good to go! 

What are some of the things you do to make play dates easier? Send us your comments and we could publish them. Do let us know if you'd like to remain anonymous.

Also see: 8 ways parents and teachers can help children make friends in primary school

Here are some ground rules:

1. Make sure you have the parent or guardian's contact details 

For safety purposes, make sure you always have the number of someone you can contact while they are with your child. Give your contact number to your child and the friend's parent as well. 

If you are hosting, check in with the child's parents at least once just to let them know that everything is fine.

2. Ask if there's anything you can bring along or contribute

Generally, you don't need to bring anything along to play dates because it's a "your house this time, my house next time" kind of thing, but it is a good gesture to ask anyway. 

3. Inform parents of your child's food restrictions and find out theirs

Make sure that you don't feed anything to someone else's child that their parents wouldn't feed them, or you wouldn't feed your own child.

Be respectful of another family's dietary restrictions and needs.

If a parent specifies that you shouldn't feed their child too many sweets, for example, respect that. Plus, you don't want to send a child home on a sugar rush. 

4. Don't overstay your welcome

When you drop your child off, don't stick around longer than expected. Unless you planned to hang out with the parent, it's not your play date.

Even if you do feel welcome somewhere, know when it's your cue to leave. 

If your child has a play date scheduled for a certain time, don't fetch them late.

Also see: Surviving playdate dumps

5. Give the kids some space 

Naturally, you will need to watch over the kids to make sure they're okay and safe, but don't be too invasive, give them some space.

Also, it's not your duty to report back to your child's friend's parents about every little thing they did or said, privacy is important.

6. Sharing

If your child is reluctant to share and you see them being selfish, make sure you encourage them to share and make their friend feel as welcome as possible. Keep an eye to ensure everything is fair and that the children take equal turns.

If your child, however, has certain toys you know they would prefer not to share, lock them away before the play date. 

7. Stick to the other parent's rules

If you allow your child to watch movies above their age-restriction or listen to a certain kind of music you feel their parents may not be comfortable with, avoid it during the play date. 

Trying to be the "cool parent" could result in conflict and that's the last thing play dates should be about.

8. Don't yell at or discipline your child with their friends present 

There's nothing more awkward than witnessing someone being disciplined in your company. While discipline is necessary, if you have a major gripe with your child, take it up when you are alone with them. 

9. Keep the germs away

If you know your child is sick or coming down with something, keep them away from other kids, you don't want the germs spreading. 

Also see: 5 ways to have a happy playdate

10. Don't make a habit of it

Play dates can make your life easier, but remember that other kid's parents aren't your nanny (besides your actual nanny, of course). 

Don't make the play dates too much of a common occurrence, people also have things to do. 

Chat back 

What are some of the things you do to make play dates easier? Send us your comments and we could publish them. Do let us know if you'd like to remain anonymous.

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Read more: 

Fun ways to get your child to play with others

12 playdates from HELL!

Potty mouth posse: are we encouraging children to swear?

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