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Attend a Playdate like a Rock Star!
Times have really changed for playing with friends and so I decided it was time to share how we attend playdates. I absolutely adore going on Facebook and reading the remember when posts; “If you were a 90’s kid, you…” or “If you grew up in the 50’s, you…” So, I remember when… I was a little girl when you wanted to play with your friends your momma told you to go outside! ALONE! Because all the kids were outside playing either down the street in front of someone’s house, in front of the church that was across from our house, or at the park! There were kids everywhere and there was always fun to be had!
As I grew up that the younger generations were no longer running wild and free outside. Kids didn’t come out anymore without an adult and all of a sudden parents started this crazy thing called “Play Dates”. Now I have to be honest with you, I am writing this post because I didn’t understand how play dates worked until just recently and it was all because of a flopped play date. Well, er, maybe you can’t call it a flopped play date but the aftermath definitely was.
A darling mom invited us over for a play date at her house. We arrived a little later than originally planned due to a baby blowout landing us right before lunch time. Due to a rush to get out our door, the girls had eaten some dried cheerios and milk on the way there and were hungry! No problem I thought, we must be having a little snack there because its right before lunch.
Well boy was I wrong. An hour passed, then two, then another half an hour. And Curly girl started to cry that she was hungry. The mom was a dear and offered her a cheese string, so we thanked her and then Curly Girl asked for another and another and another… She had like 4 or no maybe 5 cheese strings and I just wanted to melt into the couch. I knew my child was going to be hungry and I thought there was going to be a snack, but I didn’t think that my daughter was going to eat her out of house and home!!
After the two and a half hours had passed, I tried to get my littles rounded up so we could get out the door and each time we did the mom and I would get distracted talking! By the time we left the girls were miserable they were hungry and Big Girl and playdate Girl were in constant battle. I drove my girls to the nearest fast food place where they stuffed their faces because they were so hungry and I thought, man that was a failed play date!! Needless to say, we have never been invited back or have we had a playdate with this darling family again.
So, what went wrong??
For a long time, I was nervous to go on other play dates because lets face it that was an epic fail!! I thought maybe it had been somehow my fault. Maybe we had stayed too long. Maybe we should have brought lunch over to eat. Maybe we just didn’t click. Maybe this. Maybe that. I felt quite embarrassed about seeing this Momma all the time and knowing we had this failed playdate.
Play Date Etiquette
Now, I am going to give you one of the greatest gifts ever and share my knowledge with you so hopefully you never have a catastrophic playdate because man is it AWKWARD! So without further ado here is how to attend a playdate like a rockstar!
Plan to stay for 2 hours max
I started to treat my play dates a lot like I would an actual date when you are out on the dating scene. On the first couple of dates you want your date to feel happy and content with you so you always leave them wanting more. That means leave when the going is good! So for the first couple of times plan to make it a quick thing! Let you littles go off and play and visit for a little while then gracefully bow out.
My friend, who also is like the Playdate Jedi, said that she has noticed that after the 2 hour mark is when kids start to bicker and fight. They will play nice for quite a while but that 2 hour window is when meltdowns start happening.
Side note: This is totally different if you are best friends or chummy pals with the person you are having the playdate with. If they invite you for snack or lunch and neither of you have anywhere to be then throw this above advice out the window. There are some friends’ houses we go to where we black out the entire day because we know the kids get along and there is much catching up to do!
Help clean up
There have been times after having friends over growing up where my room looked like a bomb had gone off. Toys were exploded all over the room, down the hallways and into the bathroom! So, ten minutes before you have to leave. Have your kids help clean.
It makes life a lot easier for the Momma whose house you are at when you help to clean up the explosion. We have also found that the houses where we stopped to clean we have always been invited back! Also by cleaning up the mess helps stop the play and gets your littles’ mindset ready and prepared that it is time to go!!
Bring a Snack
After my flopped play date with my ravenous starving kids, I tried to think of a gracious way to have snacks on hand. Just in case my babes were ever hungry again! Without eating them out of house and home! Now, I always plan to bring a snack to share so I don’t feel like melting into the couch when my kids are hungry and ask for something to eat. We have brought:
- mini muffins or cupcakes
- fun-shaped disney cookies
- banana bread
- zucchini loaf
- fishy crackers and cheese strings
There have been a couple of play dates that I have gone to where it was SUPER uncomfortable. It’s really bad form to talk about another friend or family that you know that leaves them in a bad light. Especially, when you know that the family being talked about is also a family that happens to be a good friend. So don’t talk about others. Just don’t do it. Stop the gossip if it is happening by changing the subject or removing yourself from the situation. The only time I think it is okay to air out dirty laundry if it is a close friend, your babes are all off playing and you need to vent. Really keep the topics light and airy. If you are struggling to come up with things to talk about, try to find something that relates you to that family.
If I expect my girls to stand up than I need to as well. So if it is happening stop it. Really keep the topics light and airy. If you are struggling to come up with things to talk about, try to find something that relates you to that family.
Conversation topics we have covered:
- Church activities
- Family traditions
- Related littles’ activities (dance, gymnastics, school)
- parenting advice
- Books you’ve read
- Fun activities or dates you’ve been on
- Summer camps
- Drop in activities for littles
Send a thank you
Its always nice to feel appreciated. I think we can always leave the world a little better off than we found it by being kind. Send a thank you text or email letting the family know you enjoyed the day! Even if your kids fought with their kids the entire time. Or it wasn’t as enjoyable as it may have been other days. ALWAYS thank your host. It just makes everyone feel good!
When it comes down to it, the equation is simple for attending a playdate like a rockstar. Stay for two hours and leave, bring a snack, be on your best behavior, clean up after yourself and always send a thank you. We have found that every time we do these things we constantly are being invited back for playdates! And who doesn’t love a good playdate now and again!
So let us know below, do you have any play date tips? Flopped play dates? Hilarious play date stories? Share them below, we would love to hear from you!
Because, oh puh-lease!! You’ve got this Momma!!