The Magic of Play Dates – Part 1
Part One: The Magic of Playdates!
Play is a very important part of a child’s development. Play encourages exploration, the use of social and language skills, and the practice of modeled behavior.
Every parent knows the benefits of a playdate. It’s a chance for your child to either host or attend a special social event—even at a very young age. Playdates can also provide a much-needed break by sharing supervision responsibilities with another parent, or group of parents. Playdates can be elaborate and involve an excursion or field trip, or they can simply take place in a family playroom or backyard.
Playdates are Important for the Following Reasons:
1) Playdates make your child feel as if they have an independent life of their own. The enrichment is even more impactful if you let them actively participate in the playdate planning. They should have a say in the date and time of the play date, select their guests, and weigh in on what is going to take place. The process is very empowering for children and serves as an opportunity to learn more about how they function in social situations.
2) Speaking of social situations, social skills are fine-tuned throughout a playdate. Encouraging your child to say please and thank you is good, and never too early to help them learn the art of sharing and understanding the fact that taking turns is a reality in life.
3) Participating in playdates also strengthens the healthy curiosity needed to excel in the classroom. Learning through play is a time-honored method of gaining knowledge and confidence. Having this development take play in a variety of environments keeps them interested and motivated to discover more.
4) Playdates usually encourage a higher level of physical exercise. Running, jumping and game playing require energy—from you and your child. This exercise leads to healthier bodies and the much-coveted sound sleep you crave for the entire family.
5) Playdates are often the catalyst for good conversation between you and your child. A post-playdate recap gives you an opportunity to discuss what went well and what could have been done differently. Perhaps you saw a behavior you would like to praise such as patience or good manners—use this time to praise your child. Conversely, if you saw something that requires correction that wasn’t dealt with in real time, it can be addressed during the recap.
6) Bonus, playdates may give you some much needed alone time. If you are not hosting the date, you have the freedom to get a few things done without your child in tow. If you are hosting, ask a few other parents over to accompany their children—you will then have an instant circle of potential friends, a focus group to get feedback, advice, or even some validation regarding your parenting skills. In fact, we invite you to share advice and things you’ve learned with us, so we can share it!
Look for the next segment publication date on Wednesday, April 11th! Happy Reading!